Here in the U.S., corporate influence does not just distort our laws: it distorts our land. The power of the petroleum and automobile industries is inscribed in our very topography, and recent decisions by Republican governors to scuttle federally-funded rail projects suggest that their power to warp the landscape remains as strong as their power to warp democracy. The two go hand in hand. … Our imaginations are likewise in chains: many Americans simply cannot imagine that their cities could be designed any differently than they are today. I experienced this last year when I spent the 2009–2010 academic year in Tampa, Florida, a city with no possibility of movement without the automobile.