Los Angeles, the heart of Southern California, is a world-class city that has grown remarkably since the beginning of the 20th century. Despite its lack of a natural harbor, it has become an important center for trade, agriculture, tourism and industry. It is known for its mild climate, extensive outdoor leisure and recreation, and the special aura of celebrity associated with Hollywood. The lifestyle of Los Angeles residents (who call themselves Angelenos) is based on cars, idealizes single-family housing and favors informality.
With notable exceptions, the horizon is mainly horizontal rather than vertical.Los Angeles is a place of extraordinary ethnic and racial diversity, largely due to immigration. It has suffered criticism from many detractors who refer to it as a relaxed “la-la” land or a place reeling from earthquakes, fires, smog, gang wars and riots. However, defenders of the city admire its temperate climate and geographical variety and claim that its main social problems are similar to those of all large cities and are perhaps even less serious there than elsewhere. People from at least 130 countries reside in Los Angeles County, including the largest populations in Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands.Los Angeles County is a region of thousands of square miles in Southern California, about the same size as Rhode Island.
It includes 88 cities (municipalities), with the largest being the city of Los Angeles. It is a major freight and rail transportation hub due to its port facilities. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides light rail, subway (heavy rail) and long-distance bus services. Union Station is also the main hub for the Metrolink commuter train which serves much of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.The Los Angeles County Office of Education plays a role in supporting school districts in the area.
Caltrans has installed real-time traffic speed sensors on most interstate highways in the greater Los Angeles area. Unlike the largest city in the United States, New York, the entire city of Los Angeles and most of its major suburbs are within a single county. This makes the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with approximately 1.8 cars per household, the most populous urban sprawl by cars in the world.Before the 1870s, Los Angeles County was divided into municipalities, many of which were mergers of one or more old ranches. The State cases are appealed to the Second District Court of Appeals which is based at the Civic Center and then to the California Supreme Court which is based in San Francisco but also hears arguments in Los Angeles (again at the Civic Center).