Special of the week; Issue 17-1969
NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week from Yale University from its series called Yale reports through the centuries human instinct was to band together for protection ease of communication and commerce huddles of tense gave rise to walled cities metropolitan areas to megalopolis until at the present time more than 80 percent of the people living in the United States are considered city dwellers. Staying Alive Part 2 examines man's relationship to his city's discussing the cities of today are Dr Eve Richard Weinerman professor of medicine and public health. And our 30 Rao JR professor of city planning Dr. Weinerman. In our society certainly in our country the predominant environment is the city. The fact that the overwhelming proportion maybe 80 85 percent of our population live in or
work in relationship to the cities. And what's happening with the urban environment goes a long way toward conditioning the nature of life the quality of life and certainly the well-being as my colleague in city planning. This brings us right to a consideration of what you think are the essential elements in the community of the city that we ought to be concerned with in this matter of human welfare. The planner is particularly concerned with how to make this a most useful interventions into the environment turning it as closely as he can in directions that are reasonably closely aligned with the public welfare assuming that the public welfare can be defined. Both of us are concerned with the application of this understanding in public decision making because it's a public decision making. That is one of the two or three primary influences in the manner in which cities are built. I might
add that to complicate the issue a. The US pattern over urbanization is becoming so increasingly loose with some contradictions that perhaps some of the earlier questions that might have been asked are perhaps not so much the questions but the order of priority of those questions environmentally would be different than say a city in a developing area which to some extent is reproducing with a compact dense pattern of our earlier industrial period. It strikes me that the city really represents a startling change in man's relation to nature. As I look out at the major problems of surviving on this planet and of living with any degree of comfort had to do with man's
mastery over nature with man's control of natural hazards to his to his life to his well-being. He had to learn how to scrounge for food to protect himself against climate and storms to defend himself against predatory animals to handle the avalanches and the floods in the tidal waves and the natural phenomenon. Of course that led him to build gods around these concepts and to stand in great aura of the power of nature. Well it seems to me that what's happened now and I wonder what you think about this Mr. I was that today the major problems which threaten the well-being and maybe the survival of man are not the natural ones but indeed the manmade environment. And it seems that in a sense we almost have to protect nature against man rather than man against nature. If we're going to have very much of a future
I refer of course to the fact that with our technological and industrial development particularly with the phenomenon of the modern cities the environment is increasingly synthetic increasingly man structured. And the hazards that come from that are air pollution. Chemical rather than biological pollution of the water. Our dependence upon a highly vulnerable network of food distribution rather than going out and plucking mushrooms or berries or or growing some food. Our dependence for our protection against the elements on structures that have become for many people more dangerous than the elements themselves were and so on and so on. But I'm intrigued by this concept that the manmade environment is now the health threatening one rather than the natural virus. I wonder if I'm way off. Well how can one argue with that. The only possible argument one could make with that is that unfortunately as in so many other things our world is increasingly
divided into two relatively discrete parts and that the natural environment is critical to the support of a population such as India's five hundred million with increasing demands daily for food. Yes well I'd be interested to know more about that. Well it's hard to relate it to this discussion in some ways easy and others. Let me give you two simple examples. A metropolitan area of Calcutta where seven and a half million people currently live where within 20 years the most modest projections estimate that about 12 million people will live. The environment is one of an in credible decay and decadence. It's inadequate in the most simple of public health
service requirements. There are inadequate sewers there's a city for example in the metropolitan area of seven hundred fifty million people which does not have a single sort what it represents is in the most advanced form the kind of situation that was existent in Western society in the period of the industrial revolution and which produced at the end of the 19th century British town planning really British town planning really arose from concerns for health and particularly of course by definition public health. And even up into the post-war years the British planning program and I believe I'm accurate in saying the new towns program were housed in the Ministry of Health now. On our side of the
dividing line between developed and underdeveloped we're dealing with much different questions of health. We have Sowers we have water supplies they may be threatened in the future. But I really don't think so I think we can meet our needs. You know our society we're dealing both with physical impacts on the individual e.g. the 50000 or whatever the number is a person is killed on the highways in the course of a year and with much more subtle impact on the whole area of mental attitude and mental stress. And America which people respond to their own problems in this increasingly complex society. I'm really not sure that it's useful to pursue simultaneously both ways. Both of these lines because they're so so very very different. I think as a planner I would be more interested in finding
