Modern Mobility Aloft

Elevated Highways, Architecture, and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

Amy D. Finstein
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1918-7
Publication: Oct 20

HC: $115.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1917-0
Publication: Oct 20

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1919-4
Publication: Oct 20

304 pages
7 x 10
103 halftones, 12 maps

How American cities used elevated highways as major architectural statements about local growth and modernization before 1956


The construction of elevated highways in the pre-Interstate highway era not only was designed to be a cutting-edge solution to urban traffic congestion, but also asserted bold visions for civic pride and economic, architectural, and transportation modernity. Yet the stories of cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York show that the long-term implications of these elevated roads fell short of their utopian goals.

Modern Mobility Aloft is the first study to focus on pre-Interstate urban elevated highways within American architectural and urban history. Amy Finstein traces the idealistic roots of these superstructures, their contrasting realities once built, their significant impact on successive development patterns, and the recent challenges they have posed to contemporary urban designers.

Filled with more than 100 historic photographs and illustrations of Beaux Arts and art deco architecture, Modern Mobility Aloft provides a critical understanding of urban landscapes, transportation, and technological change as cities moved into the modern era.

About the Author(s)

Amy D. Finstein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.


In the Series

  • Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin

    The Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series, edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin, was founded by the late Zane L. Miller to publish books that examine past and contemporary cities, focusing on cultural and social issues. The editors seek proposals that analyze processes of urban change relevant to the future of cities and their metropolitan regions, and that examine urban and regional planning, environmental issues, and urban policy studies, thus contributing to ongoing debates.