California City, the third largest city in California by area - that promised “Utopia” claiming of building another Los Angeles in the middle of harsh Mojave Desert - has been mostly undeveloped and deserted since 1960s when the sweeping real estate boom came to an end. The desert fields reveal no signs of development if seen on the ground level, but once the viewer’s perspective is elevated to a few hundred feet above the ground, the vast land starts unveiling the endless paved roads and empty grids engineered for massive residential and commercial districts in the middle of literally nothing.
The master plan of the city was never realized, but the frenzy seeking for a new gold mine of real estate in this area went on for years since the people at the time believed that buying land would bring a fortune no matter where it’s located. Among many cases of failed urbanization and speculative development, I believe nothing better represents the complete nonsense of the failure than this city.
We’ve seen how real estate developments, often speculative, affect our built environment and the way we live in this fast-paced society. We’ve seen how irrational urbanization practices and the following herd behavior created social crises through numerous cases in different continents. We’ve also seen how fanatic land-based investments and its financial manipulations devastated the world in recent history. We’ve seen them all, yet the mentality of “not this time” always returns.