How Cars Saved the Urban Environment
In 1898, delegates from across the globe gathered in New York City for the world’s ﬁrst international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure.
The horse was no newcomer on the urban scene. But by the late 1800s, the problem of horse pollution had reached unprecedented heights. The growth in the horse population was outstripping even the rapid rise in the number of human city dwellers. American cities were drowning in horse manure as well as other unpleasant byproducts of the era’s predominant mode of transportation: urine, ﬂies, congestion, carcasses, and trafﬁc accidents. Widespread cruelty to horses was a form of environmental degradation as well.