In 1958, a Czech-born sociology professor named Nat Mendelsohn purchased 82,000 acres of land in the Mojave Desert, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, and founded the optimistically named California City. Intended to eventually rival LA in importance, California City was just one of the countless master-planned communities that sprouted up across the state in the post-World War II boom years. But unlike Irvine or Mission Viejo, California City never took off.
Although it’s officially California’s third-largest city based on its geographic size, today just under 15,000 people live there, many of them employed at the California City Correctional Center. All that remains of Mendelsohn’s Ozymandian vision is a sprawling grid of empty, mostly unpaved streets carved into the desert landscape—a ghost suburb that looks from above like the remains of an ancient civilization.
Quand un projet manqué de ville future finit par justement dessiner ce que sera vraiment le futur.