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. A man walks out of the door frame of a building that collapsed after an earthquake, in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
    Environment

    Mexico City's Earthquake, Through Residents' Eyes

    Here’s how locals responded when shocks struck the city.

  2. Transportation

    Portland Prepares for the Freeway Fight of the Century

    A grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood? Sounds familiar.

  3. POV

    How to Save a Dying Suburb

    For older, inner-ring suburbs in the Northeast and Midwest, the best hope often lies in merging with the city.

  4. A Juggalo standing in front of Buffalo City Hall.
    Equity

    The Juggalo March Is Not a Joke

    Facepainted fans of the Insane Clown Posse are gathering on the National Mall this weekend. And they have something important to say.

  5. Design

    Octopuses Are Urbanists, Too

    Scientists were surprised to find that this smart and solitary species had built a cephalopod city. Why?