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National Educational radio in cooperation with the Institute on man and science presents a series of talks drawn from the institute's annual conference held recently in Rensselaer Vale New York. The Institute on man and science is a nonprofit educational institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regions. The annual assembly of the institute is designed to focus attention on 20th century technology and the human relationships resulting from its application. The speaker for this program is serving him Levine director of the education and urban planning department of the American Jewish Committee. Mr. Levine's topic is the cities and the suburbs. Here now is Mr. Levine. I am a reconstructed they get completely biased cosmopolitan Jill loves the city and in effect really has only distain for the suburbs. On the other hand I want to speak lovingly about the suburbs because pluralistic
and in terms of objectivity I don't believe they are much maligned much under-rated as a creative and positive force in American life and they had to stay so we better learn a little bit about what's really happening in the suburbs and perhaps get rid of some of the pop culture. The Sunday supplement analysis of how miserable things are in the suburbs so modified. Most people live in the suburbs like it very much. It's frankly and escape to a more manageable society and in our times anything that cuts into dehumanization and alienation is a plus. Question is is it Humanisation enough. Let me read to you a page if I might take some of my valuable time from a recent book by her began. It's called the Levittown is Dr. Gans lived with this community as it was formed in
New Jersey for a period of two years. And these are some of his conclusions as to how a rival working class lower middle class and middle middle group took a look at their community after having lived there for a few years. He says most New suburbanites are pleased with the community that develops they enjoy the House and outdoor living and take pleasure from a large supply of compatible people without experiencing the boredom or malaise ascribed to suburban home which some people encounter unexpected social isolation particularly those who differ from the majority of their neighbors. Who will be socially isolated depends on the community and Levittown they were all the couple that well educated in the poorly educated and women who had come from a cohesive working class or ethnic enclave but were used to living with an extended family. Such people probably suffer in every suburb even though they want to escape from the close life of the
urban village. They miss their old haunts cannot find compatible people do not know how to make new friends. But the least happy people are always those of lowest income and least education. They not only have the most difficulty in making social contacts and joining groups but are also be set by financial problems which strain family tempers as well as family budgets. And if the suburb is designed for young adults and children the adolescents will suffer from nothing to do from adult hostility towards the youth culture and peer groups. People's lives are changed somewhat by the move to suburbia but the basic ways remain the same. They do not develop new lifestyles or ambitions for themselves and their children. Moreover many of the changes that do take place were desired before the move. Because a suburb makes them possible morale goes up. Boredom and loneliness are reduced family life becomes temporarily more cohesive social and organizational activities multiply and spare time pursuits now concentrate on the house and yard.
Some changes result from the move. Community organizational needs encourage some people to become Join us for the first time. Ethnic and religious differences demand more church attendance and social isolation breeds depression boredom and loneliness for the fuel left out. But change is not the only direction though. Different people respond differently to the new environment. The most undesirable changes usually stem from familial and occupational circumstances. This is sort of a balanced deal he's giving in this page but frankly his entire book is A. And an announcement of joy on the part of most suburbanites who have made it for the first time. And this in fact is what we have to begin to think very very deeply about the suburban revolution in American life really is people voting with their feet against city lights. In fact the few exceptions are those who really love the city. People who are
frankly really not quite assimilated into the american think Europeanized they are old line because they are people who perhaps are part of the new ethnic group called intellectuals professionals etc.. The style of American life the culture of American life has really been small town rural and suburban. The fact that there are so few American cities that are distinguished in a particularistic y as compared to European and Asiatic cities in the case truly that the American culture has been bent in this direction. What does this mean in terms of the future for a city and suburban relationship. It means that perhaps as people have mentioned before perhaps the solution to the city's lies in the suburbs. And if that is so we have a real big
