Just about every weekend, I make my way from my dorm at Cal State Long Beach to my work at the Lakewood Center Mall. I drive down Atherton, turn right onto Lakewood Blvd, drive straight for some ways, and then turn right onto Del Amo Blvd. Along my drive I never noticed a difference between the two cities of Long Beach and Lakewood. Recently this past weekend, I decided to take a different route and drive down the smaller streets as opposed to the larger main streets.
Upon my travel, I realized the only way to really get through the city would be by main streets such as Lakewood Blvd, Bellflower, and Palo Verde. Main streets running perpendicular to those aforementioned, are streets like Del Amo and Carson. The reason behind all of this would be due to the old suburban ways.
Lakewood was created to be apart of the white working class suburbs in the 40’s. As Lakewood grew throughout the 50’s, it became a safe haven for the white working class Americans to have protection from the fears and anxieties associated with the larger city. It was during this time when houses were like social contracts with the society or community. Today we can still see the structure of the suburbs in the city. Every block and street is uniform throughout Lakewood. In each block there are rows of houses and smaller streets to get to each of the houses. There are no main larger streets running throughout the block but instead only on the outsides of each little community. Outsiders and foreigners driving through the city are essentially prevented from being able to get into the closed off suburban areas. This represents the control and safety that was demanded during this time.
It makes sense to have the houses set up this way to prevent main traffic from driving through the smaller streets. This was the logic that I had at the time. But in reality, the streets were set up to prevent the outsiders from making the neighborhoods “less safe.”