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The specific influence of thermonuclear weapons on urban systems and urban design has received little attention in urban studies despite the importance of the city, urban forms, and urban economics in strategic nuclear planning. In the 1960s, Yale political scientist Bernard Brodie calculated that cities of over 100,000 population were the only targets of sufficient economic value to justify the use of atomic weapons. Accordingly, the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union were aimed at cities, and the only use of nuclear weapons so far has been on cities: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August 1945.

Both economics and the physical form of the city figure in strategic nuclear planning. Hiroshima was selected, in part, because it is relatively flat for a ...

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