Place: Medialab-Prado en Intermediae Matadero Madrid (Paseo de la Chopera, 14 Madrid)
Lecture by Tiago Saraiva, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon & University of California, Berkeley, within the framework of the The City Open Interface Conference held at Medialab-Prado on July 5 and 6, 2012.
"When thinking about a Californian model globally exportable one tends to consider the many versions of Silicon Valley scattered around the world and the multiple examples of attempts to emulate the unique innovation environment of the Bay Area. This paper follows the oranges’ trail in tracing an earlier version of global California based on converting traditional farmers into innovative horticulturalists organized in cooperatives producing commodities for world markets. It starts by exploring the role of oranges in selling Los Angeles internationally as a new Mediterranean Eden in the first decades of the twentieth century, making the case for considering the tight connections between urban sprawl and citrus cooperatives. As an alternative to car centered stories, it takes the orange orchard as central element in the narrative of the emergence of the paradigmatic American horizontal city. University of California (UC) scientists, both as genetics researchers and cooperative managers, took an important part as producers and keepers of this new standardized urban landscape.
The citrus cooperatives which constituted the economic backbone of Southern California till the 1930s were emulated not only in the new Mediterranean being cultivated in South Africa or Australia, but also in the old Mediterranean namely in Palestine, Algeria and Spain. In each case it is possible to track the decisive role of scientific standards in establishing the cooperatives. Based on the trajectories of UC geneticists and their scientific artifacts, the paper intends to highlight the transnational nature of the cooperative experience across a new global Mediterranean."