On Sepulveda, in Sherman Oaks, just north of the Galleria, land has been cleared for the future improvements to the 405/101 interchange. This is the plan to alleviate the horrendous bottleneck of traffic that makes commuting so torturous on the San Diego Freeway.
But passing by this open space I had a different thought, about how the Valley might have looked in 1945, when orange and walnut groves were destroyed to make room for houses. This field, I thought, would look mighty fine planted with hundreds of orange trees.
There was once a balance to life in California, between urban and rural, agriculture and urban density, that has been lost. The outskirts of the city do not exist anymore. We live in a bowl of sprawl that extends from the Pacific Ocean to Palm Springs and beyond.
Why not develop housing that utilizes and incorporates some agriculture in the design? Perhaps there is some tonic from the orange blossoms that might soothe the angry idiocy roaming the streets of Los Angeles? Van Nuys with lemon or walnut trees along VanOwen! Demolish the asphalt on Sherman Way, and create garden apartments around real edible gardens!
At CSUN, in Northridge, the campus wisely and with some historical knowledge, kept acres of old orange trees. The buildings and parking lots are there, but so is that little sliver of life, of citrus and sunshine, that makes California California.