I think the map should have carried on the tradition of three islands. I lived in Los Angeles for awhile and the map simply just does not capture the essence of the sprawl. The different cities that make up the LA metro area include a wide range of atmospheres and I think this feeling could have been captured better if the city was divided between them. Los Angeles is not just a city, it's a metropolitan area that is comprised of many cities that have in time grown to the point the boundaries have become very fine lines.
It would have been set up like this.
Island 1: South LA, Compton, Long beach
[This would have been Franklin's island, where his character is fleshed out in a series of missions to solidify his past, as well as his vision of the future. These would include making contacts with gangland figures who could be used as backup, heist crew members, and also offer a canvas for some nostalgic SA freeroam content. The oceanside would be the location for the port and industrial area.]
Island 2: Downtown, Korea Town, Little Tokyo
[This is where things would have had to really change. This would be my ideal area to introduce Trevor's character. Rather than being a rendition of "redneck" trash living out in the boonies, Trevor could have been an alcoholic bum who lives in a downtown or E. LA sh*thole apartment. This area would be more dense, similar to Liberty City. This would have opened our possibilities up to involvement with some E. LA cholo's, Triads/Korean Mobsters, and Yakuza as well. All of these could have contributed to fleshing out the city of Los Santos' underworld, as well as be worked into the robbery plots. Trevor could have kept his backstory with Michael, and would have been easier to integrate into Franklin's story.]
Island 3: Hollywood, San Fernando, Santa Monica
[This is where it gets a bit classy. This would be Michael's part of town. Hollywood blvd, the grime covered in glitter. Could include a rendition of the PCH and Malibu. Could be blended into a less than lavish San Fernando Valley type area with the Armenian Mafia turf.]
The Islands could be divided by the LS river and some hilly terrain, so that we would not have to travel over water between them.
The airport could be on its own island somewhere, and there is no reason why the countryside couldn't exist a ways past the Vinewood sign, although not at the ridiculous scale it does on the real map. I don't think it would be missed if we had a bigger Los Santos to get lost in. I think that with a design similar to this, Los Santos would have had a more Los Angeles feel to it. The areas would have been able to maintain a more effective identity rather than meshing together in the space dedicated for the city to exist at the bottom of the map. As much as the countryside and Chiliad is an accomplishment, I'm not convinced that it was necessary or implemented well given the scope and focus of V.
This isn't to complain or say that V's map is mediocre. It is just to bring my vision of LS to the table, and possibly raise awareness as to what the ideal methods for conceptualizing a GTA city are.