I now officially live in my current city longer than I have lived in any city. And it’s interesting to watch a community change over time. It’s stuff I enjoy writing about and examining. It’s a complex mix of factors that influence a society.
The first city I lived in for ages, was middle class suburbia. It seemed to add infinite and infinitely-complex traffic signals. Every time I’d go back I’d be driving through intersections that didn’t used to exist and attempting to read the 43 overlapping sets of traffic lights all skewed at slightly different angles.
Some of the more rural cities I lived in or had relatives in, would inevitably chop down their forests and put up huge swaths of cookie cutter homes. Not to mention finally get around to repaving the roads.
When I moved into my current city of Hermosa Beach, it was a tiny little beach community with lots of little beach bungalows. The city is only 1.4 square miles and was never intended to be residential. Therefore, all the house lots are a fraction of the rest of Los Angeles. So every house is basically a square to maximize space, and no one has a yard. At the time, the city was something like 70% renters and the median age was quite young.
Over time, I’ve seen all those bungalows bought up and torn down. Putting up little tiny McMansions in their place. They’re all boring rectangles, but they try and appear different.
I just saw this listing. It’s the most expensive house ever listed here. Maybe it’s pie-in-the-sky hoping. If you go 100 feet away, houses are only 10% that cost. Which is a pretty stupendous drop.
I also just read that my zip code was one of the top 100 most expensive in the country. While there are still plenty of sketchy beach bums around, there’s no denying the city is getting wealthier and wealthier. A bulwark against the city becoming too douchebag-y, in my estimation, is the very high density. Like I said, the lots are very small and everyone is right on top of each other. This is not where you move if you want privacy and a giant wall. If celebrities lived here full time, paparazzi could literally stare into their living rooms. If you look at that mega mansion for sale, that’s a public park 20 feet from the front door. And people can stand there playing bongos and singing off-key if they like. I’ve seen people move in and try and make it private. They erect big shrubs and otherwise try and block people out. But they always move. There are plenty of cities where you can be rich, by the beach, and have privacy. But Hermosa Beach isn’t one of those places.
But it is interesting to see how city’s change over time. I believe only a single stoplight was added in the decades I’ve been here. There are almost no major changes to infrastructure. Very little changes in businesses or parks. They’re building a new school, but it’s where an older school used to be. In my city, it’s the houses that have changed and brought a slightly different population. Older. Richer. Maybe a bit crabbier and self-important.