Robert Moses

Robert Moses ( born December 18, 1888 in New Haven, † 29 July 1981 in West Islip, New York ) was an American urban planner. From the 1930s to 1968, he had immense influence on the destiny of New York City and its surrounding areas. He is considered one of the most influential city planner in history, and has often been compared with the Paris city planner Baron Haussmann.


Moses came from a family of German-Jewish immigrants. He studied political science at Yale University, at Wadham College, Oxford University and at Columbia University.

In the 1920s, he succeeded under Al Smith, the governor of the State of New York, the rise in the administration of the state. Under Smith reorganized and he modernized the organization of the state. As head of the Long Iceland State Park Commission, any created according to his ideas federal authority, he won with the construction of Jones Beach State Park on Long Iceland for the first time greater awareness. With Northern State Parkway, and Southern State Parkway, he began then to develop the system of parkways around New York City, continuing the standard for all subsequent planning of Parkways.

In the 1930s, the newly elected Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia took him to New York to head the newly formed City Parks Department and the Triborough Bridge Authority, with the execution of the Triborough Bridge was continued begun as early as 1929, a system of three separate bridges, Manhattan, Queens and Bronx connect. The Triborough Bridge Authority developed under Moses into an independent authority having issued its own bonds and financed by their toll revenues. This Moses was able to significantly expand its activities. He also worked on the planning of construction projects that have been funded under the New Deal, including numerous parks and ten big swimming pools in New York City. At times, he was also the head of twelve different organizations and controlled not only the Triborough Bridge Authority, but also for example the Department of Parks for New York City, the New York State Parks Council or the State New York Power Authority, which under his leadership built later named after him, Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station on the Niagara River. Up to 80,000 workers were temporarily employed simultaneously in its projects.

Moses was responsible for the urban planning of the World Expo, which took place in New York City in the years 1939 and 1964. He had a major role in ensuring that the United Nations took her seat in New York. In the years 1946 to 1959 he was responsible for social housing in the city. A total of about 28,000 residential units were built in this period, the vast majority of them in the way of site remediation with extensive demolition of old buildings. He also led the planning for the construction of the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Bronx - Whitestone Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge (both between the Bronx and Queens ), and the Verrazano -Narrows Bridge, Shea Stadium and Lincoln Center. Other projects included the urban motorways such as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Staten Iceland Expressway, the Cross - Bronx Expressway, the Belt Parkway and the Laurelton Parkway.

Moses supported in the 1940s to the 1960s, numerous city highways that were ultimately never built, including the Lower Manhattan Expressway and the Mid- Manhattan Expressway in New York and the Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway in New Orleans. As a result of these projects, the concept of car-friendly city was first criticized appreciable extent in these cities, as well as the destruction of historic districts. Large parts of Lower Manhattan, such as Greenwich Village, were at that time because of their old buildings and their chaotic usage and social structure as outdated and not worth preserving, for Moses, the destruction of historical monuments and intact neighborhoods were at best collateral damage.

Moses tried in the late 1930s to enforce the construction of another bridge in place of the 1950 completed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge approaches to this bridge would have to cut as Battery Park also intervened into the urban fabric of Lower Manhattan. It took the influence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to stop the project of building bridges, against the background that the bridge access to the base of the U.S. Navy Brooklyn Navy Yard could hamper.

Robert Moses had received on a regular basis after reaching the age limit exemptions for its further activity. But when he, as so often before, in 1962 offered his resignation to enforce his plans, Governor Nelson Rockefeller took his resignation to his great surprise for a number of positions. In 1968, the Triborough Bridge Authority was merged with the new Metropolitan Transportation Authority, after which the nearly 80 -year-old Moses had to retreat to a consultant post.

In 1974, Robert Caro published, an American author and journalist, the extensive biography The Power Broker. Caro consists largely critical is the lasting impact of Moses work on New York and other American cities apart.

Debate about the "Bridges of Moses "

Within the sociology of technology, there is an intense debate about the extent to which Moses with its bridges pursued socio-politically reprehensible goals. The author Langdon Winner According to Moses is said to have several bridges built deliberately particularly low in order to keep the predominantly colored underclass that was dependent on public transport such as buses, recreational areas. Subsequent studies, however, came to the conclusion that Moses ' designs are due less to possibly racist traits, but rather to the then prevalent planning maxim of car-friendly city.