Syngenta Photography Award: Open Competition
Category: General Category
Photographer: Noritaka Minami
Address: 2800 Manor Lane Unit A, Park Ridge, IL, 60068, United States of America
Location: California City, California
Year taken: 2016
Image caption: This photograph is from an ongoing series on California City, California, a master planned community in the Mojave Desert conceived by Columbia University trained sociologist turned real estate developer Nathan K. Mendelsohn in the 1950s. The city was intended to become the next major metropolis in California in response to the unprecedented population and economic growths the state experienced following World War II. Mendelsohn and his associates carefully designed the layout of 186.5 square miles of land that is still technically the third largest city in the state in terms of area size. However, most of Mendelsohn’s vision for a “water-rich” city has not been realized to date. The “second community” section of California City is largely uninhabited, despite having an extensive network of boulevards, streets, and cul-de-scas that stretch across the landscape. These photographs capture the scale of the vision Mendelson projected onto the desert and the unintended legacy that remains on landscape. This history what was supposed to become a “water-rich” city is especially significant in light of climate change and the drought that the American West Coast has experienced in recent years.