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Suburbanisation In Los Angeles Case Study

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Title: Suburbanisation in Los Angeles
Description: A-Level notes on the Suburbanisation in Los Angeles, everything you need to know for this case study is on these notes. I studied at Northampton High School for Girls, and these notes contributed to me achieving an A in A-Level Geography.

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Tess, Nicola, Georgia & Tash
Suburbanisation in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is located in California, USA
It has an area of 469 square miles and is located in Southern

LA’s early growth this century was linked to prosperity in the oil and movie industries, its
population grew by 130% between 1920 and 1930

Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, as well as a
diverse residential neighbourhood of some 30,000 people

Reasons for growth:-

The development of the film industry in Hollywood - a suburb of LA - In the 1920's and 30's
created a glamorous image for the city

The arrival of the railway in 1876 stimulated rapid growth, with half a million people arriving
within 40 years

People with greater affluence had more choice about where to live
Cold winters of the east
coast cities (e
New York) combined with a romantic ‘flower power’ image from the late

Tess, Nicola, Georgia & Tash

1960s to make California a destination of choice

Early 20th century the discovery of oil allowed the opening of car plants such as Ford other
manufacturing industries created continued growth
As manufacturing
companies increasingly sought cheaper labour and resources abroad, the region previously
known as the heartland of American industry was transformed into America's Rust Belt
6% of its population, most of whom migrated to the Sun Belt, hence this
rapid growth in LA after World War 2

Explanation of the suburbanisation (PUSH & PULL):-

CONGESTION - LA is ranked no

POLLUTION - LA has the most contaminated air in the USA due to excess vehicle emissions
Frequent sunny days and low rainfall contribute to ozone formation, as well as high
levels of fine particles and dust

NOT ENOUGH GREENFIELD SITES -Businesses require more space to develop and there
aren't enough areas of undeveloped land in LA inner city


FACILITES - Large shopping centres have attracted large amount tourists

TRANSPORT – The suburbs are now a lot more accessible, with new train services
Fuel is 50% cheaper than in the UK

HOUSING - families have been attracted to Los Angeles Suburbs, because of the availability
of low-density family housing

People are moving out of the
centre of LA in search of pleasant
environs, good schools and clean,
safe streets
increase since 1990
The city is known for its picturesque tree-lined neighbourhoods, receiving
recognition from the National Arbour Day Foundation
It has a very large number of large houses with usually
around ¾ bedrooms with on suites and drives
Furthermore here, the
predominant age group is 35-44 at 13
9% of the population
These facilities provide a sense of community for the people and
consequently an organisation has been set up like neighbourhood watch and as a result was
named the safest city in America

• It is a planned city, mainly developed by the
Irvine Company since the 1960s
com as the fourth
best place to live in the United States
San Diego Creek, which flows northeast into Upper Newport Bay, is the primary
watercourse draining the city
Most of Irvine is in
a broad, flat valley between Loma Ridge in the north and San Joaquin Hills in the south

While Irvine is typical of Orange County in that it is definitely a car town, the city was also
rated a bike friendly city for its extensive bikeways infrastructure and other programs to
support and encourage bicycle commuting

Irvine has 18 community parks, 37 small neighbourhood parks and some 5,200-acres of open
preservation area

There are also approximately 44-miles of on- and off-road bikeways
The city is the
36th-largest city in the United
States and the seventh-largest in

In addition, Long Beach is the
second largest city within Greater Los Angeles Area, after Los Angeles, and a principal city of
the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area
The Port of Long Beach is the United
States' second busiest container port and one of the world's largest shipping ports

Manufacturing sectors include those in aircraft, car parts, electronic and audio-visual
equipment, and home furnishings
However, the names and
boundaries of neighbourhoods themselves are not officially recognized by the City, with
limited exceptions for statutory purposes (the City does, however, recognize neighbourhood
advocacy groups representing some of these neighbourhoods or portions thereof)
Most of
the city is in close proximity to the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the
prevailing westerly-to-west-south-westerly winds bring a large portion of the twin ports' air
pollution directly into Long Beach before dispersing it northward then eastward

Ø Long-term average levels of toxic air pollutants can be two to three times higher in
and around Long Beach, and in downwind areas to the east, than in other parts of
the Los Angeles metropolitan area, such as the Westside, San Fernando Valley, or
San Gabriel Valley
A handful of the native plants of the region can still be found in
the city

Some stands of coast live oak still remain in the El Dorado Nature Centre
Some indigenous species of birds, mammals, and other wildlife have
adapted to development

