The great cities of Europe, long abuilding, were at once centers of political, commercial, ecclesiastical, and miltary power, and they showed it not just in their finely grained urban fabrics - their plazas, forecourts, esplanades, and galleries - but in the overarching civic consciousness with which buildings and spaces were tied together as an organic whole, reflecting the idea of civilization as a spiritual enterprise.
American cities flourished almost solely as centers for business, and they showed it. Americans omitted to build the ceremonial spaces and public structures that these other functions might have called for. What business required was offices, factories, housing for workers, and little else. Beyond advertising itself, business had a limited interest in decorating the public realm. Profits were for partners and stockholders. Where architectural adornment occurred, it was largely concerned with the treatment of surfaces, not with the creation of public amenity. The use of the space itself, of the real estate, was a foregone conclusion: maximize the building lot, period.”