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In an age dominated by nationalism and ethnic conflict, Charles Jencks argues that these reactionary tendencies can be countered by an equally powerful drive - heterophilia: the love of difference, the desire to seek out new experience and curiosity. All of these are essential to the creation of a new form of city, the heteropolis, epitomized by Los Angeles. With over one hundred ethnic groups, forty different lifestyle clusters, eighty languages spoken in the schools, and extraordinarily different flora and fauna, Los Angeles' diversity has now become one of its main drawing points, and problems. Precariously balanced between civil unrest and the creative enjoyment of difference, it is something towards which other world cities, with their mass-migration and global trade are heading. The hetero-architecture of Los Angeles suggests a way beyond the present impasse between the fundamentalists and the multiculturalists, a third position which diffuses confrontation with creative displacement and inclusive eclecticism. The strange beauty of hetero-architecture embraces variety, its informality allows marginalized groups to feel at home and its unusual metaphors suggest our connection to the natural world. Frank Gehry, Eric Owen Moss, Morphosis, Frank Israel and Charles Moore are its visible leaders, but there is also a vernacular and funk version of the genre as well as the populist versions of Jon Jerde and Disneyland. The philosophy of hetero-architecture accepts difference as a necessity and turns it into a virtue with an informal aesthetic at once polyglot, abstract and representational - that is radically eclectic and inclusive in an understated way. The 'L.A. Style', as it is known, bears affinities with other aesthetics such as the Wabi and Sabi style of the Japanese. With many world cities now facing increasing pluralization, the heteropolis is bound to become a major urban form of the future.
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