§ Farming in these fringe regions is affected, as land prices spiral and farmers
are encouraged to sell to developers
Orange Country lost up to a third of its agricultural land
due to the intensification of settlement

Land use in LA: - Land use patterns in LA have developed like a patchwork – not like the land
use models of Burgess and Hoyt

§ Migrants and those of different ethnic groups often live in ethnic enclaves

§ Ethnic enclaves: - part of a city in which the population is mainly from one
ethnic group, often with its own religious beliefs and places of worship,
together with shops and community centres

§ Children whose parents commute to work for 2 + hours a day are left on
their own for hours, coming home to an empty house and just watching TV

§ A lot of communities now only exist as night time dormitory settlements
meaning businesses will not develop here as there are no customers around
during the day

§ Car, tyre, steel and aircraft factories closed due to competition from
overseas and changing technology

§ Modern high – tech electronics, aerospace and light- manufacturing
industries wanted larger sites with car parks

§ As a result, Businesses and people moved out of central areas leading to
decline – and dereliction and concentrations of poorer people in segregated

As a result of the Donut Effect, Edge Cities such as Anaheim, Irvine and Ontario developed
along the freeways with concentrations of new industries next to office developments, giant
shopping centres and leisure zones

Management of Suburbanisation:-
Housing & Services:
-Inner City Housing and Redevelopments are currently taking place in La, in order to counter act the
issues associated with the ‘donut city’ including a lack of ‘city centre’ functions/services

-New building methods have meant that in downtown LA tall office blocks/skyscrapers can now be
built safely; this is aiding the expansion of the city as a financial and commercial centre, within 30
years downtown LA has developed into a financial and commercial centre rather than just a set of
freeway intersections

-A third of households were below the poverty level in 1990, a result of poor housing conditions, low
wages, lack of public services, and ultimately has caused an escalation in crime rates
Surrounding these areas ethnic groups often set
up food stores and retail stores/outlets, this further reduces the issues associated with the ‘donut
city,’ increasing public services and commercial premises

Pollution & health:
-Pollution and smog problems became serious in LA by 1977 and were having serous impacts on
health in the area, this is managed in LA by The Clean Air Act who set up the South Coast Air Quality
Management District in order to target management within the industrial area of the city where
these problems are particularly bad, with 1,130 tons of noxious gas being released daily
Businesses with over 50 employees must organize car-pooling programs,
they are also encouraged with set targets annual to reduce emissions and gain credit for this

These various management schemes can be summarized by another organisations’ work, PLAN- the
Progressive Los Angeles Network

Promote clean fuel vehicles and green energy

Improve bus and public transport to reduce pollution problems associated with commuting,
introducing ‘clean’ buses and new rapid bus lines as well as improving transition from bus to
train lines using a universal ‘low fare’ card making public transport accessible to all

Title: Suburbanisation in Los Angeles
Description: A-Level notes on the Suburbanisation in Los Angeles, everything you need to know for this case study is on these notes. I studied at Northampton High School for Girls, and these notes contributed to me achieving an A in A-Level Geography.

Buy These NotesPreview

Where Cities Grow: The Suburbs

The massive exodus of people from rural areas to urban areas over the past 200 years has been called the "great urbanization." For more than two centuries, people have been leaving rural areas to live in cities (urban areas). The principal incentive has been economic. But most of this growth has not taken place close to city centers, but rather on or beyond the urban fringe in the suburbs (and exurbs). Appropriately, The Economist magazine refers to the urbanization trend as the "great suburbanization," in its December 6, 2014 issue (PLACES APART: The world is becoming ever more suburban, and the better for it).

The preponderance of suburban growth is evident in high income world metropolitan areas. For decades, nearly all growth in nearly all cities has been in the suburbs. Some notable examples are London, Toronto, San Francisco, Portland, Tokyo, Zürich, and Seoul. The dominance of suburban growth is also evident in the major cities of the less developed world, from Sao Paulo and Mexico City, to Cairo, Manila, Jakarta, Beijing, and Kolkata (see the Evolving Urban Form series). The Economist describes the substantial spatial expansion of residences and jobs in Chennai (formerly Madras), a soon-to-be megacity in India.

Growing Cities Become Less Dense

The Economist quotes New York University geographer Shlomo Angel, whose groundbreaking work (such as in Planet of Cities) indicates that "almost every city is becoming  less dense." Angel also shows that, contrary to the popular perception of increasing densities, cities become less dense as they add more population. This extends even to the lowest income cities, such as Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), where the population has increased more than 250 percent since the middle 1970s, while the urban population density has declined more than 70 percent. The rapidly growing cities of China exhibit the same tendency, where, according to The Economist: "Mr. Angel finds that population densities tend to drop when Chinese cities knock down cheaply built walk-up apartments and replace them with high towers."

