If you're like us, then you like looking at miniaturizations of cities. From a USC historian we get this intriguing model of Bunker Hill circa 1940. Urban historian, Philip J. Ethington, delves into a variety of topics we're not nearly smart enough to understand in an online "essay" that brings together words and images to explain his hypothesis.
This essay invites readers to explore "Los Angeles" and the knowledge claims made by historians of the urban condition. Recent claims that Los Angeles is a quintessential site of postmodernity raise fundamental epistemological questions–many of which rapidly turn into ontological ones. How can entities so vast as great metropolises be grasped, let alone compared, when it is not even clear what empirical elements (architecture, class, crime, culture, demography, economics, gender, political institutions, sexuality, street life) are preeminent? What exactly is and/or was Los Angeles? (Its icons, its neighborhoods, its people?) How can we know, and what might constitute certainty or at least usable knowledge? How do photography, cartography, textual documents, and quantitative data ("statistics") give us access to historical urban space and time? Is it so wrong that all we can think about is pretending to be Godzilla and stomping 1940's Los Angeles? More pretty pictures at the link. There's text for the high-brows, too.
Update: According to a reader, the miniature models of 1940's Bunker Hill are viewable in the basement of the Natural History Museum. Exciting.
· Models: Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge [USC via Land+ Living]