Califa Between Kester and Natick.


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A block south of Oxnard, between Kester and Natick Avenues, four residential streets dead end at Califa.

A time capsule of a neighborhood; neat, tidy, middle-class, without trash, graffiti, mattresses and old sofas; this section of Posoville (Part of Sherman Oaks) is either Van Nuys or Sherman Oaks depending upon your biases.

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The sunny aura along these streets, a dependable and somnolent monotony of the middle 1950s, is of people working and keeping up their homes, raising their kids and taking pride in their community. This could be Culver City or Burbank, so absent are those markers of decay that afflict Van Nuys only two blocks north of here.

Enormous landscaped parking lots, far too big for the modest amount of workers who work here, sit behind the white cinderblock boxes lining Oxnard.

In any European nation, or Japan, such decadent defacement of land would be unacceptable and put to denser use.

But in Los Angeles, the old American Way holds forth, but for how long?

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In the future, an architect might imagine that the asphalt would be ripped up to grow local fruits and vegetables, and the acres of pavement would sprout little villages of modular homes, five or ten or twenty houses arranged around xeriscaped gardens. Residents would ride bikes, walk to the corner market and board the Orange Line to ride out to Woodland Hills, or east into North Hollywood and downtown. Shady spaces between buildings would provide great outdoor seating for cafes, benches and even fountains.

For now, the houses and the white cinderblock industries meet in oversized parking lots in an average place stripped of personality, but grateful for its fragile place on the social ladder.

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