Form, Fantasy and the Expo Line

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The Architecture of Four Ecologies in the early 1970s he observed then that if the car-loving Angelenos were ever to embrace to public transportation they would have to heed the advice of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury and hire Walt Disney to design it, the thesis being that the trip would have to be a fantasy-ride if it were to lure users. Well, fast forward 40 years and LA is getting its transit system, with the most recent link in the chain being the newly opened and partially completed route to the sea, the Expo Line. Clearly Metro has not taken cues from Disney — see the newly launched, Avengers-themed, retrofitted monorail at Disney World (left) — and the design of the train and stations are more utilitarian than fantasy (read Christopher Hawthorne on a tear about Expo’s design, here).

But as an experience of the city, the ride is truly transformative. I explore just how in this essay just published on Artbound; that’s a new “transmedia” project launched by our friends at KCET, featuring 30 columnists reporting on art and related happenings all over the Southland. It’s up to readers to pick the stories they like, and they will be turned into TV projects. So read about everything from LA post-Banham to the “New Aquarians” and be reminded how endlessly fascinating our region can be. Meanwhile, we’ll be talking more about transit and design on a future DnA. If you have strong feelings on the topic, leave a comment.