A difference between the urban and suburban spaces

Tuesday April 5, 2016
~9am, 22 West exit

Even though I’ve been going to CSULB for nearly two years now, it wasn’t until this past Tuesday that I realized this stark difference between Long Beach and where I live.

Coming from Irvine, I take the 405 North to Long Beach and then exit on the 22 West. As I’m exiting, I always pass the sign that marks the Los Angeles County border, telling me that I’ve entered that county. I’ve passed this sign a million times, but it wasn’t until our talk about the suburbs that I realized why I always felt so weird entering the city. As I pass the Lost Angeles County sign on my right, I also pass by this large oil derrick or factory on my distant left. I don’t know why I took so long, but I realized that this oil derrick would never be seen in Irvine (there could still be one in Irvine, but maybe it’s just hidden more secretively).

I used to think that Irvine was an urban city, because it’s modern and the suburban definition I knew meant I had to be living on the outskirts of a downtown. Irvine doesn’t really have a downtown that I know of. But after learning about what urban meant, I thought about my city and figured that it certainly isn’t downtown Los Angeles, which is its urban “part.” After Professor Smith showed how suburban neighborhoods look like on a map, it looked a lot like my community. Irvine, or at least my neighborhood, is suburban, then.

It was my first time seeing an oil derrick, thanks to Long Beach. It looked like the perfect image the media would use to impose a negative image on urban cities, with the derrick’s pumping black head and cloudy skies above. The closest thing Irvine would have are construction sites.

I just thought it was funny that as soon as I entered Los Angeles (county) territory, I would immediately be met with what “urban” really means. I am constantly reminded about how secluded I’ve been.

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