Preserving Sprawl: The Suburbs Become Historic | Los Angeles Conservancy
Tarzana, 2002. Photo by Gary Leonard, from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Preserving Sprawl: The Suburbs Become Historic

This panel discussion re-examined suburbanization and sprawl as a key chapter in the story of post-World War II Los Angeles. We were thrilled to hold this special event at a little-known John Lautner gem in Woodland Hills. Now the IAC Shepher Community Center, it was built in 1979 as the Crippled Children's Society of Southern California.

Watch a video recording of the panel discussion below
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Looking at two centers of suburbanization, the San Fernando Valley and Lakewood, offers insight into the history of their development and what they mean to the people who live there. Today, many of the neighborhoods and communities that once defined the new growth of L.A. are threatened with redevelopment, renovation, and sometimes complete demolition.

Panelists included Robert Bruegmann, Professor Emeritus of Art History, Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Sprawl: A Compact History; Kevin Roderick, author of The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb; and D. J. Waldie, author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir about the development of Lakewood.

The panel was moderated by author and architecture critic Alan Hess, who contributed the wonderful essay about Modernism in L.A. for this website.

The event included a breakfast reception before the program and booksigning with the panelists afterward.

Curating the City: Modern Architecture in L.A. is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. Major support for the panel presentation was provided by the Getty Foundation.


Westridge Park Ranch Houses
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Westridge Park Ranch Houses

Boasting quarter-acre lots with houses set far enough back from the street to allow small lawns, flowerbeds, shrubs, and trees, a 1960 advertisement for Westridge Park presented styles such as "The Hawaiian," "The Queen," and "The Baronet."