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Welcome my friend to this city. Others have been here before you. The pattern of these streets is from Babylon. Athens looks down at you from these public buildings here and there a bit of Florence survives the rush. Not the church from the valley of the Rhine the fountain is from Versailles. Welcome to excitement to freedom. Well but welcome also to a place in which man can if he chooses become an alien to himself a creature of quiet and terrible loneliness a creature of violence and fear. Welcome my friend to the city. The National Association of educational broadcasters resents rendezvous and examination of the role of the newcomer in the modern American city one of a series of programs titled The Urban Frontier produced by the Community Education
Project at San Bernardino Valley College under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs were developed in consultation with faculty members of the University of California at Riverside the University of Redlands and a Valley College as well as a core of professional civic and business leaders of the San Bernardino Riverside metropolitan area. Each program is designed to raise some of the issues facing the individual who lives in or near the city and now run Dave. A look at some of the problems and opportunities of the role of the newcomer. In the view of centuries we Americans are new to the city new to its ways and its problems we bring to it a hurry in the hustle of the last city it has never known before. We've given the city shapes sounds and machines of a new. New to us new to the world. And yet. At the core how much of the city have we really changed. Houston gives it one shape Chicago another. It's formed and molded a different way
in San Francisco as it is in each of our metropolitan areas but the city itself the problems it poses for mankind. The hope that it offers man. These may be constant if so as we look for them in New York so also we should expect to find them in Rome or Athens or Babylon in any Metropolis anywhere anytime. This then is the city we'll deal with the city that is first of all an invention of man. The city we say is. Once conceived it has remained with us all. Our city was born we think in the valley of the Nile six. Possibly eight thousand years ago. The exact moment of its conception we do not know the identity of its parents comes to us only by legend. More than legend we can never have.
What were you and why this great detour around your camp. We people of the reed are staying here. Stay here but this is impossible. We don't think so crime or I come as a representative of my clan but I speak as a friend. You're there yet you're back in a yard. It will get very short. Listen to me very well. I listen this is I'm really insane. With that my friend it will be very dangerous. You are a wise and powerful man prime where you lead your planned well in peace and war but say what you will but I've got a sign. My mind is fixed on it. We stay here we stay here permanently. But this isn't done. It's not right to stay in one place. No man but you would suggest I think it's high time someone did. Listen to my reasoning. We come here each year. And here we are blessed with heavy crops. Enough food for all the year. The soil is good the grass is deep our animals become fat and bear their young easily. This is the best of all the river we trap.
Of course it is that's why we're here. This is a great prize. Then why do we leave it. But that is the way of our tribe we're born to the trail and we die on the trail. Ships are traveling but these are to be expected. And the sickness and the cold and the hunger when the humming goes poorly. But this is the way. Not this year. Not from my clan it isn't. Here we can live well the year round. If the people of the same have come to call them what will you do. There is grazing enough for all. They're very ferocious very skillful. They have many lances and they ride like the wind not through a ditch they don't do that then it's not for water. No my friend. This ditch is for war. Very interesting. Interesting and shrewd rather more to attack us here they must come through that board and we're all posting either side of it. Now let's see. You'd be putting archers up there wouldn't you. What else. I see I see. And with enough archers above the exactly
you know there's no small draft of reason in this madness of yours with our two clans together what a feast we could give the jackals in the gorge yonder. Let me talk this out with the elders of my clan. What an opportunity this could be. And think of the look we could have. You may tell them I've had a sign if it will be of any help to you. This is all very irregular. But irregular or not I like it. Oh my insanity Vachel it seems to tempt you. It does it does. The most interesting part of it is this ambush you planned for the tribes of the West. This is the best I've seen. Give us time. We'll make it better. Here we could settle our scores with the Sand People once and for all. If they attack we'll fill the gorge with their bones. Such a trap will interest the old isn't likely. Particularly primal. If you're going to. We're. So much for our legend offered merely to state the proposition that the city is first of all an invention of
man. And invention made by different people in different pines and places. In the history of Western men. We trace it back to the Nile Valley. There our civilization began when the first nomads gave up the trail and settled down to live permanently in one place and thus to build the first city where it was when it happened. We do not know. Man came to the city as a stranger. In a sense. He has always remained one. And so it is with the eye and the ear of the stranger that you. Are asked to come to our city. One that is to be found in every metropolis that man has built. First. We would have you look at the buildings. All of them. As from a distance Take Manhattan from the Jersey side Chicago as you drive along Michigan Boulevard Los Angeles as your plane slants down into Inglewood. Or if you wish drop back in time some twenty centuries and look down at Athens from the Acropolis. Or better yet. Here
