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Time Travel Back to Los Angeles, Circa 1969

Time Travel Back to Los Angeles, Circa 1969
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Kaid Benfield is special counsel for urban solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and author of several books on cities, smart growth and sprawl. All posts »

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