U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-13-2011, 02:01 PM
 
1,164 posts, read 1,744,915 times
Reputation: 789

Advertisements

If your population is spread out, it's harder to target with bombs. I don't think it's a coincidence that American cities emptied after European ones were destroyed in bombing raids.

It also seems to keep people safe from terrorism. A bomb, even a dirty bomb, going off in most American cities would affect but a handful of people. People are easier to kill en masse if they're densely packed. Very hard to do if they're spread over miles and miles and miles.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-13-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,904 posts, read 18,475,202 times
Reputation: 13738
No. Nuclear weapons made sure that it didn't really matter how close or far apart people lived. The famous quote from that era was "...I don't know what weapons World War 3 will be fought with, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones". In the minds of 50's planners, another war like WW2 meant the literal end of the world.

Sprawl started because people wanted to live on their own piece of land in the country with plently of space but still work in the city where all the good jobs were. Meanwhile, technology (autos and telephones especially) had conveniently evolved to the point it became not only feasable, but desireable and affordable to do just that. Finally, excess war capacity, undamaged by the war, was retooled and redirected into the consumer economy in the world's greatest "get rich quick" scheme. Jobs were made plentiful and people were able to come up with the cash to buy it all.

Over time, the whole thing snowballed out of control. People failed to think ahead and realize that if everyone moved to the country, it wouldn't be the country anymore. Wages stagnated and easy credit was made available to feed the frenzy. The frenzy itself was kept alive with saturation advertisement and cultural manipulation to keep the citizen... *ahem*... consumer always wanting more. That gave us the world we have today.

Last edited by Chango; 04-13-2011 at 03:32 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 12:08 AM
 
8,325 posts, read 14,080,241 times
Reputation: 4018
Sprawl started before World War II; the model for the postwar auto suburb was laid out in plans like Frank Lloyd Wright's "Usonian"/"Broadacre City" concepts, and Great Depression era design policies and Euclidean zoning. The racial exclusion covenants that kept most suburbs spotlessly white were already in place prior to World War II, as were FHA redlining policies.

There are some theorists who feel that some aspects of suburban life were exacerbated by World War II. Some writers think that Americans were eager to retreat into protective shells after the twin shocks of the Great Depression and World War II: a one-driver car to ride in, a suburban home where you never have to see the neighbors, enclosed suburban malls, all safe, inward-focused wombs. Americans wanted boring suburbs--the Depression and the war had given them enough excitement to last the rest of their lives. Of course, their children (the Boomers) responded to the culture of blandness with rock & roll and revolutionary rhetoric.

Population dispersal to limit the effects of nuclear war was used as an excuse, the same way that federal highway expenditures were justified as "defense highways" (even though they were never designed for that use, and a lot of standard military equipment of the era wouldn't fit under standard highway overpasses.) It was, at best, a justification for federal subsidy or another argument to sell the newly-standardized (and subsidized) consumer product--the postwar suburban home.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 12:32 AM
 
Location: USA
2,580 posts, read 3,439,492 times
Reputation: 2220
Interstate highways that were built in the 1950's were one reason for sprawl. They enabled people to travel at high speeds with no traffic signals, so a trip into the city from 20 miles out only would take 20 minutes instead of 45.

