The demise of American Cities as an effect of Post-WWII affluence.

Essay by kingshortzHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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The affluent post-war America, which started in the cities, not only moved away from the cities, but also contributed heartily to their demise. The image and actuality of American cities was forever changed in this span of approximately one decade. It was the undoing of every good action taken towards improving our great cities. It was not solely the affluence of the time, but a multitude of reasons, including conformity and fear of those who were non-conformists.

The advent of mass media, including both radio and the newfound glory of television, gave a new perspective to the average person. With much newly earned leisure time, this cultivated an aura of conformity, as most people watched television and they were subject to being swayed by even a single thought. This conformity led to the "American Dream," a dream force fed to most Americans, of owning a home. Popular portrayals of this culminated into owning a home out in the suburbs, which took much interest away from the city.

Many moved, or planned to move, but the original focus was still on owning a home, even within city limits.

Federal policy had a distinct role in the shift off of cites. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) originally created maps of risk levels within major cities and outlying areas. These were given grades, similar to the ones given in schools, ranging from an "A" through a "D", complimented by surprisingly racist comments. These maps were marked based upon the discriminatory views of the mapmakers or of people with high influence. The apparent discrimination was not even attempted at being hidden. This practice was known as "Red-Lining." This crooked approach left most of the undesirables renting apartments or complexes in ridiculed areas. This racist attitude was just one more reason to leave the...