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The Last Bookstore: Gentrification and SoCal Architects


Two Events:

“Architects Who Built Southern California with Antonio Gonzalez” &

“Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State with Samuel Stein”

Wednesday, April 24 and 25th, respectively, 7:30 – 9 pm

In the early 1900s, the population of Southern California exploded, and with the surge came a rapid need for buildings – and architects to design them. Architects Who Built Southern California, by Antonio Gonzalez tells the stories of 10 architects who answered the call and made their marks on the landscape. Claud Beelman, a man who never received a college degree, would go on to design the Elks Lodge in Los Angeles. Albert C. Martin, architect of Grauman’s Million Dollar Theater, founded a company that is still going strong over a hundred years later, and Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California, was hired by William Randolph Hearst to design the Examiner Building.

Building and politics have long been intertwined.  While planning commissions hold approval power over developments, impact reports and public forums often perform a side show to the main event of back room deals and hand shakes greased by capital. In his book Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State, Samuel Stein puts the spotlight on this pernicious relationship that results in urban renovations that lead to higher real estate values and rising rents. Good for the landlord and the wealthy, bad for the average family renting their shelter.  Capital City identifies gentrification as a structurally contrived dispossession and explains the role of planners in this real estate state.