Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture, and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

In Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture, and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America, Amy Finstein reveals the utopian roots of elevated highway designs in the first half of the twentieth century, connecting built projects in New York, Chicago, and Boston to high-style and popular discourse about cities of the future. Finstein highlights New York’s role in this pattern, introducing us to the architects and sculptor responsible for the West Side Elevated Highway, who also were designing iconic Manhattan skyscrapers. Finstein will discuss how New York’s experience connects to a broader pattern of design that synthesized local concerns for economic vitality, urban movement, and architectural modernity via the sinewy forms of elevated highways.

Amy D. Finstein is an architectural and urban historian who teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at College of the Holy Cross. She has published previously in Journal of Planning HistoryPreservation Education and Research, and ARRIS: Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, and is a contributing author to the award-winning Atlas of Boston History (Chicago 2019). She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia.

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