Follow the Money: L.A.’s Economic History

L.A. is one of the world’s great regional economies and global labs, and this is in large part because its citizens have been willing to invest in public infrastructure. From railroads to housing, learn more about the history of how L.A. has developed. One fascinating look at L.A.’s growth is The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles by Michael Storper, which studies the stark differences between trends in Southern and Northern California’s economies and how this impacts the entire state. This book is part of a collection from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation that we’re spotlighting this summer. You can also journey down L.A.’s money trail with Steven P. Erie’s book, Globalizing L.A.: Trade, Infrastructure, and Regional Development.

Explore more about urban reform, lost communities, housing challenges, and other issues faced in a growing L.A. with these other books:

Beyond Chinatown: The Metropolitan Water District, Growth, and the Environment in Southern California by Steven P. Erie



Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor by Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz

The Haynes Foundation and Urban Reform Philanthropy in Los Angeles: A History of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation by Tom Sitton

Houses of Los Angeles Volume 1 by Sam Watters

Los Angeles Preface to a Master Plan edited by George W. Robbins and L. Deming Tilton


Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream by Jennifer Watts

Cities Are for People; The Los Angeles Region Plans for Living by Mel Scott

If you want to learn more about local history, check out the LAPL’s photo collection series Shades of L.A., which includes several of the above photos made accessible through a grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. Read more about the life and work of Haynes in Tom Sitton’s book John Randolph Haynes, California Progressive.







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