Department of Geography
On August 8, 1945 something happened in a large American city that would change forever the way it served as a place for people to live, work, and move about. It was on this day that the first representation of the hypothesized effects of an atomic bombing of Chicago was presented in map form to the residents of the city, creating a new genre of urban cartography – the “kill-zone” map, visualizing the effects of an attack that would occur in some unknowable future. Over the next decade these maps were to change in their horribly descriptive detail, consuming larger and larger bites of the city, until finally swallowing it nearly whole in several calibrated but nevertheless apocalyptic, imagined conflagrations. Less than two months after the end of WWII, congressman Leslie C. Arends (Republican-IL), (who had access to classified defense documents) stated that “at this very moment it is possible to drop or to propel atomic charges into our large cities so as conveniently to kill millions of inhabitants in one operation…” leading to the inevitable conclusion “that the most dangerous spots on earth are Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, and other large urban centers in this nation.” He went on to suggest that the only logical solution was to decentralize large cities and production centers. (Burd 1945).
- Designed to disperse new industry, not move established industry
- No region to be built up at the expense of another
- Industrial dispersion to be confined to local marketing areas
- Encouragement of dispersion to take place at all levels of government