Wikimedia Commons

A haunting and poetic portrayal of what was then seen as the city of the future.

This three-minute video is almost haunting in its poetic but spare portrayal of what was then seen as the city of the future. In presenting L.A. from an outsider’s point of view, the little film was also unknowingly showing profound changes that were beginning to be experienced all across America in the form of sprawling suburban development, inner-city disinvestment, and an emerging culture of civic detachment and isolation. The perspective is not pejorative so much as presented with a sense of discovery and wonder.

The narration is in French with subtitles, and a bonus is that the narrator speaks slowly, enabling those of us who are almost but not quite fluent in the language to practice our listening. This is highly recommended:

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  2. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  3. Equity

    The FBI's Forgotten War on Black-Owned Bookstores

    At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.

  4. Life

    The Town Where Retirees Can’t Retire

    In fast-aging pockets of rural America, older residents are going back to work. But not always because they need the money.

  5. Amazon HQ2

    New York’s Ejection of Amazon Is the Start of a Movement

    NYC lawmakers who led a resistance campaign against HQ2 are declaring victory. And already, they have plans to escalate their opposition to tax incentives.