Would Joan Didion ‘take the 101’?

Jonathan T.D. Neil on Reyner Banham and the language of LA’s freeways

By Jonathan T.D. Neil

Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, Los Angeles

Maybe the freeway isn’t a cliché. The first book I decided to read, or reread, upon becoming a permanent resident of Los Angeles – following three years of cross-country commutes between NYC and LA – was Reyner Banham’s Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971). I had conveniently forgotten how Mike Davis, in perhaps one of the best social histories of LA’s particular conurbation, his City of Quartz (1990), dismissed Banham as one of its ‘boosters’, and so rendered…

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