Anglo-Saxon Cities on the Pacific Rim

  • Lionel Frost

Abstract

Los Angeles is the sole example of an Anglo-Saxon city on the Pacific Rim which has grown into a true megalopolis with national and international economic and cultural significance.1 Modern Los Angeles’ planners and policymakers grapple with deep problems: a vast sprawl which makes the cost-effective provision of infrastructure difficult; and increasing car usage with associated ills of congestion, pollution and the tie-up of land for roads and parking lots. Such problems demand attention not only in fast-growing developed world cities such as Houston, Phoenix, and Perth, but also in low-density Third World cities like Mexico City and Lima. In cities such as Manila and Jakarta the stretching of the physical fabric over large areas is inimical to improvement in the quality of housing and sanitation. In a sprawling city there are diseconomies of scale: the building of a safe and efficient physical fabric becomes more difficult, and environmental problems are magnified. At a time when giant cities in the Third World are growing at great speed (the United Nations predicts that by the end of the 1990s there will be a total of twenty-two megacities of over 10 million inhabitants, with only three of them outside Asia, Latin America, and Africa)2 it has become an urgent matter to understand the causes and consequences of low-density urban sprawl.

Keywords

Migration Europe Transportation Income Marketing 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    As Joel Garreau has written. An argument can be made that it will soon be America’s premiere city, replacing New York. [I]f the sixty-mile circle with Los Angeles at its center were to become an independent country, it would be the fourteenth wealthiest in the world. It is a world leader in aerospace, manufactured goods, electronics, fashion, construction, and finance. It is the air and sea hub of the West. But Los Angeles’ foremost importance may be its impact on the continental culture. It has influenced continental thinking on the worth of everything from casual sex to fresh foods. (The Nine Nations of North America (New York: Avon, 1981) p. 219)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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    For a fuller discussion of this issue, see L. Frost, ‘Cities and Economic Development: Some Lessons from the Economic History of the Pacific Rim’, in G. D. Snooks (ed.), Longrun Analysis in Economics (forthcoming).Google Scholar
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    See L. Frost, The New Urban Frontier: Urbanisation and City-Building in Australasia and the American West (Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
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    For a discussion of, and important contribution to this debate, see M. S. Foster, ‘The Model-T, the Hard Sell, and Los Angeles’s Urban Growth: The Decentralization of Los Angeles during the 1920s’, Pacific Historical Review, 44 (1975) esp. pp. 460–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Bottles, Los Angeles and the Automobile, esp. Ch. 8.Google Scholar
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    Frost, The New Urban Frontier, pp. 26–7, 98.Google Scholar
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    See A. Averbach, ‘San Francisco’s South of Market District, 1850–1950: The Emergence of a Skid Row’, California Historical Quarterly, 52 (1973) pp. 197–223; W. S. Jevons, ‘Remarks upon the Social Map of Sydney’, MS B864, Mitchell Library, Sydney (1858).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See R. Gibbons, ‘The “Fall of the Giant”: Trams versus Trains and Buses in Sydney, 1900–61’, in G. Wotherspoon (ed.), Sydney’s Transport: Studies in Urban History (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1983).Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 281.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theo Barker and Anthony Sutcliffe 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Frost

There are no affiliations available

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