is fifteenth century Florence in the time of the medic. If there are any in such a way as to guarantee a proper meeting with its great shady climb the hype to the south of the river a matter of ten minutes no more. But be there a little before dawn which all floors will be spread beneath you and you can watch her come awake after the sunlight filters in across the city. Your eyes will tell you that here is the home of a powerful and civilized man has calculated both the trade and the wisdom of the world. Watch for the moment the light comes to the door I know into the company of the auto. See it as it plays in and around the battlement of the plateau as it spreads out and across the multitude of roofs and finally reaches in and under the great bridge to the black waters of the Arno. Only then my cousin
should you go down to meet her. For this is Florence the noblest the most beautiful city in the world. This is the view of the stranger can seldom forget and one that he can very often never see again. For as the buildings the bridges the streets in passage ways become familiar they become involved with the second element of our city. If you're going to see is the crowd more people than you can ever know. On occasion you will see five thousand faces in a single hour. When you are new you may look at them. They won't mind only a few will notice your stare. Later after you've been here awhile you learn to be one of them. On seeing unseen anonymous alone you may be on foot or on a mule in a rickshaw in a sedan chair carried on the shoulders of your slaves. Or if you choose doing 58 on a freeway in the armored isolation of
your automobile. But the crowd the crowd itself. This is the second city. Anonymous people coming from and going to unknown tasks and places. If we stand here long enough you will find there's a pattern to their goings and comings. Certain things happen at certain places here and there a man or a woman in the crowd is referred to someone dressed poorly. Some are not happy here. They are a badge of belt lights that come on and go off at regular intervals. These things are understood they communicate to the crowd. Let these be the cues that tell you that there is order in our city. If the city is an invention the man has made one that he uses for his security and comfort. If the city is an organization of space and structures. It is also a way of life and a prescription for living it. I sought to describe the institution which I have one of those.
Good qualities in our public and a private life. To which it all is that great and this is what Herr Oakley's of Athens the soldier statesman Democrat. The occasion the public burial of the soldiers who died some twenty five centuries ago in the first campaign of the war against Sparta in the prescription for Athenian like. The Constitution under which we live seeks no inspiration from abroad. So far from being borrowed it has been taken as an example. The position of the franchise by the majority instead of a minority has earned for it the title of democracy. Before the law. Equality is assured to every citizen in his dealings with his name. Here we see the city as an ordering of relationships among men. A
government exercising authority over its people. Yet however as para cleaves noted this government may be the product of still other factors. We lead a life of freedom. Not only in our politics but in our mutual tolerance of private conduct. We do not resent our neighbor doing what he pleases. And while our private lives are thus free from constraint This does not act to the detriment of law and order which are preserved by a wholesome respect. For constituted authorities under the laws of online especially those which protect the victims of injustice. And of those whose moral sanction is so strong about there is no need for them to be written. Less. This ancient Greek god who was both honored and dishonored in Athens tells us that the city is more than that which meets the eye.
Let us say that the city is a pattern of customs and beliefs network of taboos and privileges. A scale for measuring the worth of things and people together. These make up what we should call a social system. And this is harder for the newcomer to fathom mainly because its applications and its judgments vary from place to place. Even today homogenized as we are by a radio television motion pictures and the like. Even today each of our cities is nonetheless a unique social system. What goes in New York may not in Philadelphia. It's one thing to be Irish in San Francisco and quite another to be Irish in Boston. The qualities required for success in Chicago may prove a handicap in Atlanta. Los Angeles looks at an election or a work of art very differently from Detroit. Variations on the theme or even greater if we move around in time as well as space. Here is SPARTA a city that grew to rival Athens in the time of Pearl please.
A street corner conversation between two citizens. Wait up for me. What is it with you today Simon eyed and hysterical. What troubles you and you want the new decree. It will ruin our city. Lies are just has gone too far. Reform Yes but this is what this decree about the money my lands are gone and knowing makes my little over worthless as I see it you have no complaint. You still have your precious gold your silver. Elsewhere And hell if you have enough to ransom a king or two. But this is my home town and here will be my just to do the marketing for my house. Well I could not carry it in a single car or in 2 for that matter. Learn to eat a little less take some of the fat off your carcass. This is all very well for you to say you don't know how hungry I get. Better yet meet with your citizen neighbors join us in the public mess. It's on your money. We'll be the laughing stock of the world.
