Robert Moses

American urban planner (1888–1981)

Robert Moses (December 18, 1888 – July 29, 1981) was an American public official who worked mainly in the New York metropolitan area. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island. Although he was not a trained civil engineer, Moses's programs and designs influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners nationwide.

Robert Moses in 1939

Quotes edit

  • I raise my stein to the builder who can remove ghettos without removing people as I hail the chef who can make omelets without breaking eggs.
  • Those who can, build. Those who can't, criticize.
  • You can draw any kind of picture you want on a clean slate and indulge your every whim in the wilderness in laying out a New Delhi, Canberra, or Brasilia, but when you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.
    • Quoted in Robert Caro, The Power Broker (1974), p. 849

Quotes about Moses edit

  • Except for one old man, I’ve been unable to find anyone of technical competence who is for this so-called expressway. And this old man is a cantankerous, stubborn old man who has done many things which may have, in their time, been good for New York City. But I think it is time for this stubborn old man to realize that too many of his dreams turn out to be nightmares for the city. And this board must realize that if it does not kill this stupid example of bad city planning, that the stench of it will haunt them and this great city for many years to come.
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro is the most inspirational book I've ever read on the subject of transportation and urban planning …but I lived in New York City and knew many of the places and people he was talking about. I'm not sure if it would be as inspirational to others. The book won a Pulitzer Prize when it came out in the 1970s. Caro was a newspaper reporter who wanted to write a book about political power– how it was obtained and wielded and what role agencies played in government. In describing the life of Robert Moses, a highway builder, unelected state bureaucrat and creator of the modern “highway department,” Caro was able to describe (in a microcosm) the transportation and political history of America. Another great book is Ivan Illich's “Energy and Equity.”

External links edit

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