Originally instituted simply as restrictive legislation with no aesthetic aims, in the 1920s zoning became the principal inspiration behind a new style in skyscraper design and a new vision of the modern metropolis. After reviewing the specific influence and importance of the New York City zoning law of 1916, the country's landmark legislation, the article examines the commentary on zoning in the architectural press, focusing in particular on the predictions of the law's impact on the morphology of the future city. Previous scholarship has treated the history of zoning in a negative light and has ignored its relationship to visionary ideas. Yet in the many prophecies of a rationalized skyscraper city that were advanced in the 1920s, we can preview the birth of what many architects and critics of the period excitedly pronounced a new era in American architecture and urbanism.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.