Suburbs in the United States

In the United States, The Economist says that more than half of Americans live in suburbs. In fact, this is an understatement, owing to the common error of classifying "principal cities" as urban core, when many are, in fact, suburban. The Office of Management and Budget established the "principal cities" designation to replace the former "central city" versus suburb classification. This was in recognition of the fact that employment patterns in US metropolitan areas had become polycentric, with suburban employment centers, which along with central cities were designated as "principal cities."

The absurdity of using "principal cities" as a synonym for central cities is illustrated by the broad expanses of post-1950 suburbanization now classified, with genuine core cities like New York or Chicago, as principal cities such like Lakewood, New Jersey (New York metropolitan area), Hoffman Estates (Chicago), Mesa (Phoenix), Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth), Reston (Washington) and Hillsboro (Portland). In fact more than 85 percent of major metropolitan area (over 1 million population) residents live areas that are functionally suburban or exurban according to our small area analysis ("City Sector Model").

Urban core growth rates have improved since 2010, which is an encouraging sign. Yet, core city jurisdictions account for less than 30 percent of metropolitan area growth, as Richard Morrill has shown. The Economist points out factors that could prevent this long overdue improvement from being sustained in the future.

  • Schools are "still often dire in the middles of cities," according to The Economist. Any hope of keeping most young families as they raise children seems impossible until core cities take on the politically challenging task of school reform.
  • The Economist also notes the huge government employee pension obligations of some large core cities, suggesting the necessity of cutting services or raising taxes. "Both answers were likely to drive residents to nearby suburbs, making the problem worse. No number of trams, coffee shops or urban hipsters will save cities that slip into this whirlpool." The Economist specifically cites Chicago and New York, but could have added many more examples both in this country and outside.

Limiting Sprawl and Limiting Opportunity

The Economist is refreshingly direct in its characterization of attempts to stop urban spatial expansion ("urban sprawl"). "Suburbs rarely cease growing of their own accord. The only reliable way to stop them, it turns out, is to stop them forcefully. But the consequences of doing that are severe."  The Economist: chronicles the experience of London, with its "greenbelt" ("urban growth boundary"): "Because of the green belt London has almost no modern suburban houses and very high property prices."

The social consequences have been massive. "The freezing of London’s suburbs has probably aided the revival of inner-London neighbourhoods like Brixton. It has also forced many people into undignified homes, widened the wealth gap between property owners and everyone else, and enriched rentiers." Housing is typically the largest share of household expenditures and raising its price reduces discretionary incomes, while increasing poverty. In London, The Economist says that "To provide desperately needed cheap housing, garages and sheds there are being converted into tiny houses," quoting historian John Hickman who calls them “shanty towns”.

Higher house prices and lower discretionary incomes are not limited to London. Among the 85 major metropolitan areas covered in the 10th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, all 24 of those with "severely unaffordable" housing have London-style land-use regulation or similar land use restrictions. These financial reverses are not limited to suburban households, since urban containment policies are associated with substantial house price increases in urban cores as much as in suburbs.

"Doom Mongering" About the Suburbs

Oblivious to this revealed preference for residential and often commercial suburban location, many retro – urbanists, including many well placed, have viewed the suburbs with "concern and disdain," according to The Economist. Since the Great Financial Crisis, The Economist notes that this has turned to "doom-mongering."

The Economist summarily dismisses suburban doom doctrine: "Those who argue that suburbia is dying are wrong on the facts; those who say it is doomed by the superiority of higher-density life make a far from convincing case."

The Future

In the editorial leader, The Economist, suggests: A wiser policy would be to plan for huge expansion. Acquire strips of land for roads and railways, and chunks for parks, before the city sprawls into them.

The Economist adds: This is not the dirigisme (government planning) of the new-town planner—that confident soul who believes he knows where people will want to live and work, and how they will get from one to the other. It is the realism needed to manage the inevitable.

The Economist continues that the suburbs have worked well in the West and are spreading, concluding that: We should all look forward to the time when Chinese and Indian teenagers write sulky songs about the appalling dullness of suburbia.

Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm. He is co-author of the "Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey" and author of "Demographia World Urban Areas" and "War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life." He was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, where he served with the leading city and county leadership as the only non-elected member. He was appointed to the Amtrak Reform Council to fill the unexpired term of Governor Christine Todd Whitman and has served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, a national university in Paris.

Photo: Suburban Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), by author

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