Race Rebuilding and the Renewal of Life
An honor and pleasure. To address this group.
Which is making so forthright courageous and positive a contribution to our city and region. You are fighting the good fight. Against the negative forces which remain uncontrolled in our society.
And all who care about the future of San Francisco and the bay region all who care about the future of the nation and the world. Must admire and support your efforts and wish you well.
Having said this I hope you'll forgive me if I state at the outset that my chief purpose in speaking here tonight. Indeed one of my chief purposes. Both as a citizen and a student of cities is to call for the abolition of where the organizations such as yours. I hereby moves that the council for civic unity be discounted. With this proviso. A rather large proviso. That forced. The primitive social conditions which have caused the council to be established and which are now outrage to all thoughtful people today be abolished all sell as quickly as possible. Few things would pretty please me more up than to know that the council had lost all reason for existence.
And could thus become a historical memento. On the order of those long vanished societies of irate. Old ladies who. Armed with bustles and umbrellas. Once battled against an apparently unchangeable status quo. In order to achieve a fundamental civil right for the oppressed the sifter is troublesome. Some times downright can tank gris pariah group. And.
That civil right was the vote and the people discriminated against I suppose. You can't describe them as a defenseless monarchy. Where the women of the United States. If I express the hope then. That before another generation has passed. The council for civic unity like the suffragette. Will have disbanded in triumph. And its members liberated on the evenings such as this to read Plato or build a boat and knit or. Create nonobjective paintings whatever people are supposed to do in a utopia. If I express the hope that you'd be doing such things generation from now. I trust you will not dismiss me as a soft headed dreamy aesthetician as I was schooled by a certain suburban newspaper. During the controversy of the San Mateo Bridge. Paper shall be nameless but perhaps I should note. That it is published in an almost totally white suburb. Which prides itself on its civilized qualities. But in fact its elected representatives have opposed virtually every positive innovation. Said to rapid transit. Which would help make this part of the world a truly civilized community. But just as surely as the San Mateo Bridge was redesigned after public opinion was a rose to the ugly original design. So to that suburb shall eventually be redesigned. Socially an architectural lid on organic principles. Not only must it be integrated racially but it also must become an integrated part of our regional city at The Beg. And assume that share of the urban responsibilities that the suburb suburbs thus far. Together with San Francisco itself. Have thus far foolishly evaded.
The task of achieving such integration on all fronts. Is staggering. But we are losing control of our environment physically as well as spiritually. Just as we have all but lost control of our armaments and now face the danger of thermonuclear war. A segregated suburb. With the smoke listen electronic pints may be seen in a new context today. Perhaps it is not an American dream of pleasant houses green lawns secure marriages and solid bank account. But in fact a war oriented community whose wage earners commute not to offices in downtown San Francisco. But to the pretty factories beside the bay. That on March the committed 40 percent of our economy to water production of one kind or another. This is NOT believe me aname list aggression on my part but rather a sober appraisal of real conditions. Which can be seen better in California. Than in most other areas in the United States. And this is a state that has also want to only despoiled. And soon may totally destroy a priceless natural heritage. We have poisoned the bay we've put ice in the atmosphere. We have allowed ungoverned suburban expansion to poison the landscape. And at the center of all suffering from these toxic developments the core city San Francisco exudes poisons of its own. And San Francisco can be seen by anyone who cares to look as gravely ill. We're all should be water wealth and calm. There's disorder widespread poverty. And unrest and all the symptoms indicate that these social maladies which afflict us except in a. Few limited areas. Are growing worse. If we study them carefully it's not that we look like doctors and medicines because billions are being spent on new construction. On what is to euphemistically called Urban Renewal and planning. But the patient almost preferred perversely refuses to get well. Is it because we're using the wrong medicine in the wrong dosages. Is it that some of the physicians are really carriers of the disease. Let me speak in this connection of the freeways we tramped through our cities mutilating urban character and denying human values as can be seen here where we are cut off from the bay. One of our chief unhide Smiths of life. By the monstrous structure on the Embarcadero. Such constructivist follies would not appear to have much to do with racial problems as such with segregation. But I believe there is a close relationship much closer than is generally assume. Between the social anesthesia. Which permitted a brutal freeway to run through Oakland recently and the hardship of the negro Carpenter who is the press revealed this week was not permitted to work on its construction even though 15 white carpenters were hired during the time he applied for the job. And there was a close relationship between the phantasmagorical ugliness of Highway 40 as it runs through Maryland. One of the ugliest roads in the world.
