Friday, April 4, 2008

Aqueducts and Empire; Fortress L.A.

An interesting article on the relationship between the Roman aqueducts and the strength and scope of the Roman Empire.

Also, for Mike Davis fans, a piece in the LA Times a few days ago about the rise of bunker (and bulletproof) architecture in L.A:
Seniors in Steel Plaza's retirement complex in Pico-Union sometimes like to take their morning walks in the building's courtyard, protected by a black wrought-iron fence and perched 30 feet above the intersection of West 3rd Street and South Union Avenue.

"We're quite safe here," said Victor Gamad, 73, who has lived in the building since it opened a decade ago. "We never get frightened, except for when someone sets the fire alarm off."

Steel Plaza, which opened in 1998, was designed to be "drive-by proof."

It is one of the early examples of what has become a growing movement in urban sections of Los Angeles to blend public safety with architecture -- with some surprising results.

Last year, officials built a dirt hill at a new state park north of downtown aimed at shielding a play area from motorists who might commit drive-by shootings. Workers are now building a South L.A. community center with a community garden on the roof rather than at street level to protect against crime.

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