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January 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
January 2002, Vol. 92 (1), pp. 45-62
CELLULAR TOWER PROLIFERATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Thomas A. Wikle
Keywords: landscape aesthetics,
technology, telephone, wireless communication.
Since the early 1980s the growing popularity of cellular communication has wrought dramatic landscape changes on the American scene through an invasion of thousands of cellular telephone towers. Objections raised to new tower construction by local residents, interest groups, and regulatory boards range from visual impacts to perceived health risks. This essay traces the origins of wireless telephony, its proliferation across the United States, and the visual impacts associated with tower construction. Three stages in the geographical expansion of wireless networks are identified.