out and discussing about what you know what evidence you have. I've been able to amass or if only in Bots what kind of judgment civil arrived at in terms of impacts upon the individual and upon small social groups of the environment planners for years have been arguing that one design is better than another design because it will induce a greater level of social interaction or it will reduce a level of pressures e.g. eat low rise public housing with some small communal open spaces against high rise towers and so on. But for the most part we're operating on hunches and notions and myths. Well I think we have some evidence is beginning to to accumulate to a reasonable body. There were a long way from being able in the
classic sense to prove these relationships but let's just take a couple of examples of environmental problems particularly in relation to cities and their known effects on health and wellbeing housing of course immediately comes to mind. And the story you tell about India and some of those cities there are pretty bloodcurdling but we don't have to go that far to see some pretty frightful evidences of how people live and in this case in a highly affluent society and right in our own city of New Haven as well as any of the industrial centers of this country the blight the decay the increasing inadequacy of the central core and the jam packing of people into these areas as is pretty well understood I think now the health results can show up. Classically one of the major diseases affecting young people. Fortunately we don't see it quite so much anymore. Is rheumatic fever and the damage that this disease does to the
heart and producing remount of heart disease has been at least in recent years. One of the main causes of heart trouble in younger people before they get old enough they get hardening of the arteries and hypertension. And there seems to be a very close correlation between a remodeling fever and general amount of disease and certain specific conditions of housing. I'm sure you you know many people perhaps don't that romantic fever itself is a result of having many streptococcal strep infections. So what this boils down to is what kinds of people and what kinds of circumstances get more strop infections than others. And studies one of the classic ones was done here in New Haven showed that in crowded damp. Living arrangements the conditions are the best for the spread of the streptococcal infection and children growing up in these areas have much more room out of fever than children growing up in UN crowded drawee and more out of
quick housing arrangements. Air pollution of course is a big deal these days. The very factors that allowed us to move into cities and have given us some of our medical technology that we're so proud of has produced an enormous discharge of all kinds of chemicals in the air. And as these chemicals and to react with each other in the presence of sunlight they form still new chemical smog is not just particles being thrown up like smoke or dust smog as a result of a highly complex chemical set of reactions in the air and then some very dangerous products can be the result. And when smog or air pollution of this kind stays over the area for a while and these particles get into people then we have documentation that some dangerous and difficult things occur I'm sure everyone has heard about the fact that lung cancer is far more prevalent and there are
definite on this. Depending on the concentration and the prolonging action of the smog or pollution in the atmosphere. But it's not only this dramatic business of lung cancer this is also true of a chronic insidious gradually developing disease with a funny name of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. With this gradually closes off the air space spices and makes people work sort of breathing cripples. They're just not able to get enough air in and out to do more than walk very slowly around and in cities where there's a lot of air pollution there's an increasing amount of of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. If you had cigarette smoking which is a kind of private smog to this of course these figures go up. So in areas both that surround individuals or individual families like the quality of their housing and and environmental factors that involve everybody in an area like the air that
they breathe we are beginning to see the direct relationship between these conditions and the kinds of health factors that we can measure. One more bit intrigues me immensely and I just read about it in an issue of Science in the last couple of weeks. We've known a good deal about the nutritional deficiencies and I know there's some evidence that there is such a business as light deficiencies. Normal daylight and sunlight of course is made up of a whole spectrum of wavelengths and most life plant life and animal life as we know it has evolved and grown up in natural daylight and sunlight and apparently the various kinds of light are significant in terms of the growth and development of living things. And one man has done some experiments with budding little infant plants or animals cells under conditions in which the light is
filtered through glass such as the windows behind which we all live in are hypnotically sealed buildings these days or under fluorescent lights which emit a partial light rather the complete light. And from that he can. Modify or hold back the growth and development of these tender offshoots. Depending on the quality of the light they get well of where I we have created urban environments and which were indoors more than outdoors and are getting filtered in artificial light. Here's another ecological relationship which ties together man and his environment in ways that may be very threatening. What does a city plan or do about the sunlight business from some of the more sophisticated zoning ordinances of a few years ago. Where based upon measurements of sunlight available to a room in a
building. So that presumably by law building could not be built unless X hours of sunlight per day per season was able to enter that space. But I'm more interested in this whole question of crowding and light availability by definition. It's involved in that. I missed it from this point of view. If we relate it back to one of your earlier observations namely that we are largely an urban society with the capability of feeding ourselves at best protecting ourselves from nature at worst there is a current argument in the urban field and this will be familiar to you because it's been discussed a good deal in the popular press.
