The city in the land of the dollarPresentation Transcript
The City in the Land of the Dollar Guy Heffernan
Why Are Our City’s Different Than Europe’s
During the latter part of the 1800’s, through the mid 1900’s, there was a large migration of immigrants to America.
Many of these people were skilled laborers from the “Old Country” looking for jobs and a new life.
At that time, these people headed toward the city factories, and industrial areas, usually located in the downtown areas.
This was a period during the industrial revolution, and the U.S. was a fairly new country, compared to Europe’s much older city’s. These older city’s were built before the advent of steel, electricity, and the automobile.
The newer U.S. city’s took full advantage of the new industry to built steel frame skyscrapers, and build roads for all types of mass transportation.
The population of these U.S. city’s grew rapidly and the price of land around these city hubs skyrocketed.
Now we could use structural steel and start building up instead of out, saving both money and space.
Some city planners saw this as a problem, all concrete and no greenery.
The famous city planner Frederick Law Olmsted, impressed by European city’s design, purposed a new design for Chicago’s congested center, with parks linked by wide parkways and lots of open space. This would rescue people from their “gridded lives’. “These parks are not conceived of as urban gardens but as large chunks of healthy natural landscape”.
In 1893 Mr. Olmsted designed the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Near downtown, people could walk around pools, enjoy the lake view, landscaping, and art, like going to Europe. This was known as “White City”.
White City offered Americans a new model, and several city centers were constructed in this “Classical” style.
“ City Beautiful "emerged in 1900 as a slogan for urban improvement. What was needed was a Civic Center, built in the “Classical” style. This would also encompass the American railroad stations.
And in some city’s, they did build Civic Centers in this style, but where land values are high, control over development was essentially impossible. The public seemed to like their skyscrapers.
In the land of the dollar, the city profitable replaced the city beautiful. A profitable city was to be as little regulated as possible.
It turned out to be a money thing, and the grid was back.