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. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. photo: an Uber driver.
    Perspective

    Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

    In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

  4. Transportation

    How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Downplays the Role of Drivers

    Safety advocates have long complained that media outlets tend to blame pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by cars. Research suggests they’re right.

  5. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

×