Blind as it is with the same visual power is that line El Camino Real which once was beautiful. There's a connection between that ugliness and the refusal of the owners of it's a realistic roadside restrooms to their refusal to serve nonwhite paid for it. Therefore when I speak of renewal and civic unity.
I shall discuss these terms in much broader context than is common today and I shall also contend that we must strive for renewal and unity on a much more ambitious scale than most Americans consider feasible today. True civic unity goes far beyond your admirable desire to establish a night. At the council's credo equality of right and opportunity without regard to race religion or ancestry. True unity in fact can be achieved by nothing less than a profound and far reaching renewal of life throughout the whole of our disunified society. Many of you will recognise this noble phrase the renewal of life. It is of course Lewis Mumford and those of you who've heard him speak out during his recent stay in the Bay region. While he was visiting professor at Berkeley. Will know how eloquently he has reiterated this theme. That spiritual renewal is inseparable from the physical renewal of the environment. First Mr. Mumford has said we must recover our human center. Or else of this flu fruitless to try to fly to the moon. For a lie cause minorities on a TV Terra show we make life backward and see the world is no longer there. Now. This great tradition on. This great humanist tradition of man such as Mumford Antrix Katy's William Aristide goes back to John Ruskin in the 19th century must be joined to the fine tactical struggle that you are waging in the council. The two should be integrated I think integrated is the only word that can be used here. For if your tactics can be integrated with grand strategy for the whole environment the results may be beyond imagining. We may have such an outburst of creativity Mr. Mumford is predicted that the Renaissance in comparison will have seemed like a stillbirth. Yet this means that the entire environment spiritual and physical. Must be healed of its present maladies including its pathological drive toward war. Only then can it become in the strictest sense wholesome that is conducive to moral well-being and health. It must be an environment. Which will serve the whole world community. Mankind at large in San Francisco is Dr. Dox the artist. Said last week or two weeks ago the spare meeting is going to be linked more than ever with a ship from the rest of the world to the coming generation. And thus it may help the individual man to be whole and creative. And to do this as I say we must start thinking on a new scale and perhaps the scale was best described by the late Benton MacKaye founder of the Appalachian Trail and a great toiler in the vineyard of renewables. To reduce traffic congestion in Times Square.
He said we should perhaps reroute the flow of wheat through the Atlantic for us and at the same time of course we should have to rebuild one out of every 10 dwelling units and one out of every 10 classrooms which the last census revealed were to laugh the TD or otherwise a satisfactory one out of 10 of both in San Francisco one out of eight housing units lacks one of three things either hot running water and inside toilets water. Or shallow one out of 8 1 out of 12 in California.
And then. In another step forward. We might industrialize our building industry so that hundreds of thousands of useful structures might be produced by assembly line method says the automobile industry. So Badly produces cars today. In other words we must live up to the potentialities of our industrial civilization and we must make it the first truly humane civilization in history.
We have never had to do that yet.
Given the complexity of industrial civilization and the unprecedented speed of its development during the last two centuries profound disruption of traditional patterns of human life. Have perhaps been inevitable. Consider for example the influx of Chinese laborers in the 1860s to build the transcontinental railroad. Well the equally portentous transfer of thousands tens of thousands hundreds of thousands of workers from the American South. Both white and Negro to the bay region during the last war when our shipyards and other industrial facilities required unlimited manpower. This transfer of population from the comparatively static south. To expanding regions such as California is still gaining momentum. But in both cases of the influx of the Chinese a century ago the influx of Southern Americans California in recent years. In both cases industrial technology was myth mixed inextricably with great events in human affairs. Conducted on Nash. Will an international plane. These must be recognized as mass movements of population in which Continental and oceanic distances were involved. Now sometimes the humans have flourished in their new surroundings or if they haven't flourished they have at least found the surroundings preferable to those they left which. Usually were fairly bad. Occasion I hear the argument that the immigrant from Alabama Larch miserably in the Fillmore district yearns for the bucolic bliss of his five acres that he sharecropped with a mule. I don't see that ima going to bother to read it. Trace his path no more than the Jew did who came to the Manhattan ghetto from a primitive Russian village at the turn of the century where the Irishman who even earlier.
Came to Boston during the potato famine. These changes for the better and for worse. For whatever reason people came are irrevocable. The transfer from my pre industrial to an industrial environment.
