Graduation Year

Fall 2011

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lily Geismer

Rights Information

© 2011 Alexander Bargmann


During the 1920s, Los Angeles Boosters, fearing the congestion of East coast cities,developed ideas about urban growth that emphasized industrial decentralization and urban dispersal. Before, during, and after WWII, these fears intertwined with the rise of defense related industries, particularly aviation and steel. As the city continued to grow, becoming a regional metropolis, these defense related industries, long present in Los Angeles, were brought into peripheral hubs by local boosters looking to develop places like Palmdale and Fontana. These cities grew and became, as important manufacturing and defense centers, part of the larger regional economy. These forces and boosters were key in developing Los Angeles' urban character - from its sprawl to its reliance on the military industrial complex. As American manufacturing waned and the Cold War ended, significant downsizing in these industries (Steel in Fontana and aerospace in Palmdale) led to economic and urban transformations in these peripheral hubs. No longer booming manufacturing hubs, they became distant suburbs looking for new economic lifeblood on the edges of Los Angeles's urban and industrial sprawl.