The Redwood City Saltworks project is one that will turn 1400 acres of salt marches along the San Francisco Bay into a 12,000 housing community. The first photo is the site in its current form, an open area with salt reserves, and the second photo is the planned development. It will feature schools and parks with the purpose of shortening commuting times for workers to and from Redwood City. This relates to urban landscapes because, if it is built, will represent the concept of new urbanism. It will be constructed on a site that is currently being used to produce salt and will be another “cookie cutter” housing complex where all homes will be universal in their design. Its main purpose is to cut down on commuting by making an affordable community available to those who work in Redwood City that must commute from distant cities. There are a number of technological companies located in Redwood City as well as a port, so many people are employed in this community and this plan would facilitate travel. Also it would be another neighborhood for those who have dreamed of living in California but cannot find adequate housing. There is great controversy over this project because environmentalists want this land to be converted back into a tidal marsh and it could be under water in 40 or so years. As the sea level rises, many coastal communities could are facing the fact they could be submerged in the near future. The Saltworks is going to be developed right on the Bay and would be one of the first communities to “sink.”
This is a photo of Watts Towers in Watts, a suburb just south of downtown Los Angeles. It was built over the course of 33 years by an Italian immigrant and is considered a historical landmark in L.A. Constructed from objects that range from bottles to sea shells to bed frames, this is one of the finest examples of urban art in the city. Its main frame is made from steel and rebar and the two towers seen in this photo are 99 and 97 feet tall. But the Watts Towers does not solely represent urban art. It also shows how communities shift overtime. Back when Los Angeles was a smaller city, this area was inhabited by Mexican and European immigrants, which explains the Italian creator of the Towers. It was not until the 1960s that Watts became a predominantly African American community. It was around also around this time when the community developed its present day image as a low income, crime ridden neighborhood that is home to many gangs. This transformation relates to the urban art aspect of this artifact because it shows the power that a structure like this has on a community. It could have easily been destroyed or taken down by its current residents, but because of its historical significance to Los Angeles and its sheer beauty, it was never touched and eventually became a national historic landmark.
The adobe style structure is very popular in Arizona and New Mexico because it represents their Native American history and is a unique feature that gives this area character. The above photos are of a traditional adobe building and a panoramic shot of the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This capital city demonstrates how different urban landscapes can characterize a city and separate it from the rest of America. New York City has its skyscrapers, Las Vegas has a constantly changing skyline of casinos, and Los Angeles is spread out across hundreds of square miles. And for cities like Santa Fe and Taos, they are known for their small town feel with a strong influence from the Native American and Spanish culture. As one can see in the photo of Santa Fe, there are no high rise buildings made of steel and concrete. The majority of the buildings are constructed with adobe, which is a combination of clay, sand, water, and other natural elements, and is not strong enough to support a five story building. This type of design not only pays homage to the Native Americans, but also gives the landscape a cultural identity as well. Santa Fe is a very artistic community that feeds from its past, and one gets that feeling as they walk around the city. One can see local artists selling their jewelry and other trinkets along the main square to tourists and can visit countless museums and studios. Also the layout of Santa Fe resembles the gridiron style that was seen in Colonial Spanish towns. The main area is centered around a common square with retail shops and the former governmental building, the Palace of the Governors. While the church is not directly on the square, it is only one block east of it.
People often associate upscale beachside communities as prime destinations to shop and just enjoy the “surfing” lifestyle. But according to this article, the citizens of Malibu, CA are not happy with this influx of tourists. They have been posting fake and illegal “No Parking” signs outside their million dollar houses to keep people from parking there so they can enjoy their ocean views and parking spaces. These actions by local citizens show that not everyone enjoys the benefits of tourism. While the city can really boost their economic revenue by appealing to the foreigner, it comes at a cost to the people living there. Malibu is a very popular location in the Southland and especially on weekends, cars can be seen on many residential blocks. Because of this, locals encounter problems while getting in and out of their homes, which can be a major inconvenience. The same can be said for residents on Lombard Street. Currently the street is a public entity, but locals are trying to privatize it so they can reduce traffic and easily access their residence. Just like gentrification, this is an example of how cities promote tourism at every cost and can disregard their own citizens. They want to create an “entertainment” type atmosphere by luring in upscale restaurants and shops to make their city a must see destination. By doing so, the city has turned Malibu from a sleepy surfing community into a tourist destination for the wealthy.
