Why L.A. Has Clashing Street Grids

Los Angeles is a city with its vision so firmly pointed toward the future that traces of the past often escape its sight. Headlines proclaim new mega-developments downtown and transportation projects on the Westside. Even historical reminiscences of the city often focus on what was lost—hillstunnels, and Victorian mansions—rather than what persists. But in fact traces of the past surround us, even in places where new construction has completely refashioned the surface of the city. Several distinct political and cultural regimes have passed through Southern California, and each has left its distinct mark on the landscape. The result—clashing street grids, along with errant boulevards defying the grids' attempts at order—is a palimpsest of past cultural influences on the Los Angeles cityscape.