Suburbanisation - LA case study

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Suburbanisation ­ Los Angeles
Characteristics
Los Angeles has attracted people in there millions to California and has a population of
24 million. The city has now reached the stage of suburbanisation as the economy has
grown and people want a better quality of life and have therefore moved out of the over
populated inner city.
Causes
Transport - The arrival of the transcontinental railway from the east in 1876 stimulated
rapid population growth; half a million arrived within 40 years.
Electric tramways in the 1920's meant people could live further away from work
Motorways spread across the city allowing working to drive in from homes away from the
CBD
Employment - In the early 20th century, the discovery of oil, the opening of a Ford car
plant and other manufacturing industries meant continued growth
Image - The development of the film industry in Hollywood ­ a suburb of LA. Growing
affluence brought tourists to the film parks
Greater Affluence - This gave people greater choice about where to live. The fastest
population growth in the 60's and 70's was in the sun-belt of California
As the suburbs grew, the population of central Los Angeles declined, leaving a poor and
often semi- derelict inner city in which those at the bottom of the socio economic ladder
inhabited some of the poorest and most crime-ridden suburbs. However, low-density
suburbanisation consumes huge amounts of land and takes people further away from work.
Time spent travelling to and from work creates social problems ­ stress caused by travel,
and little time for partners, family and friends. Many suburban communities now exist only
as places where people sleep rather than live. These are known as dormitory settlements.
Impacts
Doughnut city - Large industries followed people from the CBD to Greenfield sites in the
suburbs where there are fewer planning restrictions and land was cheaper. This leaves the
centre full of migrants, the unemployed, the unskilled and criminals. This leaves a hole in
the middle, which is now being filled with TNCs and main companies to draw people back
into the city after suburbanization.
Urban smog - 10 million car owners create congestion on freeways creating environmental
hazards Smog high pressure systems create dense, cold, still air at the surface with warmer
air above. The cold dense air traps pollution above LA. In 2005 just 10.2% of commuters used
public transport.
Social segregation - Those who can afford to leave inner LA for the suburbs do so,
leaving behind an increasingly derived population, Increase in crime in inner city
areas. Many migrants settle in the inner city areas such as Mexicans where living costs and
housing is cheaper.
Historically, Los Angeles growth has relied on the assumption that cheap natural
resources such as water would always be available. This assumption is proving to be

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­ the rising cost of energy and the shortage of natural resources are causing
problems for the city.
Water ­ Water is piped to LA from 350km away
Continued demand for irrigating domestic gardens and filling pools is causing
disputes with neighbouring states
Up to 50% of water is wasted from evaporation before it even reaches the city Waste ­ 24
million people in the Greater Los Angeles area produce 50,000 tonnes of waste every day.…read more

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