Even for those who elect to stay in retarded places such as the South. Which eventually will be fully industrialized too is in every case permanent. And industrialization is the key I believe throughout the world and it has much to do. With great changes and pressures on populations. But often the new arrivals when they arrive to the industrial plants part of the world have been personally maltreated have suffered pseudo legal inequities and economic privation have been compelled to live in slovenly hobbles which as in the case of the Pioneer Chinese in California could not even be described as slum house in today's terms. On occasion here in California. They have been brutal unpunished killings even full fledged massacres.
Of for example the SAC of the Chinese community. The Los Angeles Chinatown during the hysteria of 1871 when twenty two persons were killed by a mob. If you find the statistic harrowing. Consider the mass extermination the California Indians and the theft of their lands. They too may be regarded as victims innocent victims of the. In Kuwait expansion of industrial civilization. The uncontrolled nature of that suspension. Which is unchecked I believe throughout the world. Affects gigantic populations and it is. In this context too that I regard the mass expulsion of Japanese Americans to relocation camps. Shall I be more precise and call them concentration camps during World War 2.
I too am on these happy facts because at a time when the negro. Bear the heaviest brunt of racial discrimination in the state. It is worth recalling the hardships of other nonwhite communities. Some of those hardships are quite recent. Such historical perspective is necessary. For an office evident if not clear explanations of certain decisive gains made by the Oriental community since 1945. And particularly in the last few years.
These have not been merely in regard to housing but throughout the social fabric not least in our professional environmental activity. We now have distinguished architects landscape architects. Architects and planners of Oriental ancestry and they are far more numerous than the negroes who just meant stand to the field. We have seen the rise of Orientals in banks and other financial institutions. A key area as far as the environment is concerned. For the men who control credit today are the men who largely determine how and where we shall live.
This has never really been discussed in our society.
But the bankers. Stand behind the slums. And until this is exploited. To some degree we're going to have slums until the profit is taken out of slums. Till no one can make money on second mortgages cramming people ten times over into houses that were never meant for them until that day. Until there is proper legislation.
On making it impossible. To read these profits which are enormous. We shall have slumps. We still have hotel us and along Mission Street where last year. We had a cooling catastrophe. And this year we nearly had one. We just had one person died and 16 injured.
The owner of that hotel had been given till 1966 to fix up that hotel. This is a crime against the city. The officials responsible who gave the proprietor. Five years of grace for building that should be torn down today should be compelled to be more strict and to enforce the law which as it stands is a very good law.
If the housing code were merely being fools. If these people were compelled to clean up their properties. We would have quite a substantial improvement immediately.
I'm not the kind of person who wants to save every house from 1880. I'd really prefer to dynamite them all. I know this is substantial luck element in this community that finds them just to love.
Well they were nice places and they're still nice places if you can fix them up. But first you gotta get the exterminator san. And find out. How well different. And eliminate the burning. Please note in this city which is has this narcissistic infatuation with its Victorian past. You do hear.
That. This is fear of the future. It is in the strict sense of filestore an attitude which assumes the past can do better than the present.
And we know that in almost every department of. Our. Human society certainly in California there are people today more gifted more highly trained more genuinely able to create beautiful things than we've ever had before in the history of the state. They must be given a chance. And on a gigantic scale.