Racial discrimination was also very common up until the civil rights movement of the 60's. During WW2, a lot of black folks from the south moved up to cities in the north such as Detroit and Cleveland. There was a serious labor shortage in WW2 b/c just about all able-bodied men from 18 to almost 40 were off fighting in the war. Racial discrimination in hiring disappeared during WW2 b/c plants & factories needed workers badly, no matter what race they were. Once the war was over, the great majority of blacks stayed up north b/c it was a much more less oppressive place to live than back in the south. Middle class white people still didn't feel comfortable living near black, so they left for the suburbs.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, Placerville
2,445 posts, read 4,883,657 times
Reputation: 2112
Look up the GI Bill. It gave veterans housing allowances, living expenses and money for education. More importantly, government-backed loans to buy homes. Prior to this it was difficult to get a loan for a house unless you had a lot of wealth. By the early 50s builders caught on to this. People who had 20 acres adjacent to town decided to cash out and subdivide it. A few years later many places were in the middle of a massive housing boom. Especially those areas near military bases. Sacramento had two Air Force bases in the metro area and two more about 45 minutes away. There were several Army depots in the area, a Naval Communications center nearby and I think there was a magazine too, but I'm not sure. With all those military personnel came a demand for housing. If you drive from Downtown Sacramento you quickly go through housing built prior to 1900, then a few more through about 1920, quite a few from the late 20s to the 30s when the first suburbs were built out, a few craftsmen houses from the 40s, and then housing built during the 50s. Lots of them. I mean miles and miles of 50s housing. Flat-roofed Mid-Century shopping centers, apartment buildings and houses. Cedar-shake siding, 1000 sq ft ranch-bungalows with hip-roofs. Everything characteristic of the 50s and early 60s a long distance out. Then of course you get to the point where building took off again during subsequent economic cycles, but overall, the amount of building respective to population during the 50s would be hard to fathom if you couldn't see it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 06:48 PM
 
11,909 posts, read 14,390,999 times
Reputation: 7541
Not the sole cause by a long shot. But I know of several mission critical facilities that moved to the suburbs to avoid possible attacks. That may be a reason corporate offices followed, though it might have been to get closer to the CEOs home.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,030 posts, read 98,929,643 times
Reputation: 31481
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC6ZLV View Post
Look up the GI Bill. It gave veterans housing allowances, living expenses and money for education. More importantly, government-backed loans to buy homes. Prior to this it was difficult to get a loan for a house unless you had a lot of wealth. By the early 50s builders caught on to this. People who had 20 acres adjacent to town decided to cash out and subdivide it. A few years later many places were in the middle of a massive housing boom. Especially those areas near military bases. Sacramento had two Air Force bases in the metro area and two more about 45 minutes away. There were several Army depots in the area, a Naval Communications center nearby and I think there was a magazine too, but I'm not sure. With all those military personnel came a demand for housing. If you drive from Downtown Sacramento you quickly go through housing built prior to 1900, then a few more through about 1920, quite a few from the late 20s to the 30s when the first suburbs were built out, a few craftsmen houses from the 40s, and then housing built during the 50s. Lots of them. I mean miles and miles of 50s housing. Flat-roofed Mid-Century shopping centers, apartment buildings and houses. Cedar-shake siding, 1000 sq ft ranch-bungalows with hip-roofs. Everything characteristic of the 50s and early 60s a long distance out. Then of course you get to the point where building took off again during subsequent economic cycles, but overall, the amount of building respective to population during the 50s would be hard to fathom if you couldn't see it.
There was also the "Baby Boom", which was preceded by a "marriage boom". Lots of new households were being formed. People had to live somewhere.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2011, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, Placerville
2,445 posts, read 4,883,657 times
Reputation: 2112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
There was also the "Baby Boom", which was preceded by a "marriage boom". Lots of new households were being formed. People had to live somewhere.
All that is part of the Post-WWII growth. It was the first time in the history of this country that the majority of people could afford all this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2011, 12:12 AM
 
8,325 posts, read 14,080,241 times
Reputation: 4018
People had to live somewhere--but they did not *have* to live in car-centric, broadly dispersed neighborhoods. We could have just as easily built postwar neighborhoods the way we built prewar neighborhoods, with streetcar lines and smaller lots, and built just as many new homes, or Detroit could have built even faster high-speed trains than the sleek "California Zephyr" and "Super Chief," or more streamlined steel "PCC" streetcars to replace the aging wood streetcars of the postwar era, instead of replacing them with diesel buses and gasoline-powered cars. Federal subsidies could have been used to upgrade railroad and streetcar infrastructure instead of building freeways We could have fixed up our central cities instead of demolishing them with highway and urban renewal projects. We chose not to.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2011, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,223 posts, read 57,391,367 times
Reputation: 52084
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
We chose not to.
Sort of the way we as consumers chose to use microchips for personal computers instead of continuing to use adding machines and typewriters? Cars were new technology; they represented freedom and speed, two very prominent postwar priorities.

But if you want to go back to using a dialed telephone, you just go right ahead.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top