Between the rapid spread of cities out over the landscape which is impacting on nature in a way that would concern you when you use the phrase protect nature. Very very definitely. On the other hand I would think from your argument that this sprawl or scatter ration to use some of the jargon cliche words would go very far in the direction of relieving this set of environmental considerations which are productive or at least intrusive. Many of the older diseases and are generating new diseases or at least rapidly increasing in incidence of older diseases. So it seems to me that there's a conflict here. How do we seek out parameters for making judgments between having negative impact or a natural environment on the one hand.
And reducing compactness and intensity of human congregation which produces these disease situations on the other hand. Well this is a very real question and I guess we have to end up in all these things and looking at the balance and the ecologist tell us we can't make a change in any one part of this circle without affecting changes in the other. Absolutely true that when the middle one. Maybe some of the lower middle in the upper middle class gets enough money together to move out of the smoky crowded center of the city and get out with a little lawn and a picket fence and some open space. This is great for them. In terms of the specific kind of things that come from crowding and urban blight there is evidence that the other kinds of tensions and stresses and rat race relationships that they develop in order to maintain the income to keep
up the payments and keep up with the Joneses and stay out there produces other diseases which we don't have to worry about like migraine and hypertension and peptic ulcer and these kinds of things. But aside from not the reciprocal It seems to me is the worsening of the condition of the inner city. As the people that have the education and someways the ability to create better environments that pay the taxes which can support things move out of the city. Leaving behind concentrations of poor and under-trained people without the resources to even do maintenance on their city that the rate of the generation increases and so to the degree that we have pretty suburbs it seems were getting worse slums and I begin to see the effect of this and such terrifying indices as the fact that in New Haven like in many other cities the
infant mortality rate the rate at which newborn infants die in the first year of life is actually beginning to go up for the residents of our inner cities so that the balance of factors affecting their lives is getting to be negative. And I can't help but feel it's related to this question of the suburban development someway. Well I think that your description is accurate and I'm fascinated and also depressed by the fact that infant mortality rates are going up. I think I. I was aware correct me if I'm wrong that in the black ghettos of New Haven as compared with the average rate of the city of the metropolitan area infant mortality was something like twice. That's right the other black was twice the other. There's no question about this. And purely aside from the physical health aspects clearly this is apartheid spatial
apartheid which is developing in our our cities is horrible itself and with terrible implications. One of the depressing things about this what I call special apartheid is that it's an acronym ism it's in economic terms an Akron ism and an anomaly if one looks at the way cities are developing spatially and activities are shifting. The only inner city slum which however terrible its living and social conditions had no economic rationale in this great urban economic machine. The current ghetto does not. The jobs are not there. The housing is not cheap. The transportation system has changed so that these people are actually deprived in transportation terms rather than advantaged as they were say
30 or 40 years ago when they were street transport available to them and so on. So in all of those terms this is an anachronism. Now if my argument that it is an anachronism spatially is accepted then how does one deal with it obviously. One of the objectives must be somehow to loosen this loose in this compacted congested kind of a trap and open the channels of movement and communication into the rest of the urban area for these people. This involves then a whole host of questions not only making very major commitments in those areas now for the short term but devising means and methods for permitting all these people to move out into the into the sunlight so to see both figuratively and literally
