The author tells of how he once loved the Case Study houses, commissioned from several modern architects by Arts & Architecture magazine in the years after World War II with the goal of developing a new style of housing in southern California, and why he eventually came to see those houses as part of what holds Los Angeles and other Californian cities back from classically urban levels of density and functionality. He argues that the “house culture” instilled by the Case Study houses and other single-use, single-family-house-oriented forms of residential architecture have caused more problems for the Californian city than even its oft-criticized “car culture.”

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