'The City': Urban Development Strategies From 1939

From Coronet Instructional Films: Insights into the problems of modern urban life from the Regional Planning Association of America ...

After contrasting an idyllic scene from an 18th-century town with the smog-filled slums of the 20th-century metropolis, this film short offers a solution for the modern American city: urban sprawl. Urbanization, with its smokey factories ("smoke makes prosperity, they say") and crowded tenements offers Americans a lesser quality of life than they had in quainter times. The answer: highways and suburban housing developments.


Seventy-two years after the RPAA's plead for sprawl, Edward Glaeser argues, in the current issue of The Atlantic that it's upward growth, rather than outward, that might be the answer.

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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