Interstate system and car called top influence on cities

Real Estate Watch

January 09, 2000

The impact of the interstate highway system and the automobile topped a Fannie Mae Foundation survey that asked respondents to identify the top 10 influences on American cities in the last 50 years.

The survey elicited 149 responses from leading urban historians, planners and architects.

Rounding out the top 10 influences:

No. 2: Federal Housing Administration mortgage financing.

No. 3: Deindustrialization of central cities.

No. 4: Urban renewal: downtown redevelopment and public housing.

No. 5: Levittown and mass-produced suburban tract housing.

No. 6: Racial segregation and job discrimination in cities and suburbs.

No. 7: Enclosed shopping malls.

No. 8: Sun Belt-style sprawl.

No. 9: Air conditioning.

No. 10: Urban riots of the 1960s.

The respondents also answered that the growing disparities of wealth will be the most influential phenomenon affecting cities in the next 50 years.

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