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Los Angeles, California

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Though Los Angeles offers Lindsay Lohan sightings at Pinkberry and addresses on L.Ron Hubbard Way, Dwell explores a different side of the city with land use interpreter Matthew Coolidge.

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  The Hyperion Treatment Plant is the largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant in Los Angeles. It can process as much as 850 million gallons of waste each day. When it was constructed in 1894, on the beaches of El Segundo, it simply discharged raw sewage directly into the sea—–today, thankfully, it performs full waste treatment.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    The Hyperion Treatment Plant is the largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant in Los Angeles. It can process as much as 850 million gallons of waste each day. When it was constructed in 1894, on the beaches of El Segundo, it simply discharged raw sewage directly into the sea—–today, thankfully, it performs full waste treatment.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  Covering more square miles than Rhode Island, greater Los Angeles is not always bathed in perfect sunshine. Here, the towers of downtown are lost in haze.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    Covering more square miles than Rhode Island, greater Los Angeles is not always bathed in perfect sunshine. Here, the towers of downtown are lost in haze.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  The new headquarters for Caltrans, by local starchitect Thom Mayne, frames the most sci-fi seating area in town with strange angles of light and material.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    The new headquarters for Caltrans, by local starchitect Thom Mayne, frames the most sci-fi seating area in town with strange angles of light and material.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  Taken on their own, as sculptures in concrete, the region’s freeways are an unappreciated source of beauty, an experiential artwork you can drive on.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    Taken on their own, as sculptures in concrete, the region’s freeways are an unappreciated source of beauty, an experiential artwork you can drive on.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  One Wilshire is what’s called a telco hotel: The majority of its rooms are full of hard drives and cables, hosting information for global businesses.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    One Wilshire is what’s called a telco hotel: The majority of its rooms are full of hard drives and cables, hosting information for global businesses.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  These cell phone masts atop Mt. Wilson, northeast of Pasadena, are the region’s major relay point for police, fire, and civilian communications.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    These cell phone masts atop Mt. Wilson, northeast of Pasadena, are the region’s major relay point for police, fire, and civilian communications.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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    Photo by: Noah Webb

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  Sea Launch is a converted oil rig. Its surreal new role is to launch private satellites into space from the equatorial Pacific.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    Sea Launch is a converted oil rig. Its surreal new role is to launch private satellites into space from the equatorial Pacific.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  The Baldwin Hills, in Culver City, offer a glimpse of L.A. as it used to be: covered in pumping jacks and hoping for oil. The Hills are now a popular film location.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    The Baldwin Hills, in Culver City, offer a glimpse of L.A. as it used to be: covered in pumping jacks and hoping for oil. The Hills are now a popular film location.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  A glimpse of gravel pit workings.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    A glimpse of gravel pit workings.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  The Puente Hills Landfill is the largest active landfill in the United States. Its buried and rotting garbage produces methane gas, which is harvested by large pipes.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    The Puente Hills Landfill is the largest active landfill in the United States. Its buried and rotting garbage produces methane gas, which is harvested by large pipes.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  The Cascades are a registered State Histor-ical Landmark. They are where the 338-mile Owens River Aqueduct terminates, bringing fresh water to L.A. The aqueduct’s construction, which finished in 1913, is a fascinating—–and murky—–tale of government corruption and outright theft. It was made famous by the film Chinatown. Owens Valley residents, watching their water disappear into pipes bound for Los Angeles, successfully sued the city. Some of their water began returning in late 2006.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    The Cascades are a registered State Histor-ical Landmark. They are where the 338-mile Owens River Aqueduct terminates, bringing fresh water to L.A. The aqueduct’s construction, which finished in 1913, is a fascinating—–and murky—–tale of government corruption and outright theft. It was made famous by the film Chinatown. Owens Valley residents, watching their water disappear into pipes bound for Los Angeles, successfully sued the city. Some of their water began returning in late 2006.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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  An exterior detail of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. The house was designed for the daughter of local oil magnate William Barnsdall in 1921.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    An exterior detail of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. The house was designed for the daughter of local oil magnate William Barnsdall in 1921.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

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