literally exactly over time. Now what are the what are the obstacles to this. Well we know them social attitudes very clearly and to put it in the most sensible and direct terms pure and simple. Racial prejudice. But there are others that are economic and political. We operate on a system of territorial government and now increasingly our society particularly for the affluent is not territorial. People can move about they take part in actions in several parts of the country and so on. But our basic environmental decisions are made at the local level by territorial governments so that questions of zoning are determined by that territorial government which is a suburb X town
and suburb X town makes its zoning decisions in terms of the self interest of suburb X town until it's zoning can be made more flexible or changed in some direction. It is economically impossible for many of these people to even if they could afford to buy a modest home to locate in in such a suburb. Are you implying the need to get away from suburb X town decision making on a local level for regional or Magal Appollo government apparatus is yes I'm suggesting that. V. Powers of local governments to protect themselves in their own self-interest against the greater interest of the metropolitan area is one of the causes for this increasing problem of ghettoization in the central city bite. Here we have another conflict.
We are properly concerned at this time in our society where the greater participation of people in government and the smaller the scale of the area generally speaking the greater the opportunity and probability of participation. This is a very tough question but I would say that there are clearly certain regional or metropolitan responsibilities which should not be frustrated by the particular self-interests of smaller local local groups. I'm also intrigued with your concept that there was at one point a rationale for the core city the poor people. As I understand what you said found modest cheaper lodgings found jobs could easily get around without cars and therefore could maintain even clusters of old world culture within which they felt comfortable. When they first came to this country and therefore there was almost a reason a need to be
in the inner city slum or at least core area. And now as you point out Life is tough in every way they are here again in the health field this is very very true. Because despite the concentration of population in these areas the Health Resources are disappearing and so we find a bad relationship between the can. The conditions of life. The bulk of people and the resources to help them. So just weather conditions of the worst masses of people are becoming more concentrated and in those very areas with most health risks. Health Resources are the least and if this isn't a challenge to an affluent Democratic society I'd like to know what is. Back. Well there's no question but I would say and environmentally and socially This is clearly the most critical issue of our time at least of this of this decade.
They problem is a twofold one most manyfold But just think in spatial terms which is which is my bag. So in a sense as a city as a machine it is always working to move people to opportunities or facilities or facilities and opportunities to people. And what's happened is that largely the thruway movement in the past has become increasingly one way again this disadvantaged group spatially separated now the two fold approach must necessarily be to lubricate the movement of these people out to where the opportunities are by whatever means of subsidy indirect or direct buy. What in the grand scale might be ecan an economic transportation investments and
so on. But at the same time to enter into those situations as aggressively as we can with the services you need to bring the services more to where the people are not only moving the people out to where the research exactly everybody can move at once I think we have to work both ways. Men and his cities discussed by Dr. Richard Weinerman professor of medicine and public health and or 32 junior professor of city planning next week staying alive Part 3 will look at the stress aspects of today's lifestyles. DR EVE Richard Wyman Dr Adrian Aust felt chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and public health and Richard Sennett assistant professor of sociology will discuss the physical effects of mental stress scripts for these programs are available without charge by writing to Yale reports 1773 Yale station New Haven Connecticut 0 6 5 2 0 ne RS special of the week.
- Special of the week
- Issue 17-1969
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- No description available
- Public Affairs
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-SPWK-419 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 17-1969,” 1969-04-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 27, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-5717qt87.
- MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 17-1969.” 1969-04-03. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 27, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-5717qt87>.
- APA: Special of the week; Issue 17-1969. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-5717qt87