Louis Sullivan was the first architect to design and build skyscrapers, which were supported by industrial steel. He coined the phrase "Form follows function."
As America transitioned from a mostly agricultural society to an industrial one, workers began to acquire far greater wealth. Because people now had disposable income to spend, shopping centers, department stores, restaurants, and chain stores such as Frank W. Woolworth's "dimestores" popped up all over during the Progressive Era.
Innovative transportation systems were developed and widely adopted, heavily influencing typical Americans' day-to-day lifestyle.
City life markedly improved as professional police forces and firefighters were hired to keep people safe from crime and disaster.
All of these revolutionary improvements to urban cities brought pervasive consumerism and bred the American middle class. Industrialization made the United States' GDP skyrocket from $9.11 billion to $104.4 billion during the Progressive Era.
The mass migration of people into the cities enriched some people but caused severe problems for others. Lured by the promise of prosperity, many rural families and immigrants from throughout the world arrived in the cities to work in the factories. It is estimated that by 1904 one in three people living in the cities was close to starving to death. For many of the urban poor, living in the city resulted in a decreased quality of life. With few city services to rely upon, the working class lived daily with overcrowding, inadequate water facilities, unpaved streets, and disease. Lagging far behind the middle class, working class wages provided little more than subsistence living and few, if any, opportunities for movement out of the city slums.