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(NEW EDITION) City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

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Aside from that though, it's a welcome different approach from the usual hagiographic or hip postmodern analyses of conglomeration cities like LA.

Gustavo Arellano, "Column: Revisiting Mike Davis' case for letting Malibu burn," November 14, 2018, The Los Angeles Times; Jon Wiener, "LA Story: Backlash of the Boosters," February 4, 1999, The Nation. All these things (and others) make relevant Davis’s critique of unrelenting urban economic development that attempts to override physical constraints. City of Quartz can be read as a series of interesting overlapping chapters in Los Angeles history, which Davis weaves into a story of political ambition, landscape transformation and consequent discontents.A wildly original analysis of the city on the threshold of the new millennium, the book synthesized knowledge about Los Angeles's history, politics, culture, architecture, policing, immigration, and more, painting a dark picture that embodied a kind of American urban dystopia on steroids after the nightmare of Reaganism and the "developers’ millennium. City of Quartz makes concrete how the spatial organization of human life under United States racial capitalism will always covertly normalize particular groups of people as criminal and disposable, making them uniquely vulnerable to state violence and premature death, while marking others as worthy of protection, luxury, and power. Brady Westwater, one of Davis’s most assiduous critics (who checked the accuracy of the book’s footnotes), was associated with Californian real estate interests. MTV… going back to a high school lifestyle after twenty… They would sell their life away only to do it but what they don't know, is that they've already done, spending it gulping down illusions the way bad weeds gulp down sour waters.

Central to Davis's project is getting his readers to view the spaces and geographies around them as products of intentional political decision-making, as evidence of metropolitan elites' corrupt priorities and material investment shoring up their profits through the police-backed maintenance of racial and economic segregation. Too long and detailed, it also presumes a certain familiarity with local southern Californian politics in the 20th century that many foreign readers would not have, nor care to have.His books include Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food (California, 2019) and Thinking in Public: Strauss, Levinas, Arendt (Penn, 2016).

PANEM ET CIRCENSENS Live from the arena, thirty people listening, it’s the open season to go hunting crown of thorn and pine needles. For those of us shocked at the state of LA's homeless population, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, its puzzling infrastructure, this book provides the explanations (and quite possibly the answers) in a brilliantly dizzying journey of exploration. I seriously doubt that any of the professors on his dissertation committee have written anything as popular, interesting, and provocative as "City of Quartz". It wasn’t just to do with the freeways and the smog, and Hollywood – there was something very strange about it. Mirages flower to the beat of hearts, stirred by the thousand paged modern tragedy that is hope to which we are leashed like a dog.

As we shall see later, part of the logic of the 1978 tax revolt, which burned over the Valley in particular, was to equalize advantages between Los Angeles’s ‘captive’ white suburbanites and the residents of the Lakewoodized periphery’. But I can also see rich, seminal insights from City of Quartz reflected in other vintage Davis works.

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