One of the perennial complaints about LA in relation to other, older, cities, is that because of the lack of widely used public transit and public space, people live in isolating communities, rarely running into people outside their own milieu. But there are a few LA insititutions that defy this critique, one being the LA Auto Show. For a week and a half, starting today, the auto show serves as date night, family outing,  and teen hangout for Angelenos of every age and stripe (there is a kind of irony of this since it is car culture that has created the isolated LA lifestyle). For this reason, I love the auto show.

I also love the car porn – even as a lifelong bicycle commuter (after all, to paraphrase Dan Neil, driving is fun when you can choose to do it) — and look forward to the concept cars and debuts and oddball entries like this year’s three wheeled Morgan Hot Rod (show above). So in readiness for the Auto Show, we produced this DnA, which takes a look at some of the changes going on in car culture — from the the battery-turned-car-maker BYD (Build Your Dreams) and the Chinese quest to build a car industry (see Chao Feng, in picture right, a Mainland China’s first student to attend the automotive design department at Art Center College of Design), to the appearance in Los Angeles of the automated parking garage. These new robotic parking valet systems signal not only of the rise of robotics in our daily lives but also how the densification of LA means a decline in the sprawling parking garages and lots that have defined our region. I hope you’ll enjoy the show — and the LA Auto Show.

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