Now speaking as I am of the Oriental communities games. The most spectacular gain has surely been in the new facility with which Orientals. Find suitable housing according to their financial means and their personal tastes. The Sinful confinement imposed on the Chinese by the Pioneer community has been broken through. And. If we look at maps we can see the extent of that breakthrough. I would not be overestimated. And yet it's of the greatest possible significant. I'm not referring here to a very few special areas such as the Berkeley hills which are sparsely salted with nonwhite families including negroes. All in the upper income groups I'm not talking about. Such communities. Were particularly nice. I'm speaking of the map of San Francisco which is studied in the light of the 1950 and 1960 censuses shows unmistakably that although negroes remain effectively barred. From the most pleasant middle and lower middle class sections of the city. Other nonwhite groups meaning Orientals predominantly have been able to find some accommodation in those neighborhoods. You can see it on the Mac where everything was white. Usually when there are no non whites the map is shown by the Census Bureau in pure white in most areas there are few pockets pockets to be sure such as the end of the proceed of the marina next to the Presidio. But as Tom Rosen John King remarked in the fine census analysis they did for the council. The explanation for this expansion this disparagement of the Oriental community must come from factors this is what they said was come from factors other than economics because many negroes could not afford to live in those areas and do not. I believe want to explanation maybe Ventrue. Lot it besides largely in the differences in social behavior both real and imaginary differences which are widely held to exist between the negro and Oriental communities. The Oriental is usually considered according to General thought a more industrious sober and peaceable neighbor. His children are more easily welcomed as intellectually stimulating and conscientious schoolmates. The banker reckons him a better financial risk. Above all and this is the point I'm making. It's assumed to possess cultural stability of a semi mystical kind. For the anthropologists have written. Out that he has brought to California from the Orient strong and attractive social qualities carried over from an ancient culture whereas the negro forcibly uprooted from Africa then subjected to slavery and further brutalized in the post bellum south. He supposedly suffered a complete dislocation of cultural tradition and therefore is characterized by inherent instability. Before this liberal audience I should like to dispose of this last bit of socialist solitude in a radically critical manner. For without detracting for a moment from the present exemplary virtues of the Oriental community. History tells us that much of this is simply not truth as far as slavery is concerned. The Pioneer coolie labors on the railroad and in the mines have a status in many instances indistinguishable from slavery. As far as crime is concerned there was apparently no vice and few narcotics that could not be purchased in the Pioneer Chinatown. There were Tong wars before there were negro gang wars in San Francisco. Just as there was Sicilian blood feud and senseless Jewish Irish Polish on Gary and tribal violence if you might call it that in other slum communities because these have passed into history.
Then and now picture it.
The opium den. The gambling hell. The brawl of child prostitutes on now a charming aspect of California. We can go to the California Historical Society and see the prints of the times. Beautifully framed.
And their outstretched is ground founder of a famous California clan. With his ill implied how glad we ought to return to farm.
Yet such a criminal. If you wish to call it criminal activity was always a miniscule part a tiny part. Of all of these tumultuous immigrant community and it's a small part of the Negro community today.
Our national love affair with crime. Has led to a sensationalization in the press and TV. But I think we would do well to emphasize the positive virtues of people as people much more unites mankind than divides it. People must live and to live they must work. They must raise their children they must close them. They must house them. In an industrial society. We are all dependent on machines to an extent we sometimes scarcely realize. We all use the same electrical and water systems. We use the same mass produce soap and washing machines we see use the same electric shavers transistor radios cords and jet airplanes. We do not use them equally. For this is not truly an affluent society is John Galbraith seems to believe that his notion but rather as. Hamlet said of his Denmark. There is something rotten in the fact in this of these pursy time. And yet. And yet. Regarding the Negro population from the standpoint of liberal humanitarianism has its dangers. In a New York approach profile of a few weeks ago which I suggest that everyone here should read. The remarkable man who is in charge of dealing with juvenile gangs in New York City mystic UK Johnson. Expressed deep distrust of what he called liberal humanitarianism humanitarianism as such. Something people will never talk about and should Mr Johnson himself a Negro was quoted as saying is that a disproportionate percentage of the crimes in this country are committed by Negroes. This is confirmed by authorities such as Dean Loman University of California School of criminology. Self a great work for racial equality who was responsible for the integration. Of a swimming pools in Washington DC which let me tell you with a substantial achievement. Dan Lama is particularly concerned with juvenile crime. As we all should be and he points out that although non-whites constitute only one tenth of the population on. The marginal economic cultural forces under which they labored. I generate among them over one fifth of all the delinquency and youthful crime. So it's out of proportion and he adds that the nature of criminal acts change is far more brutal assault for example than there used to be. Now the reason for this. Has been long and says is that the people responsible for these anti-social acts as quote segregated isolated and hence unduly restricted in their participation in the broad free processes of community life. All thoughtful people of course agree. But the question remains. How can we end the segregation isolation and restriction. How can we make community life broad and free for all. How can we renewed life. Especially in the physical organization of our city. First. There. Is a human answer and it must come largely I believe for at least partly from the Negro community. But I would hope it came from the total community. We would all do well to adopt the same characters from Ignatius and students. Who is Martin Luther King has written on carrying forward a revolutionary a revolutionary destiny of a whole people. Consciously and deliberately. I would add they are carrying forward the revolutionary destiny of mankind at large. By enduring what they have in bus stations and at lunch counters and in the jails of the South. They are showing this world how political objectives may be one without violence. On the part of the objectors. And this is a lesson that most governments have yet to learn. Secondly. This great effort this human effort. Must be made part as I say of the broader social movement to cleanse the environment. We must end poverty for as Bernard Shaw said. What is wrong with the poor is poverty nothing more. But so long as we live in the cities we do we are all impoverished at least in contrast to what life could be if our compliments would only equal our capabilities. Now we have to adopt a new prophet program I believe not only for San Francisco but for every American city. If we look at the 1968 census which is an extremely valuable document we will see what happened in the city. Its total population declined to seven hundred forty thousand. But its Negro population increased greatly at the same time. So that we are confronted with the total loss of white population in the central city that is much higher than the total loss of population. Every American city every major American city is faced with this phenomenon. Certain American cities are in very grave trouble. As the outflux of whites becomes more and more pronounced and by paradox the worse situation at least that I've seen is in Washington D.C.. And this is part of the Melendez of Washington.
