At the turn of the last century the urban landscape featured smokestacks. We've got cell phone towers.
To be exact, according to this site, there are 117,562 cell phone towers in Chicago as of September 2005. And, once you've noticed one, you see them all.
It's like riding up the elevator with someone who's humming Yankee Doodle Dandy. You can't get the damn song out of your head three hours later. Nor can you get the cell phone towers out of your sight. They're everywhere. And, they're as ugly as Yankee Doodle Dandy is annoying.
An August 2005 Associated Press story quotes monthly payments for cell phone tower space rentals at $800 - $2000 and the number of cellphones in use nationwide at 190 million. That's a pretty easy-to-understand explanation of why these things proliferate regardless of the vistas they destroy. The market couldn't care less what they look like.
More thoughts and photos here on cell phone towers in our landscape by blogger Dan Bricklin.