The day will come and you may even live to see it when you have that spark. Don't you believe that. Don't you believe it. Time and money. Why. The city of spite of the social system it contain. Through a network of relations around each of its individual citizens. Little was left to chance or to choice. But let's return to our street corner. Look at our crowd this time as an aggregate of individuals. The cast of a gigantic drama each has his part to play and his directions for playing it. The buildings the streets the bridges. These make up the settings and the props. The overall spectacle we have seen. Now let's concentrate on the individual actors and their parts. This one in the second century role is to appear a crude. Camera died. He's working a sheet of bronze and.
This also is a work girl in 20th century upper Manhattan through eight hours with two faulty brakes. She puts information on tape or somewhere else someone takes it all. These are slaves the great stone they are moving in with the Tomb of the second king in the fourth the Gyptian dynasty. One hundred thousand men will work twenty years before it is complete. These we see here will not live that long. These also are workers musicians and jugglers by their labors they seek to entertain. This is Elizabethan London. Lately the competition of the bear pit says deprive them of their public audience and they seek a private one in the houses of the rich and the mighty. Let us not disturb this Master of Arts of universities where
he has been lately caught up in a 13th century squabble between the Masters guild in the friars the Greek translating will one day be the source of the ideas and the inspiration for our own republic. This man. Is building a memory for him. And we would say that he is very advanced. The product he turns out in his six hour day can command and coordinate an entire factory. Laid. Drop hammers milling machines all can be integrated and operated with no human presence. Or responding to the. Order in. The quote. That you have. Another element of diversity. Our social system divides the work to be done into individual paths. A division of labor. Implicit in every city that man has built and the bigger the city the greater the division becomes the more each part in our drama becomes separated from the
rest. Here is a role. In a. Second. In our time we'll call this pepper street named after the spice market nearby. But here come our specimen Romans. Note A common complaint of city living here. Trick or Treat. You want to get a little mortar on it you go to another one. It's not that bad. It's getting very close to it. If you want to get a new door made for your apartment give it up so your landlord get a pot in your face to go see mine. Get on with your door. Everyone's a specialist before you get your door you'll deal with eight separate corporations with workers. I don't believe you think a timber worker can secure unhinged he can't deal with an iron worker. Peter them can haul the door if you want the door widening or near it just really gets complicated. This will raise the total to 10 maybe 15. But there are those who make a tidy profit solving this problem for you. Yes you deal with another specialist The Master Builder the specialist mostly in putting up buildings that
collapsed virtually immediately. Surely you exaggerate a little here a little there. But the Colonel is the troop. Let's stay with our two Romans who will shortly be on their way to the public baths. And since you are new to our city there's another part of this drama you will need to understand if you are eventually to feel at home here. Simply stated it's that all kinds of jobs bring all kinds of people together. Our urban society. It's a division of labor makes a niche for everyone and puts everyone in Usenet. Good contractor I get a Syrian every time. Keep my eye on this like a hawk. A very good bargain. If I want to scholars I'll get agree although Greek scholars of late are not of the quality they once were. The best traders are from Macarthur the best politicians of all. What would you say we Romans excelled. My friend what is a Roman today. He's a little bit of everything I guess. Better for the mixture. The city then brings together all kinds of people and makes them useful to each other.
This means that a man here may differ from his neighbor and be somewhat secure in his differing. As a stranger you should know that in some measure this freedom will be granted you all kinds of jobs bring together all kinds of people all kinds of people bring together all kinds of ideas out of the very processes of your survival. You will meet the new and the different. Here you come to know and even depend on men and women who are very different from yourself. They may look at the moon or a hemline in a way that you do not but you will accept them nonetheless. Your tolerance may be deep or shallow your dependence may be great or small but you will accept them nonetheless. But if the city requires of its people this it will require of you in exchange it will give you freedom. If the city implies a division of labor a task for everyone and every one of his tasks then it also implies a tolerance of the stranger.
