How The Automobile Shaped the Urban Environment

How The Automobile Shaped the Urban Environment

“Los Angeles, with an automobile for every three persons, has achieved the unique distinction of being ‘the most thoroughly motorized city in this world.”- Rockwell Hunt, 1929

California is the world’s first “auto-civilization.” No form of transportation has had a greater impact on shaping the landscape of the Golden State than the automobile. Starting with the beginning of the 20th century, Southern California embraced a completely new way of life centered around the automobile.

California’s car-centric culture led to the development of new suburbs, urban freeways, stores and malls with parking lots, drive-in restaurants, traffic congestion and smog.

Los Angeles was forced to deal with auto pollution in the 1930s, and by the 1940s began to issue smog alerts. The Legislature addressed this rising problem with the Air Pollution Act in 1947 and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Act in 1961.

how autos shaped the urban environments

California State Capitol Museum – The Road Ahead Exhibit

This is a website specifically for the “The Road Ahead: The Automobile’s Impact on California” Exhibit. Dates: May 23, 2018 – April 29, 2019 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit