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English: Middle Class

By shell22 Feb 05, 2012 732 Words
Mike Davis’ essay “Fortress Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space” talks about an “Urban renaissance” in Los Angeles. What does he mean by this? What effect has this had on the city’s poor and working class? How does Davis’ essay connect with Barry Lopez’s “Caring for the Woods?”

Scheleen. Grant
English 112
Prof. Hatchet

In Mike Davis “Fortress Los Angeles the Militarization of the Urban Space,” he talks about an “Urban renaissance”, in Los Angeles. The “Urban renaissance,” is the, “city of the future.” It is the renewal of the empty spaces and lots in downtown Los Angeles. Mike Davis speaks on how it affected the poor and the working class by excluding them from the downtown Los Angeles area. In Barry Lopez’s “Caring for the Woods,” he talks about a development and destruction of the woods and its effects on the environment. In “Fortress Los Angeles the Militarization of Urban space,” by Mike Davis’ and “Caring for the Woods,” by Barry Lopez’s both authors talk about the development of the environment and its impact.

The “Urban renaissance,” is defined by Mike Davis as the renewal and development of new buildings in the downtown Los Angeles (pg. 294). Davis says “local developers and offshore investors,” is developing a progression of “Block-square complexes” the Crocker Center, Bonaventure Hotel and a shopping mall (pg. 295). The main goal of the “Urban renaissance,” is to remove the old downtown and to develop a new modernized area consisting of hotels and shopping malls.

The “Urban renaissance,” prevents the poor and working class from associating and communicating with the middle class. Mike Davis says, “The goals of this strategy may be summarized as a double repression to obliterate all connection with Downtown’s past and to prevent any dynamic association with the non- Anglo urbanism of its future” (pg.295). The “Urban renaissance” is waging war against the poor and working classes in many forms. Mike Davis says one such strategy is to build the bus stop benches with little space. Another strategy is the “deployment “of outdoor sprinklers in the parks which are programmed to come on at night. These strategies are to stop the poor and the homeless from sleeping on the benches, and in the parks. (pg. 296) .The basic necessities, such as water for drinking or washing, do not exist and many Salvadorian “refugees” have to use sewer effluent as a water source. Mike Davis says, to lock out the poor and the working class from downtown area, heavy security such as twenty four hour security, armed guards and locked gates are implemented in areas near the Los Angeles Times headquarters and the Ronald Reagan State Office Building. (Pg 297)

Both authors talk about the destruction of the environment by the rich and the middle class. Mike Davis “Fortress Los Angeles the Militarization of Urban space,” examined the destruction of “public places” in Los Angeles, because of the “Urban renaissance,” which benefited the middle class. Mike Davis says, “In Los Angeles once a paradise of free beaches, luxurious parks, and cruising strips genuinely democratic space is virtually extinct” (pg.294). In Barry Lopez’s “Caring for the Woods,” he also talks about the destruction of environment by developers and land owners who logged and bought property in the area. The animals and trees in the area were becoming extinct because of these activities, which have taken over their home. Barry Lopez’s says, “The number of Chinook on the red, though it fluctuates, has fallen off in recent years. And I have taken hundreds of dead animals off the road along the river-raccoon, brush rabbit, even Steller’s jay and mink.” (pg.286)

In final analysis the “Urban renaissance” is for the benefit of the middle class and rich people. It excludes the poor and the working class in many forms. Mike Davis high lights the impact of the “Urban renaissance” on the environment and the destruction of public places and parks. These were places where the poor people congregate. They are vastly being eliminated by walls and barriers.

In Barry Lopez’s “Caring for the Woods” he also talks about the destruction of the environment by the wealthy developers and land owners. Animals and trees inhabit the woods which are being destroyed. They are becoming extinct because there is no other place to go.

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