How much better Washington would be if it weren't the only city in the United States without a servant problem.
Here we have these people running the country with a proprietary interest in our welfare. Who all living it up on an obsolete social system. In a mean Southern town the nasty town in many respects. Beautiful city you know. And they have a city controlled by Dixiecrat Congressman. In which the juvenile delinquent. Can't even get to see a social worker. Not that I have great faith in social workers. But.
The simple solution is to clap him in. The bin.
He gets out he robs a gas station they clock him back in again.
The jails are expanding and incidentally the federal government is now giving much more attention careful attention they're very good architects designing their jails. God. I wish that our housing projects had some of this careful attention landscape.
One great prison is going to have very beautiful chapel on stand. By give a bought a very good. Architect in St. Louis and he said I thought the prisoner should have something cheerful to see as they march through those courtyards so they don't have shell roofs very triumph of engineering as they go in lockstep.
Down to the mess hall. The chapel. You know. Thank you dear.
This is part of the M.S. of our government. The mood of Washington. Here you have. These people running the government. A full generation behind equivalent educated people in the Bay region. Living in their pseudo colonial houses. And assuming that they are privileged to make decisions for the rest of us in matters of the environment. I would say they've done very badly. As a whole. And if these are the doctors I would prefer not to be treated. In many cases as far as environmental control is concerned Washington today is a city.
60 percent Negro. Inside the limits of the district. The public schools are 80 percent Negro. For these people send their children when they can afford private schools or mortgage themselves body and soul to private schools. And this is part of the mood of our national capital where laws are made. And then you go up to the genuine.
And if you think California subdivisions are bad you should see Fairfax Virginia here.
So from this emanates policy. And from New York the city totally out of control emanates policy. These are policy making city. And. They show us our capabilities what capabilities do we possess financially. Say. Well we can spend 48 billion dollars this year on on arms 25 billion on disposable packaging including those boxes that make you think you're getting more so than you're getting 12 billion for advertising. That's a total of 85 billion dollars that I just like you to consider as this year's expenditure for those items. This would be enough to clear every slum in the United States to provide every community with decent schools and libraries. And to build the numerable hospitals. You know our values are so confused that the drug industry for example is tremendous to spend seven hundred fifty million dollars annually to persuade doctors to recommend its products. This is more than the combined budgets of all the medical schools in the United States. So our values are wrong.
They need reinterpretation on a gigantic. Scale. A radical skid. Such as we haven't been giving much thought to.
But we must. For the cost of this absence of clear thinking is staggering.
And even though we're spending many hundreds of millions on new construction including about a billion this year for urban redevelopment projects against 85 billion of the other things. I think the figures I've cited will indicate how little is being done for the environment for the physical environment. In spite of the fact that the urban crisis is growing worse. Now there is nothing today to stop us from transferring this nation physically and spiritually perhaps into an Eden. Utopia is possible here and now and the machines make it possible. Its Utopia has been possible since the early days of the revolution when Edward Bellamy and looking backward nearly a century ago said all we had to do was to control rationally our machines our 19th century machines and they could produce enough for all of us. He thought that 19th century Boston could be changed into a sparkling metropolis. One look at Boston today. Shows how far remain we remain from reality. And considering US cities such as Boston cities gravely ill. I'm reminded not Matthew on old despairing words in Dover Beach where. He said We are here as on a darkling plain swept with confused a launch of struggle and flight. Where ignorant on these clash by night. In respect to urban renewal in general. This nation seems to me to be on just such a darkling plain. Great forces are blindly in action. And they're whirling within themselves. But as far as the nonwhite and especially the Negro is concerned. He's too often swept into the vortex of these forces. He's spun about wildly for a time he's relocated. That's the language of the redevelopment agency. It's written into the law we have to relocate these people. Well you meet a person in Chicago who's been relocated five times and he's like someone out of the trenches in the first world war he's having to shell shock troops should be retired for the duration. But he's left on the front. And usually he ends at the point in which he was swept up in the small stream in the first place where he started in a slump.
