Phoenix and Los Angeles in the 1960s
I didn't get to see Phoenix, or Los Angeles, in the 1960s. And it really must have been a wonderful place. I'm not kidding here, it was the era of The Beach Boys, and of many freedoms that have gone away. It was an explosion of the use of cars, and of brand new suburbia. I really do wish I had seen it, but all I saw was the after-effects, that Phoenix and Los Angeles are still working to clean up.
By the time I saw Phoenix and Los Angeles, they were in a mess. The air was so filthy that you could barely breathe. Neighborhoods that really weren't that old yet had been abandoned. I used to drive around and look at places and wonder why?
I still have no real answers to why it all went so terribly wrong by the 1980s, but I am pleased to see that there has been real progress on the cleanup in both Phoenix and Los Angeles. It has cost some freedoms, but they were the freedom to drive cars without emission controls, to burn garbage in open air, and to generally make a mess of the city in order to have personal convenience. I had never been the "throwing the cigarette out of the car window" type, so these types of freedoms being lost did not bother me.
For people like me who remember Phoenix and Los Angeles from 20-30 years ago, it is a treat to see them now. The sky is so much bluer. Neighborhoods that had been abandoned have been brought back to life.
Sure, there is still a lot of work to be done, but the horrific future of these cities as predicted by movies like "Blade Runner" didn't happen. I remember a time when I imagined it would, but it didn't. And Phoenix and Los Angles are so beautiful to me.
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Posted by Brad Hall