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Ecology V: River of Concrete:
The Seeding of a Fifth Ecology
Lola Sheppard and Mason White
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Reyner Banham’s seminal Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies parses the architecture and urbanism of Los Angeles through the lens of distinct ecologies, each with its corresponding architecture. Banham’s ecologies are understood not only as natural systems, but also as cultural systems. They willfully entangle geography with cultural phenomena to reveal a human ecology: the beach produces Surfurbia while the modern highways create an Autopia. Further, Banham highlights the importance of the foothills and plains as territories eliciting a unique, LA-specific vernacular. Employed partly metaphorically, Banham’s ecologies engender local culture (surfing, cruising, and building vernaculars), while the corresponding architectures reflect the aura of these distinct ecologies.

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