Eventually. He gets into public housing which I'll deal in a second but first I'll deal briefly with purely private developments. We have three types. Of. Construction going on today. Surely private development what is called public housing. And what is called urban redevelopment. Recent federal legislation. Now surely private developments are initiated of course and executed with private capital. And there are a few developers with a fairly advanced social attitude to strike for this one. The overwhelming majority of these speculative developers. Whose single philosophy is to buy cheap and sell dear. It is to cling to a tribe who did it know nothing policies in the face of every appeal to more reality and common decency. I have in mind and I don't mind naming them today messes Gaillard. Who have defaced large areas of the city with ten thousand houses. So far. We can trust to the task of building homes for 10000 people to these builders. And it's so far been ruthlessly segregated.
But moreover this housing is of the most undistinguished kind and recently Mr. McCarthy our city planner. Said This is a major breakthrough. Gellert finally hired an architect. To have. It.
Well. They're now going to work on the upper slopes of Twin Peaks where the whole city can see their work. He found it was mercifully.
The only answer for such people is stiff anti-bias housing legislation with stiff penalties. It has to have teeth in it. You have to hurt them with the only place they can be hurt with fine with theory.
Know most housing of the gallery type. Being Gellar Todd has. Been subjected in the sprawling suburbs. Sure there's wonderful new word invented for them called slurps. And the slurping and sation of the American environment is continuing utterly chaotic. A lot of money committed to this. Very few architects and other people involved. Just the I think they're called the suede shoe boys sometimes by pure chance. And. In a recent Chronicle article I called upon both gotten a Brown and Mr Nixon to commit themselves on slurping to say oh that's father both been remarkably taciturn.
And Mr Coleman man has great political wisdom has given me an idea. Write write down all the time. Let them know that this is a book. I don't think they understand.
But I believe that hundreds of thousands of votes are involved by people who are sick of this. And who realize that the spreading all white slur is directly connected. With the festering all negro slum. They are one thing and until they are treated as one thing. With the full force of the economy and the full force of our politics we're going to be in trouble.
Now quite apart from this chaotic private housing. We have at the other end of the spectrum the urban sprechen public council that is government subsidized accommodations for low income families which virtually everywhere are heavily populated by non-whites and Chicago for example 90 percent of the applicants for public housing are nonwhite. On Washington this figure is if anything higher in the bay region in general. We have the same mono chromatic composition now. Public housing no matter how praiseworthy the intentions of its founders during the New Deal. It is in the strictest sense a ghetto system and it doesn't even have the unpredictable of a vast city. The Chong served in ghettos in the past. Even when some effort is made to mitigate the institutional characters ghetto housing put a few. Supposedly Chinese I want to mention on the outside as a. Few blocks away. The effect is very much like the effect of substandard housing erected in the Bronx about 90 years ago. Barracks and. You can pretty them up a little but the higher you fly the fact remains public housing is outlived its usefulness. Whatever usefulness it may want to pack. These buildings that Iraq may be rehabilitated wherever possible and they could be thrown on an open market commanding what rentals they can. But then people ask what will happen to the low income groups which means now increasingly although not exclusively minority groups who have no other place to live. Now so much thought has been expended and so many ingenious schemes devised in Washington and elsewhere in order to find some way of helping these people pay their rent. Helping them in a dignified way and giving them some sort of subsidy that doesn't seem too outrageous a subsidy. Has been expended to no avail. Think about this all the time now wouldn't it be simpler. Oh this doesn't occur to many people to help them to find work. So that they could pay for their houses. Now what I'm saying is that the biggest housing problem for low income groups of no matter what race is a financial problem money. And that boils down to an unemployment problem in our affluent society. The unemployment problem. Is a racial problem as well. Few people say this openly but it's obvious to the world. That in an age of rapid technological and adjustment with automation coming up. The unskilled worker is frequently out. And he has to frequently no money. So. If he's unemployed he's idle. And Idleness is not leisure. It's waste of life. And how wasteful idleness can be. San Francisco learned last year when some foolish idle young man. Had nothing better to do shut up Hunter's Point. They were an occupied. They were unemployed although they were able bodied. And Hunter's Point. Was public housing and so much for its planned environment. Now. The worst example I've seen of public housing recently has been in Washington where you have federal urban redevelopment. The Southwest project done very well very expensively. I believe Mr. Weaver lives in one of the. Apartments and. Next to it some authority put in public housing. It's immediately recognizable. The quality of the song architecture is nonexistent. Lol the quality of its building materials is very low. And there it is next to this rather Combe only new development.
