Los Angeles is very much alive. It might seem that we have worked hard to change that. Over the last century, we have covered over 60% of our land surface with houses, roads and sidewalks; in some parts of the city it’s almost 90%. We’ve laid down asphalt expanses so vast that the heat they absorb and radiate alters local atmospheric circulation. The rivers that once commanded the vast Los Angeles Basin as their floodplain are relegated to the narrowest of concrete channels. So many cumulative feats of engineering have managed to accommodate one half of the population of the 6th largest economy of the entire world onto just 0.02% of the world’s surface. This is the land we call the Greater Los Angeles Area.
We decorate this city with plant species imported from Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, creating juxtapositions of plant and animal species unprecedented in evolutionary history. Such colourful landscapes are maintained by regular inputs of labour, gas, electricity and 50% of the water that Los Angeles transports from ecosystems hundreds of miles away through its notorious aqueduct system.