Urban Planning Development

Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban by Laura R. Barraclough

By Laura R. Barraclough

In the 1st book-length scholarly examine of the San Fernando Valley— domestic to one-third of the inhabitants of Los Angeles—Laura R. Barraclough combines bold historic sweep with an on-theground research of up to date lifestyles during this iconic western suburb. She is especially intrigued by means of the Valley’s many rural parts, similar to airborne dirt and dust roads, tack-and-feed shops, horse-keeping districts, citrus groves, and picture ranches. faraway from typical or undeveloped areas, those rural features are, she indicates, the results of planned urbanplanning judgements that experience formed the Valley over the process greater than 100 years.
The Valley’s entwined background of city improvement and rural maintenance has actual ramifications at the present time for styles of racial and sophistication inequality and particularly for the evolving which means of whiteness. Immersing herself in conferences of householders’ institutions, equestrian companies, and redistricting committees, Barraclough uncovers the racial biases embedded in rhetoric approximately “open house” and “western heritage.” The Valley’s city cowboys get pleasure from particular, semirural landscapes along the possibilities afforded by way of one of many world’s biggest towns. regardless of this enviable place, they've got at their disposal robust articulations of either white victimization and, with little contradiction, color-blind politics.

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Extra info for Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege

Sample text

The three chapters in part 1 explore the ways in which the San Fernando Valley was deliberately planned as a white settler society from 1900 to 1960. Chapter 1 analyzes visions and practices of gentleman farming (small-scale suburban agriculture), which was intended to regenerate the “essential” characteristics of the white race through the strategic combination of rural and urban lifestyles, and produced many of the Valley’s iconic citrus groves, poultry ranches, and other kinds of rural districts that would be celebrated by later generations of residents, planners, and activists.

Los Angeles voters passed the initiative by a wide margin. 35 Yet it is also important to note that the completion of the aqueduct was a vital first step without which middle-class gentleman farming simply could not proceed. Gentleman farmers purchased and then cultivated smaller tracts of land carved out of the elites’ enormous holdings after the aqueduct’s completion, and their suburban farms benefited in untold ways from access to a cheap, seemingly endless water supply paid for by taxpayers throughout the city.

Throughout the state, a plutocracy of agribusiness interests controlled the majority of acreage, employed the majority of workers, and received most of the profits. 8 percent of lemon producers controlled nearly 58 percent of the land devoted to that crop. Such patterns of land monopoly equally plagued the San Fernando Valley. For example, the 4,100-acre Sunshine Ranch, owned by the Edwards and Wiley Company, contained the Valley’s largest citrus orchard of approximately 1,000 acres, alongside other crops.

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