And although they're just divided by a street there might as well be barbed wire between the two. If you could see the children looking across the street and the investment is high on both sides of the street. So this is renewable. What kind of renewed want to create new imported building in the old thing. Now in Chicago where the south side is being cleared on a gigantic scale whole square miles of Chicago the redevelopment authorities have. Flatly refused to allow any more public housing in their redevelopment areas. And who can blame them. Why build in blight in something pretty night.
Now a better and much braver solution is apparent in Chicago itself and I'd like to tell you for a few minutes what is happening there because the scale is appropriate. We're not. Having all the parks. Chicago's a great experimental place. It's a battleground. Because in Chicago if this environmental problem is not one then I believe our entire civilization is lost. The reports from the beaches and some. In Chicago is not that a. Minor incident but there are reports like infantry skirmishes one killed 13 injured.
Every day. You have to see the police in battalion deploy on these unfortunate neighborhoods. You have to see police dogs let loose at night on the campus of the University of Chicago.
Savage dog. And this close to some of the most advanced modern architecture in the world. I have a friend who left the Illinois Institute of Technology. Beautiful group of modern buildings and he was club left for dead about 10 yards from a masterpiece of nice Mandarin. So there we are we're living in two societies one is civilized one is the jungle. And the city is in bad trouble. Happily in certain projects they're dealing with it on a brave scale. And the lake Meadows project which has been cut out of one of the worst slums in the world. I've been in China. There's nothing in China to match to Chicago's south side as I saw it before it was clear.
This was a slum of such appalling dimensions that even the police were afraid on. Their fear is part of the trouble perhaps. And. Fortunately New York Life Insurance Company was swayed it to do something rather ambitious at first. They put up on the five towers they were rather timid at first they were ugly towers but they were done by good architects group of five. For some reason some going to public housing but they were low cost federal Gerben redevelopment they were not luxury hotels. It wasn't working out terribly well and then they were persuaded by the architects.
To. Think of look or view CA's ideas and look at them. As the man who said what makes our dream so daring is they can be real honest. And here went four gigantic slabs 22 stories high in a park. With low rent a postman can live there. It's not public housing an Army sergeant can live there. They started about 85 or 90. The apartment you can manage them. And suddenly they started to fill up. Well at first they were 99 percent Negro and 1 percent white. 1 percent white. Having to be all architects realized instinct immediately that that was the best housing in Chicago for the money. And.
As the turnover developed. And more buildings appeared on the lakeshore the percentages started to rise and another group of towers and Parks started to come up. And then the percentage went to 80 20. 70 30 60 40 50 50 killed in the most recent buildings. It has gotten to 70 30 which is the. Percentage of the city of Chicago. And now the authorities. I wondered do you call an artificial halt. Can the school wall white. But you see what has happened. And in the meantime a luxury apartment house very expensive has gone in there. So you have. A new environment. Multi Racial. With many different income levels but not the lowest income level. You don't touch really the group of people who need help the most. And yet. This is a start. For what. Matters at Lake Meadows. Is that. Reasonable rent were available without institutionalized housing. And.
