Robert Moses

Robert Moses (December 18, 1888 – July 29, 1981) was the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, New York. As the shaper of a modern city, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban planning in the United States. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation. One of his major contributions to urban planning was New York's large parkway network.

Moses was never elected to public office. He was responsible for the creation and leadership of numerous public authorities which he could control without having to answer to the general public or to elected officials. It is due to Moses that New York state has a greater proportion of public benefit corporations than any other US state, making them prime mode of infrastructure building and maintenance in New York, accounting for 90% of the state's debt. As head of various authorities, he controlled millions in income from his projects' revenue generation, such as tolls, and he had the power to issue bonds to borrow vast sums, allowing him to initiate new ventures with little or no approval from legislative bodies. This allowed him to bypass the usual power of the purse as it normally functioned in the United States, and the process of citizen comment on major public works.

Moses's projects were considered by many to be necessary for the region's development after being hit hard by the Great Depression. During the height of his powers, New York City participated in the construction of two huge World's Fairs: one in 1939 and the other in 1964. Moses was also in large part responsible for the United Nations' decision to headquarter in Manhattan, as opposed to Philadelphia, by helping the state secure the money and land needed for the project.

His supporters believe he made the city viable for the 21st century by building an infrastructure that most people wanted and that has endured. His achievements in urban planning, design, and infrastructure have influenced urban planning in cities throughout the United States.

Read more about Robert Moses:  Early Life and Rise To Power, Influence, Triborough Bridge, Brooklyn Battery Bridge, Post-war City Planning, Car Culture, Brooklyn Dodgers, End of The Moses Era, The Power Broker, Death, Criticism, Legacy and Lasting Impact

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