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The Power of Place: A Proposal for Los Angeles, Article Critique Example

Pages: 2

Words: 604

Article Critique

Thesis Summary

The article aims to examine the political, historical and cultural consideration of those ethnic minorities within the City of Los Angeles in the USA.  The objective of the research being to establish a ‘theory of place’ that ultimately connects those historical aspects of power and gender issues to that of contemporary matters preservation, public art and urban design. The theme of the research being focused upon economic development using various methods to examine content and oral histories etc.

The author maintains that there has not been a single historian that has provided a definitive social history of the ethnic minority population in Los Angeles. The City has been the meeting place for a diverse mix of minority ethnic cultural backgrounds, including that of Mexicans, Afro-Americans, Indians, Mestizo descendants and Chinese Americans. All of these minorities have contributed to the diversity that makes up Los Angeles(Hayden 1988)

Definitions of Key Concepts

  • The politics of preservation – Examination of the architectural history of Los Angeles and determination of a date point in which to measure the progression of architectural history in the City. Urban history considers aspects of both social and economic history in the City.
  • Legislation supporting heritage preservation – Looking at the legal framework that seeks to protect monuments and other important architectural sites of historical significance. This extends beyond the concept of buildings to the traditional heritage and cultures of people and as such preservation of the community heritage
  • Diverse Resources – An examination into the landmarks that share the contribution of diverse cultural resources and particularly that of ethnic minorities. How to protect valuable works of architecture that are in poor neighbourhoods and are the targets of vandalism, arson and abuse by the homeless.
  • The Proposal for Los Angeles – The economic development of the city in order to help protect its rich architectural and cultural heritage. Example Fire Station 30 that was originally designed by James Backus in 1913 now is a cultural historic landmark.

Authors Arguments

The author maintains that in order to protect the cultural heritage of Los Angeles there is an urgent need to establish a non-profit corporation termed ‘power of place’ in order to examine the means of preserving the history of ethnic minorities in the region. The author being a Professor in UCLA Urban planning department hoped to reach out to those community groups that would be interested in helping to promote and support this concept. Without this effort there is a danger of losing an important ethnic minority contribution by simple erosion of buildings, people and cultures.

Broader Literature

Handbook of contemporary families: considering the past, contemplating the future by Coleman and Ganong is an excellent book that reviews ethnic minorities, race, multi-culturalism and loss of cultural identity in minority groups; placing into context many of the viewpoints put forward by this author.  (Marilyn Coleman 2004).

Critical Issues

There are a number of critical issues that are of concern for future debate. These include:

  • Funding – In times of economic hardship it might prove difficult to raise funding for this program
  • Geography – It may prove difficult protecting cultural areas of significance in dangerous and poor urban areas of LA
  • Political Will – There may not be the political will in order to support such a program’

Based on the current economic climate the concept of funding would be of particular future interest.  The scale and cost of such an operation would be extremely expensive and would undoubtedly require both Corporate sponsorships and Government support.

References

Hayden, Dolores. The power oif place: A proposal for Los Angeles. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.

Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence H. Ganong. Handbook of contemporary families: considering the past, contemplating the future. London: Sage Publications, 2004.

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