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Their Cities, and Ours

Working paper #374
Witold Rybczynski

The global city is a misnomer. Cities are shaped by local forces and national policies. For example, American cities, unlike their European counterparts, have experienced rapid growth as a result of national population growth. U.S. population grew by 74 percent compared with only 15 percent in the U.K and America has experienced internal mobility on a scale unknown in Europe Government transportation policies and technological initiatives have affected urban growth. More than half of American families owned a car by the mid-1920’s anticipating European ownership levels by forty years. The high rates of car ownership and plentiful vacant land have favored far-flung suburbs. The resemblances between American cities and cities around the globe are, and will remain, superficial.

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