Case Study Kobe Japan

Growing Cities

In 1920, for the first time in American history, more Americans lived in Towns and Cities than in the country.   Throughout the 1920’s cities were growing fast.   People flocked to then from all over America.   The growing city with its imposing skyline of skyscrapers was one of the most powerful symbols of 1920’s America.   In New York the skyscrapers were built because there was no more land available.   But even small cities where land was not in short supply wanted skyscrapers to announce to the country that they were sharing in the boom.


During the 1920’s the entertainment industry bloomed.   The average working week dropped from 47.4 to 44.2 hours so people had more leisure time.   Average wages rose by 11 per cent so workers had more disposable income.   A lot of this spare time and money was channelled into entertainment.
Louis Armstrong’s ‘Hot Five’, one of the best known
Jazz Bands of the 1920’s, photographed in 1926.


The cinema quickly discovered the selling power of sex.   The first cinema star to be sold on sex appeal was Theda Bara who without any acting talent, made a string of highly successful films with titles like Forbidden Path and When a woman sins.   Clara Bow was sold as the ‘It’ girl.   Everybody knew that ‘It’ meant ‘Sex’.   Hollywood turned out dozens of films a month about ‘It’ such as Up in Mapels room, Her purchase price and A shocking night.   Even male stars such as Rudolph Valentino were presented as sex symbols.   Women were said to faint at the very sight of him as a half naked Arab prince in The Sheik (1921)

The Car

The motorcar was one fact that tented to make all the features of the 1920’s mentioned above more possible.   It helped the cities grow by opening up the suburbs.   It carried its owners to and from their entertainments.   It carried boyfriends and girlfriends beyond the moral gaze of their parents.   It took Americans to an increasing range of...