Those who work or live or believe differently than you do nonetheless will accept you in the city. There are reservations being great or small but here again is Athens five centuries after apparently. The tolerance of which we speak was now an institution. We meet a stranger who came to Athens. Where all kinds of people. Would bring all kinds of ideas. He is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and are as some of your own poets have said and we are His children. But if we are the children of God we ought not to imagine that the deity is like gold or silver or marble a thing carved by human art or imagination. Now the times of ignorance have been passed over by God. But today he is proclaiming to mankind that all men everywhere repent since he is going to judge the world in righteousness in the person of a man appointed by
him. And he has given a proof of this for all men by raising that man up from the dead. Now wherever I am in going my way. Yes he has given proof for all man. I'm very happy I'm speak. I would hear more of him. Yes and that was both new and strange to us. You need not apologize. Athens has shown me her courtesy as well as a rival. Oh you call. I have taken the name of Paul. I'm known otherwise and again on the subject. Do not be dismayed. Many here you may include me among them. This is a member of the council. This woman is the mother. You are very kind. All of you. This is more than I heard you yesterday in the Agora. I'll hear your gana where ever you speak.
I can't tell you how glad I am you came to Athens. Let me know where you go. It's strange elsewhere in hell as in the villages. I've had dogs set on me I've been imprisoned in smaller town the villager is not notorious for his open mind and the one with the why did that leave your judgement as harsh in my heart. I cannot be angry with. Impatient Perhaps I need somehow to reach them in the back. Us the fourth of our constants the features we would have you know what about our city. See it as a place of challenge and change. The city brings together all kinds of people and makes them useful to each other. The requirements of their survival yield a measure of tolerance for the new the strange the unknown thus the city uniquely is unstable and open to suggestion. The new solution to the old problem be it a good one or a bad one in the city. It can be given a hearing.
Bus my friend we we would bring you to a summary. And a question. One that is best. Ask why you knew when I meant. We would have you see the city first of all as a device a tool created by man. Brought forth in the manner that other tools have been created invented to answer any. In this case to provide for man's security and comfort. However as is the case with other tools. The city cannot guarantee the intent of its user just as a blade can save a life or end one. So it is with the city. It is for you to decide what the city shall do and be in your time. But let's come up to date we'll put our obstructions away for the moment. Step lively my friend for this metropolis is American 20th century. Product of the machine. In the view of centuries you are new here and for a
while you can be forgiven your mistakes but mind the velocity everything happens here a little more quickly than you'd expect. But look around you see with us this community of steel concrete asphalt and people. A single entity dependent parts. A thing that is knit together with streets and wires and sewers with paper clips and proclamation antenna and vacuum to. Knit together also embodying ideas. And practices in the conventions of its people. This is the two together with the people who use it. Cities have been built by priests and soldiers and traders forums and fools and fakers of gone before us but never before the meeting of free men and machine as a contest here to be sure. But you would expect that in the city for the city can only change for better or for worse.
But change it must. New people new ideas new dreams. We trust you have yours with you. If you don't like the streets you can change them. The buildings they come and go. We can move or make a mountain. We can banish a river dry up a lake or pump one in if you need it. We can spin up a tower into the gouge out of heaven for the sea. But you you who are strange and new and baffled here you must set the task like it or not we Americans now live in an age of cities. The contest between town and country is finished two thirds of us now live in our cities and more are on the way somewhere in a city our fortunes our manners our minds and even our dreams can be shaped and ideas suggested in New York conceived in Philadelphia perfected in Chicago and applied in Los Angeles. Can a month later save your life. In the back country of New
Mexico now the city reaches out with its ideas and communications with its wealth and its power to rule the land as never before in the history of man. Is it not time that we master this to the centuries have given us every city has change built into it. Is it not for you to choose how and why and where and when the changes shall be made. Our cities are products of choice. If we do not like them we are yet free to do the choosing again. And this we would submit is the central task of our time to build to rebuild if necessary and to build again until at last we come to the rendezvous that others have kept before us until we in our age can say these are our cities and they are worthy of man.
Urban frontier
Producing Organization
San Bernardino Valley College
KVCR (Radio station : San Bernardino, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Introduction to the city, its background and history, its opportunities.
Other Description
Each program in this series considers one of the major life activities people carry on in an urban setting. The format is narrative with dramatized interludes.
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Social Issues
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Director: Harter, John
Narrator: Lynn, Paul
Producing Organization: San Bernardino Valley College
Producing Organization: KVCR (Radio station : San Bernardino, Calif.)
Writer: Harter, John
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-20-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:04
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Chicago: “Urban frontier; Rendezvous,” 1956-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Urban frontier; Rendezvous.” 1956-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Urban frontier; Rendezvous. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from