Lots of European cities have green belts or natural features which prevented massive urban sprawl as in the USA. Beyond the green belts, Europeans live in commuter towns, which are similar to American suburbs, but not contiguous.
European countries developed more public transport partly because they were more socialist than the USA, and partly because public transport was already common, so existing networks simply had to be expanded.
1. the postwar housing crisis and baby boom led people to want housing outside of apartments 2. everyone's war bonds and GI Bill benefits paid out, causing everyone to have extra cash. Most people went out and bought homes 3. the idea of making a standardized neighborhood using processes similar to an assembly line (foundation poured one day, walls go up the next, etc) was novel and seen as the future (remember, this was the modernist age). This was America's equivalent to prefabricated commieblocks. 4. cities were hugely polluted, due to unrestricted coal use and leaded gas 5. everyone had cars now and the interstate system was built up to facilitate sprawl outside of established cities 6. land in these areas was cheap, and farmers were willing to sell to make a profit 7. counties wanted the new tax revenue from 100 residential units rather than 1 farmer 8. racial tensions were long a staple of US cities and whites wanted to get away from it 9. vets could get reduced-rate loans from banks 10. people wanted to "move up" and they did
Europe didn't because Europe was totally destroyed and people were too poor to afford cars or houses of their own. Europe is also physically smaller than the US.
American culture glorifies the power of the individual to shape his own destiny and create his own life, so in line with the idea of each individual's importance came the idea of each individual owning his own land and having his own dominion. This can be seen in Manifest Destiny, with so many common Americans getting so much land, in how individual Americans were the first to really use cars on a mass scale rather than just improving public transit, and in the creation of suburbs, as a sort of miniature form of the idea of every man can own his own land.
The ripping up of Street Trams is one of the great tragedies of 20th Century urban life in America, and had knock on consequences in parts of Europe as well.
A city that you can't travel around via public transport is A) The bane of the working classes and B) To the detriment of a city's tourism appeal.
Thankfully in the west we're slowly undoing the lobbying work of the auto companies and reinvesting in public transport.
The absolute best cities to go to as a tourist, transport wise, are cities that have street trams/light rail and or subway equivalents that you can just hop on and off as required. Similar the best cities to work in are those that have strong public transport, as they allow the workers to pump their earnings back into commodities the city itself can provide rather than cars and oil were the profits don't really stick around.
I live in a western country with pretty bad public transport and I'm extremely jelly of German cities and their light rail/tram capacities. I lived in Calgary, Western Canada for a while and man was their light rail a time saver and an expense saver. I was there as a student and I never had to pay once for transport on it, which made an absolutely huge difference to me.
>>587784 It could even be argued that public transportation actually severely regressed in Europe in favor of individual cars after the second world war. The number of trams, short distance train lines, small bus lines etc which disappeared after the second world war is quite staggering in some large cities.
The problem with OP's image is the complete lack of greenery other than grass. Filling all of those lots with trees and shrubs would make it more appealing from the air and between homes because now you don't have to see another house but your own little garden.
>>587679 You had much greater wealth after WW2 so private property and car ownership was way more common than in europe. Given the abysymal state of your infrastructure, the ecological consequences and the situation that now lower income families can't afford this anymore the development wasn't sustainable.
Also: Look at germany, a well developed interstate system and a high social desire for house ownership (look up shit like Bausparvertrag etc). If i am not mistaken american have more houses and cars (germany has better public transportation tho).
> Is it because of the greater freedom and wealth in American society?
No. its because the US has, and had, vast swathes of undeveloped land which made suburban building cheaper and preferable, while europe had compact cities which have been slowly expanded for a thousand years, which made urban rebuilding after the ruins of war far more popular.
Also, europe is far more inclined to go for these dangerous and terrifying concepts like public transport that were a gateway drug to the red menace, in american's imaginations... hence the reliance on private transport.
there's also the economics of it - the US auto industry was ready and able to move to mass production of cars right after WW2, while european manufacturing had been bombed to fuck. therefore the US households could afford the cheaper products, while austerity in Europe lasted well into the 50's, and even the 60's in some ways.
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