Crude City

If I was in Los Angeles next week, I would definitely be aboard the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s forthcoming tour, Urban Crude: The Oil Fields of the Los Angeles Basin. From the gallery’s description of both the bus tour and the accompanying exhibition:

The fabric of Los Angeles, a continuous cloth of development, draped on the surface of the land, is shallow, but its roots, thousands of meandering straws of oil, dig deep into the soil. Like tree roots, these veins extract the living essence of the ground, fueling this city of the car. Like historical roots, these oil fields are the progenerative substrate, the resource pool, where the economy of Los Angeles originated, driving the development and culture of the city. Today, it continues. Los Angeles is the most urban oil field, where the industry operates in cracks, corners, and edges, hidden behind fences, and camouflaged into architecture, pulling oil out from under our feet.

The bus tour kicks off at 9am on Friday, December 18, and you can read more about it here.

Being a long-time fan of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, meanwhile, I was excited to put together an infrastructure-based guide to the city of Los Angeles last year in the form of a short interview with CLUI director Matthew Coolidge. From human-waste-processing sites in El Segundo to the cell-phone towers atop Mt. Wilson—by way of gravel pits and methane-capture valves atop landfills—that tour can be found at Dwell.

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