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About this collection

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted a land use survey from December 18, 1933 to May 8, 1939 for the city of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. It covered approximately 460 square miles within the boundary of the City of Los Angeles and resulted in this series of 345 hand-colored land use survey maps. They are collected in 10 books (averaging 35 maps per book) each corresponding to a geographic region within the City's boundary. Each original map measures bout 2 ft. x 3.5 ft.

The books cover:

  1. North Los Angeles District;
  2. Tujunga;
  3. San Fernando Valley from Canoga Park District to Van Nuys District;
  4. Van Nuys District to Garvanza District;
  5. Santa Monica Mountains from Girard to Van Nuys District;
  6. Hollywood District to Boyle Heights District;
  7. Topanga Canyon to Hollywood District;
  8. Downtown Los Angeles and Hyde Park to Watts District;
  9. Pacific Palisades Area to Mines Field (Municipal Airport);
  10. Shoestring Addition to San Pedro District.

Each book includes:

  • A title page with key;
  • legend and list of symbols used;
  • A composite index page of the entire city (which indicates on a city map which portion is included in a given book);
  • An index, which indicates on a city section map, the specific coordinates and sheets of maps contained in a given book (book 4 and 7 are missing their indices).

The land uses tracked on each map include:

  • 9 different types of farming (mixed, livestock, field crops, row crops, bush fruits, orchard, nursery, woodland, farming)
  • Vacant
  • 16 residential classifications -- these are broadly grouped as:
    • Single family residential
    • Multiple residential (2 to 4 families)
    • Unlimited multiple residential (i.e. hotels, boarding houses, chicken or rabbit ranches, etc.)
  • Institutional
  • Commercial (31 classifications: i.e. undertakers, theaters, restaurants, etc.)
  • Industry, utilities, recreational, agricultural, open uses, problem uses, combined uses, electric railway, steam railway
  • Manufacturing (30 classifications: i.e. cannery, oil well supply, ice manufacturing, motion picture studio, etc.)
  • Height of buildings in stories
 

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