H ie Way Forward
On 27 October 1993, the 18-storey Dunes neon sign in Las Vegas was demolished. It was still functional and with careful maintenance could conceivably have continued to operate for some years (let us put on one side for the moment that it was consuming large quantities of electricity wastefully). In terms of the driving force of urban development in Las Vegas, however, it had to give way to more profitable structures. Steve Wynn, the proprietor of the Mirage and Treasure Island hotels, wished to create a super resort on the site, with lakes big enough for jet skiing. Las Vegas is continually being destroyed and recreated in order to increase the flow of tourists through the city. The most obvious physical manifestation of this is the themed hotel, one of the latest being ‘New York New York5. It has over 2000 beds and is a mini replica of New York, with one-third size skyscrapers, a Statue of Liberty and a Brooklyn Bridge over a mini East River. Some of the tourists who stay there will presumably be from New York, who could gamble at home and see the real thing. Other themed hotels include pyramids from Ancient Egypt, castles from Arthurian England and a galleon that sinks into the ocean several times a day. In conventional accounting terms, these developments are immensely profitable and Las Vegas is the most rapidly growing urban area in the United States.