Broadacre City: introduction

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Wright sketched several pictures of Broadacre City, and with his students built a large model showing what a typical area might be like. Some views can be found on the web through Google's image search.

Frank Lloyd Wright developed his Broadacre City proposals in several versions over several decades. He presented his ideas in lectures and articles, and in several books. The most effective presentations of his ideas used pictures of a large model created by his students.

Wright's proposals stemmed from his analysis of the effect of new transportation and communication technologies. He relied on notions of the modern and the American character as inherently democratic and individualist. Wright also urged economic reforms that were being suggested by others at the time, attacking centralized credit systems, and emphasizing freehold land as providing opportunities for individual development and financial credit.

Although they are often treated as historical curiosities, or criticized as ancestors of vicious sprawl, Wright's ideas attracted considerable attention at the time.

Perhaps the strongest support was a petition sent to Washington, D.C., in 1943 urging the Roosevelt Administration to adopt in principle the concept of Broadacre City and to authorize Wright to develop it in practice. The petition was signed by sixty-four important sympathizers, including John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Archibald MacLeish, Nelson Rockefeller, and Robert Moses. Grabow 1977, 118