Los Angeles, the “City of Angels”, in southern California on the Pacific Ocean is the second largest city in the United States in terms of population and one of the largest in terms of area. It is a city of fascinating diversity and offers something for everyone – a sleek, ultra-modern downtown, miles of beautiful beaches, mansions and stunning canyon homes built with opulent luxury, and some of the world’s most glamorous shopping and dining. L.A. is one of THE metropolitan centers of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education, and as the home base of Hollywood, it is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production and recorded music.
However, beneath LA’s glitter is a troubled city.
Explosive population growth, coupled with a reliance on the automobile and a strong preference for single-family detached homes, contribute to L.A.’s growing problems of Air Pollution, traffic congestion, and spiraling housing costs.
Los Angeles is notorious for horrible traffic. Freeway and street traffic can drive you so insane that you are willing to sacrifice your first born child just to be able to step on the gas. To keep your sanity you need to look on the bright side: We could all be living in Brazil …
Due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire and the San Andreas Fault Los Angeles is subject to approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year. Fortunately all but a few quakes are of low intensity but Los Angeles needs to be prepared for the big one.
Although Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in crime since the mid-1990s and reached a 37 year low in 2007 with “only” 392 homicides, crime is still a major problem in L.A. Los Angeles is informally known as the “Gang Capital of the Nation”.
The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area of Los Angeles translates to “the valley of smoke” because of the smog from native campfires. Smog levels are high during summer because it is dry and warm, but the number of Stage 1 smog alerts has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. However, despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the USA with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution.
In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel.
Despite its problems: Los Angeles, the huge, vastly spread out city that has landscapes ranging from beach to mountains to suburbs to urban areas, is unique and fascinating. There are many exciting things to do in L.A. and visitors of any age and interest will be able to find ample activities to suit their tastes.
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