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Reinventing Los Angeles: Today at 2

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photo of the 2003 Pasadena Freeway bike ride by Virginia Renner

Occidental Professor Robert Gottlieb's latest book -- Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City -- is going to be awfully tempting to Angelenos who care about urban planning, the environment and social change. Get a taste when he reads today at Dutton's at 2pm -- and then ask the store to order a copy for you.

In his book, Gottlieb focuses on the intersection of nature and community in the city. He mixes the cultural -- a Cinespia screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and a walk through Not a Cornfield -- with the academic. The book may contemplate whether nature and community are ideas that are "socially constructed and historically situated," (it is from MIT Press, after all), but try not to let that put you off -- there's a lot of invigorating ideas about Los Angeles as a "natural" city, as it is now, and how it might be someday.

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Three specific areas/issues serve as in-depth case studies. The first is the long project to re-envision the LA River; the second, freeways and the ArroyoFest (pictured above), which closed the 110 for a pedestrian & bike invasion; and also immigration, emphasizing community and environment.

"The narratives and more theoretical discussions are elaborated in the context of the contemporary history of Los Angeles," Gottlieb writes, "...and in the context of a new politics of social change within and across borders." Right on, brother.