chapter  4
12 Pages

The Non-City

The disparity between expectations of a prototypical urban form and the urban form of Los Angeles also leads to the relegation of Los Angeles into the cosmopolitan dungeon of non-city status. The lack of a well articulated downtown is perhaps the primary missing element for those who delegate LA to non-cityhood. The term "Los" as a stand-in for LA is still used, especially among the city's Chicano/Chicana population. This nettlesome problem of "What Is It" has hovered over Los Angeles in general, but it has loomed over downtown LA. It seems people have reverted to the venerable Athenian School of Urbanism for their standards for cityhood, that archaic law of isonomy developed by that erudite quartet of Isocrates, Thales, Heraclitus, and Iconobathos the Barber bearing the bad news that LA has violated its precepts regarding cosmopolitan legibility. Oddly enough, Levy's urban seal of approval does not extend to a city one would think would best fit the bill, San Francisc.