There is a pigeon-topped, 32-and-a-half meter doughnut in Inglewood, California, which casts an unflinching gaze on the intersection of La Cienega and Manchester. The doughnut is three miles from LAX so 747s fly low overhead. The doughnut is across the street from the 405; the freeway's whirr-whoosh waxes and wanes, depending on traffic. Directly below the doughnut is a white mid-century modern drive-thru. On the tan, dappled doughnut are black letters: Randy's Donuts.

Now, a bit of history.

In 1971, English architecture critic Reyner Banham published Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, which proposed that the county was, rather than a unified whole, the combination of four "ecologies": Surfburbia (beachside towns), The Plains of Id (flatlands), Autopia (freeways), and Foothills (he was apparently at a loss for a clever fourth moniker). Enthusiastic as he was, Banham was somewhat unfamiliar with the county's socio-economic complexities, and the book vacillates between being inventive and utterly wrongheaded. Still, his central conceit that 1970s Los Angeles is a de-centered expanse was spot-on, and the idea of concurrent ecologies still resonates. The Los Angeles that Banham fell in love with is gone, but places with historicity remain. Like Randy's Donuts.