The fact that it's an attractive place to live that people who know things want to know that it's going to be a lively community. Art what was the reason for this thing catching fire. I believe a chief reason was the comportment of the first negroes who went into that project. There was an example in America of the negro as a citizen in the classical sense and urban creature assuming urban responsibilities a member of the civic toss. The beautifully capped buildings. The beautiful grounds. The mood of the place was healthy and whole. It was a new move and architecture was ennobling it. Now nowhere. In San Francisco we attempting a project such as this and let me tell you that it has a shopping center and it's a pleasure to go in and cash a check and have a negro teller handle your money. Or to go into a store and have the floorwalker for a change would be nonwhite. These are little differences but they make all the difference in environment. And. In San Francisco. Smaller city than San than Chicago. Different scale. Perhaps. We are yet not being so bold. Possibly because our problems haven't seemed so urgent. But look at our three projects and I'd like to review them briefly. The downtown golden Gateway project will be non-segregated they're all going to be non-segregated on the basis of reds. But it will be segregated as far as rents are concerned. Luxury housing. Twenty two hundred twenty four hundred units. As far as I can see in spite of the LW housing there's going to be precious little moderate priced housing in west in addition. Now in Diamond Heights where the Redevelopment Agency promised to make an effort to get this kind of housing in they sold the land for over four and a half million dollars. Show the city they're good businessmen and as sharp as the real the State Shockers. But this meant that the cost per unit was twice the cost per unit as far as land cost is concerned. As Golden Gate way which is one of the most valuable parts of downtown. So this is the wrong direction to go. They are forcing it to be expensive housing. They are going into business into the housing business. They are considering money rather than people they perhaps are considering developers rather than people. I know this harsh words about a redevelopment agency that has very high ideals and very fine people. But we must start getting results from them. And when we see these luxury apartments start going up. And no one with a moderate income able to live in them we're going to start wondering. So there's been some grave errors made in our city and golden opportunities wasted. What a great opportunity remains and that is Hunter's point where we had the violence last year which some people would write off as hopeless. This must be a great redevelopment project. The public housing must be torn down. And we have to approach redevelopment at Hunters Point in a new way. It has to. Somehow include all income levels it has to be multi racial. And it could then be one of the prime communities of the world a short distance from downtown on its rising side over the bay. It could be a great masterpiece. And here if the Redevelopment Agency has the necessary imagination and vision they can construct it they can build it and the city will get behind them and there is only one last question. Will it work. Will people of diverse backgrounds come together and live on good terms. People who maybe have a seem to be on bad terms. Well I mention like meadows which is just a project. I know of a full city in this country of 30000 people. And this city apart from a few exclusive and quite more bun little clubs is totally integrated. It's a city which is fully in harmony with the breathtaking march of science. And its a city which shows the warmest respect for the Liberal and creative lot. It has no advertisement except placards announcing concerts and lectures and games sporting events. It's buildings so generously surrounded by greenery and trees they cover only 25 percent of the site. Their playing fields in gymnasiums ball rooms and art galleries restaurants and coffee shops all are integrated racially and socially. There's a hierarchy there to be sure it's quite legitimate hierarchy based on abilities supposedly. And training. And they're nonwhite and white work side by side in laboratories and ministration offices. Throughout. Buffalo. They live side by side in a rich variety of housing accommodations high rise towers small apartments private homes and co-op dormitories. I suppose you've guessed that I'm speaking of this region's crowning glory the city the civic toss. The great University of Berkeley where the future can already be seen in full and successful operation work. It's a truly planned community with a plan for future development. It's going to be shut off when it gets too big in other towns other snack attending cities are going to be applying it's heavily supported by public funds but it more than repays the taxpayers in its superb contributions to the Commonwealth it belongs to all of us. And on its passing the lawns are nice the trees hundreds of buildings can be seen the young. Not only from every conceivable American background. But from all over the world conversing singing learning. Having fun.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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- Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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- Architect and Architectural Forum editor Allan Temko speaks to the Council for Civic Unity in San Francisco, CA. Temko focuses on desegregated and affordable housing and the physical and psychological renewal of inner cities, concentrating on mainly San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Temko calls for organically-designed city planning with a comprehensive scale in order to desegregate neighborhoods. Temko discusses the ruin of natural and architectural landscape in the wake of urban renewal, specifically with new builds and freeways, that reinforce segregation. Temko promotes a new type of renewal that promotes civic unity founded on the idea that physical and spiritual health are tied to the built environment. Temko describes the dilapidated conditions of public housing and how housing codes need to be enforced, rather than replaced with urban renewal projects. Temko understands Americas preservationists inclinations as largely due to a fear of the future, and sees that it can be restricting to innovation in architecture and city planning. The rest of the program Temko focuses on how to change communities that have been negatively impacted by segregation and industrialization through the adoption of aesthetic and architectural reforms. With this Temko outlines the public housing system and how its efforts need to expand beyond housing and aid in the vast economic inequality its residents face in order to remedy the maladies associated with urbanization.
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- Council for Civic Unity of San Francisco; Architecture and Urban Design; Housing; Asian Americans; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Speaker: Temko, Allan
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Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 9932_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB0235_Race_rebuilding_and_the_renewal_of_life (Filename)
Generation: Master: preservation
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- Chicago: “Race Rebuilding and the Renewal of Life,” 1962-04-21, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 18, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-vx05x25z7k.
- MLA: “Race Rebuilding and the Renewal of Life.” 1962-04-21. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 18, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-vx05x25z7k>.
- APA: Race Rebuilding and the Renewal of Life. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-vx05x25z7k