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The New Suburbia: How Diversity Remade Suburban Life in Los Angeles after 1945

July 1 @ 5:00 pm PDT

Sponsored by The Book Club of California

America’s suburbs have been transforming. The conventional story of suburbs as bastions of white, middle-class homeowners no longer describes suburban realities. Today they house a more typical cross-section of the nation—rich, poor, Black American, Latino, Asian, immigrant, the unhoused, the lavishly housed, and everyone in between. Stories of everyday suburban life, in the process, have taken on new inflections.

Nowhere are these changes more vivid than in Los Angeles. In this suburban metropolis and global powerhouse, lily white suburbs have virtually disappeared, and over two-thirds of the County’s suburbs have become majority minority, placing LA at the vanguard of national changes. In Los Angeles, suburban diversification happened earlier and more intensively, offering a glimpse into what may well be America’s future. In The New Suburbia, historian Becky Nicolaides follows the Asian Americans, Black Americans, and Latinos who moved into white neighborhoods that once barred them. They bought homes, enrolled their children in schools, and began navigating suburban life. In places like Pasadena, San Marino, South Gate, and Lakewood, suburbanites faced the challenges of living together in difference. In some communities, diverse residents continued longstanding habits of exclusion and perpetuated metropolitan inequality. In others, they embraced more inclusive, multicultural suburban ideals. Through it all, the common denominators of suburbia remained—low-slung landscapes of single-family homes and families seeking the good life.

Based on a half-century of quantitative data and unpublished oral histories and interviews, The New Suburbia explores vital landscapes where the American dream has endured, even as the dreamers have changed.

A virtual presentation by Becky N. Nicolaides, author, historian, and Research Affiliate at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

Click here to REGISTER for the Virtual Presentation on Zoom


July 1
5:00 pm PDT
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