These are photos taken from airplanes that overlook downtown Los Angeles and its surrounding neighborhoods. I believe the first picture is looking north, so that main freeway is Interstate 110 and the mountains in the background are the San Gabriel Mountain Range. The second photo is looking west, so one gets a good view of the eastern part of downtown and the city’s industrial zones. Both images represent urban sprawl because the city is spread out over a large area. From the first picture, The 110 connects Los Angeles with important suburbs to the south and west. Long Beach has one of the busiest ports in the nation, makes up a large part of Los Angele’s economy, and is 20 miles south of downtown. And it is just under 20 miles from the central business district to LAX, the area’s largest airport. And from these photos, one can get a sense of the urban land use for the city as well. In the first photo that looks north, strip malls and small businesses line The 110 and moving west, the landscape turns into a residential area. The next image shows that the industrial warehouse district is away from the CDB and is separated by another residential neighborhood. If one looked at an overhead image of the entire L.A. area, they will see how sprawl affects the city shape. Los Angeles is said to have “multiple nuclei,” meaning there is no central location where all activity occurs. Rather the city has many small centers of business where residents and other businesses are based around. Long Beach is an example of another “nuclei” in the Southland because it generates a large amount of economic activity and is a location that is urbanized around.
This is a photo I took of the Golden Gate Bridge looking towards San Francisco from the Marin Headlands. It is a San Francisco landmark and is known throughout the globe as one of the greatest bridges on Earth. Millions of tourists flock to this bridge to snap a few photos, walk/bike across the famous bridge, or take a ferry ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. But from an urban standpoint, this bridge, along with many others around the Bay Area, was instrumental in the urbanization of the area. Before bridges were built, the only way to get across the bay was by ferry, but this method was slow and inconvenient for commuters from the East Bay and Marin County. But when this bridge was constructed in 1937, citizens were able to drive from to and from the north and allowed them to move out of the central city and into the suburbs. The same can be said about the Bay Bridge (San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge). This allowed people to travel back and forth from the East Bay, and overtime this bridge was the passageway the lower class had to take due to the unaffordability of San Francisco. These bridges eventually make ferry services obsolete as more were constructed to keep up with the popularity of the automobile. But the Golden Gate Bridge is starting to become an inconvenience for locals. As the economy of California struggles, officials are trying to make a quick dollar in any sector they can find. Seeing as this bridge brings so many visitors to the Bay Area, toll rates are one of the most expensive in the Bay. Currently they are $6 for a standard automobile and if one qualifies for carpool status, then it is only $3. Compared to the Bay Bridge, that toll is normally $5 and during rush hour it is bumped up to $6. These prices are making it difficult for lower class citizens to commute across the Bay, and could change the social landscape of the city over time.
This photo is of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is located right on the main square and was the main governmental building in Santa Fe for hundreds of years. Today, it is a national historic landmark, a museum, and the site of a very profitable informal economy. Almost every day, locals and Native Americans gather outside the Palace and sell their jewelry, dolls, and other items. They are all handcrafted, as the locals say, and hundreds of tourists browse their inventory on a daily basis. Even when I visited towards the end of the afternoon on a weekday, people were shoulder to shoulder in the tight corridor looking at turquoise earrings, rings, and necklaces. But this is an excellent example of an informal economy because the natives are collecting their earnings straight from the buyer and are not reported to the government. The producers probably make a lot of money because their products are quite expensive (upwards of $80 for a ring), but since they are marketed as “handcrafted,” tourists are willing to spend the extra money to get a genuine artifact from the Southwest. And this activity does not solely happen along the Palace of the Governors. One can see people selling their goods outside stores on the main square and even on the outskirts of downtown Santa Fe. The sheer number of informal economic activities that is seen in New Mexico and Arizona is enormous, but a reason for this could be their lack of income. Native Americans are not the wealthiest people in America, so selling “Indian” items is a way for them to earn a living, just like a rickshaw driver in India. But this is a great way for them to make money because they sell exactly what tourists want when they come to this part of the country, and they are willing to pay for a piece of the Native American culture.