Edge City is the name of the fictional L.A. suburb where Otto returns home to find that his parents have given their money to a televangelist in the 1983 film “Repo Man”. The term “edge city” was coined by Joel Garreau to describe the sprawling, decentralized cities-within cities, removed from urban culture and troubles. The condescension and condemnation implied by “edge city” seems over-harsh and glib. As these settlements age, their deepening patinas seem to hint at hidden, archaic origins.

Edge City sounds as if it wants to be wistful, like “Fat City”, but maybe it would mean a place is really near the fringe, or that a person is stressed out: “He is totally edge city,” or: “I am in edge city right now with this gridlock!” The combination of the words “edge” and “city” seems counter to the banality the phrase “edge city” is meant to imply. “Edge city” should mean something mysterious—dangerous, perhaps. More The Ice Storm, less “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” “Repo Man”, not “The ‘Burbs.” “The Goonies”, not “The Sandlot”. Danger, not escape.

 

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