White picket fence. Manicured lawn. House and 2.3 kids. A chance for a better life. The American Dream.

Los Angeles, a big city unique in its spread-out nature and affinity for modern transportation, was particularly destined for suburbia. The city, as its people craved a more rural life that still retained the wealth and conveniences of urban life, steadily spread out geographically. The Los Angeles area is really made up of multiple, distinct communities built around the suburban dream.

On this site, we will explore the following L.A. county suburbs: Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach and Lynwood. Their histories, populations, and contemporary life will be viewed primarily through images. Through these suburbs, a larger picture of the development of the Los Angeles Area is evident as the city transitioned from urban to suburban growth. The suburbs were meant to fulfill the American Dream, though their real effects over time often vary. Suburbia served to de-urbanize L.A.—for better or for worse.

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My grandma, grandpa, and uncles, way back in 1950s Lynwood.