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Michael Storper Publishes New Book on Urban Economies Urban Planning Professor Michael Storper offers a comprehensive look at the two cities from past to present

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Los Angeles and San Francisco stand as the two major metropolises of California, but increasing differences in economic growth and prosperity divide the two cities.

Urban Planning professor Michael Storper addresses these economic and cultural differences in his new book, The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons From San Francisco and Los Angeles, now available for purchase. In a forensic style of writing, Storper unpacks the mystery of the two cities, namely why the Bay Area continues to significantly outpace Los Angeles in average household income and wages. The book analyzes the economic development policies of the regions since 1970, the attitudes and actions of regional leadership, and the networks of leaders, and how these contributed to the Bay Area getting so far ahead of LA. In 1970 LA was ranked 4th in the country in terms of income levels, and now it is ranked 25th — this means all of Greater LA, compared to the Bay Area, which has remained number one.

Jon Christensen of the San Francisco Chronicle published a review of the book, stating that: “. . . it is written in a very accessible style, using the structure of a scientific detective story. And it is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of California and cities more broadly.”

 

Soja’s ‘My Los Angeles’ Reviewed in L.A. Times

Distinguished Urban Planning professor emeritus Edward Soja’s new book, My Los Angeles: From Urban Restructuring to Regional Urbanizations, has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times.

“Edward Soja, a geographer at UCLA, has spent much of his long career trying to read Los Angeles,” the reviewer, journalist and UCLA academic Jon Christensen writes. “Along the way, he developed innovative and sometimes controversial theories of urbanization and became a founder of a dynamic ‘L.A. School’ of urban studies.”

In placing Soja at the creation of this school of thought, Christensen, who is the editor of Boom: A Journal of California, credits Soja with “some of the most provocative and productive ideas to our understanding of cities in recent history.”

Soja’s book primarily addresses Los Angeles’ socio-economic landscape in the wake of the 1992 civil unrest, which he sees as a consequence of decades of economic decline and racial isolation. The key factor to future growth will be networks — of employment, transportation and culture — that serve all areas of the city and empower stronger communities and individuals.

Soja’s observations are important, Christensen writes. “In the next 30 to 40 years, as the worldwide population grows from 7 billion to 9 billion and possibly more, all of that growth effectively will be absorbed in cities, doubling the urban population on Earth.”

“That means the urban built environment will double too,” he continues. “The shape of those urban spaces, as Edward Soja shows, will fundamentally shape the future.”

My Los Angeles is published by the University of California Press.