Outspreading Cities

December 9, 1953

Report Outline
Expanding Orbits of American Cities
Dispersal for Safety in War
Municipal Problems Raised by Dispersion

Centrifugal and centripetal forces, operating simultaneously, have created complex problems for virtually all large American cities—problems to which no adequate solutions have yet been found. On the one hand, population, business and industry are spreading out over the countryside, far beyond city limits. On the other hand, the central sections of cities are becoming steadily more congested and a principal contributing factor is the daily influx of people and automobiles from surrounding territory. Added to the problems raised by movements of population and economic activity beyond the reach of the municipal tax collector is the almost insoluble problem of protecting cities against attack from the air.

The great concentrations of population and productive facilities in such metropolitan centers as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee have been called “sitting ducks for atomic bombs.” The congressional Joint Committee on the Economic Report warned two years ago:

The economy of the United States is facing, for the first time in modern history, the possibility of having to maintain industrial production under conditions of direct military action…. Since there is no known defense against the atomic bomb itself except space, dispersion is one of the first considerations for strategic safety of industrial facilities.

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