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Object Timeline

1966

  • Work on this object began.

2017

  • We acquired this object.

  • You found it!

  • We photographed this object.

Drawing, City System, 1966

This is a Drawing. It was designed by George Lawson. It is dated 1966 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is pen and ink, graphite on white paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In the 1960s, after a career designing automobiles for General Motors and American Motors Corporation, industrial designer George Lawson focused his attention on freelance designs and independent projects. This group of five drawings is part of Lawson’s proposal for Hub Cities, a radical design proposition that envisioned a restructuring of city systems across the United States to create better living through less densely-populated cities and safer, more efficient transportation.
Lawson’s utopian vision of better city living required a network of Hub Cities to be built across the country, each accommodating 50,000 residents and their sites of employment. For the ease of construction, Hub Cities would feature mass-produced and pre-fabricated buildings that could be implemented in a similar plan in a range of geographic sites. A building at the city’s center would house all utility and service offices, commercial retailers, and business offices. Perhaps most importantly, the central building would also house a parking lot for private cars and a marshalling yard for all subsurface transportation equipment.
Lawson considered congested traffic to be one of the most inconvenient problems of city living, and his innovative Mini-Max cars could safely transport one or two drivers traveling short distances—the small cars could easily be rounded up and returned to the center via double-decker buses or “tug and transit car platoons.” Industrial areas in Lawson’s Hub Cities were located at peripheral boundaries in order to eliminate any industrial waste from entering the city and to keep the streets safer by removing large and heavy motor vehicles from surface streets.
Lawson’s drawings present an important example of urban planning and a proposed design solution for the growing number of people, cars, and drivers in the United States. These issues and their consequences have become increasingly important to contemporary urban planners and designers.

This object was donated by Paul Herzan and Alexandra Herzan and catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Gift of Alexandra and Paul Herzan.

Its dimensions are

36.2 × 71.8 cm (14 1/4 × 28 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, City System, 1966; Designed by George Lawson (American, 1907 - 1987); pen and ink, graphite on white paper; 36.2 × 71.8 cm (14 1/4 × 28 1/4 in.); Gift of Alexandra and Paul Herzan; 2017-27-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108806881/ |title=Drawing, City System, 1966 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 October 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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