problem on our hands because of the alienation of suburbanites from the city. What I want to dress myself to today all those forces in American life that are moving towards perhaps bridging the isolation the separation the polarization and whether or not we cannot in some way through intelligence through social engineering through tremendous need to develop the kinds of techniques strategies and governmental policies that want some but Weybridge what must be bridged. Some say that there will be no such thing as suburbs and cities. Some say that there will be only metropolitan areas that will be metropolitan areas but there will be neighborhood nuts for a long long time to come and that neighborhood NASS reflect itself in suburbanization. So you can have a variety of cultures living together at the same time in a metropolitan area. None of which meshes with each other and which in fact conflicts more
often than it combines. Let me if I might begin to develop what I think is a white approach to the city from a suburban vantage point we have seen some very positive directions in the last two years mostly because the business community has awakened and dramatically awakened to the fact that the cities still do represent a major commercial industrial base a place that they cannot totally give up in terms of markets. Transportation skilled workers they have tried at least in terms of industrial development to build in the suburbs and they've succeeded largely at least if you think in terms of factories and if you think in terms of small manufacturing operations there has been probably good success and diversification and differentiation of of industry
might effect that has created one of the major job of major if future problems a problem that is monstrous. A study of New York City has indicated that in the next 10 years the continuation of a trend continuation of a trend which sought 10 jobs created in the suburbs for everyone in the city will look solid right. What a devastating thing that is when we think of the kind of racial polarization and entrapment of the black man in the city. And if that entrapment in fact become ideologically a fause as many black power leaders seem to think it will be or want to be. Is there really some basis of an economy for black people separated from where most industrial jobs are. Some people think yes some people think that the concept of community and the building up of one's community and housing small businesses etc and government jobs will be a substantial
gain in terms of employment but if you really study the American economy you know that's hogwash on the big scene. It's sufficiently new to create the kinds of positions for the middle class and for the operator and for the militant the avant God to make a good living and to develop the kinds of movements that will create power. But power does not necessity. Necessarily mean economic wealth for the masses. Power did not mean economic wealth for the Irish masses. When I took over the cities it meant that. The group as a whole moved forward which is a substantial piece of progress and perhaps becomes a great economic force in the third and fourth and fifth generation but the first generation the hungry generation a generation we're talking about now does not necessarily gain rapidly enough unless they are integrated into the larger economy and the larger economy as we know it now has at least industrially is going into the suburbs.
We've been talking about how do you bring black people into the suburbs won the resistances are fantastic and growing. Let me say something about these resistances and where they will shop and. Recently there was an NBC television show I think it was about three months ago which showed a gun club practicing target practice in the suburbs. It was interesting about this gun club was that it was not. Indistinguishable from it was distinguishable from other kinds of suburban associations that seem to have been an ethnic enclave. It was a rather heavily Italian with an Italian Cultural bent involved in the kinds of expression that we heard. This is not being pejorative about Italians it's an indication that a force that we thought was waning in American life ethnicity is being recreated in terms of group reactions to
other kinds of group nationalism. Black Nationalism is creating I believe in the next few years the kind of new groupings of ethnic America who are working class and lower middle class by the way there's an interesting figure that you ought to know. A recent study done by the Kraft Survey Group the labor unions discovered much to their shock and surprise because it has to impact on how they plan to organize for political action. Discover that over 50 percent. Of all work is over the age of 40 now live in the suburbs. That was a dramatic figure but I'll go a little further. Over 75 percent of all workers under the age of 40 live in the suburbs and they have been operating on public issues as if the New Deal welfarism was really what was of deep
interest to their clients constituents and union members when in fact what was really of interest for property values was traffic patterns etc.. So Labor has to take a look at itself as many other groups still now if this is a force if if the ethnic enclaves of our cities have spread out as a working class on an Island suburbs and I'm groping either in churches or in gun clubs or and neighborhood associations or in the 800 member Italian Civic Association in Mt. Vernon which is fighting school integration we might have a new problem in America very identifiable problem. If these people also are the truck drivers the place man and the grouping that George Wallace calls the. Common man the every day America get the guy he says has no truck with pseudo intellectuals and
marchers and criminals and so forth. In fact this is a group that has been recently taken out of out of national consultation that the American Jewish Committee helped hold. This is a group that in fact may be the cutting edge of whether or not we move progressively in the society or whether we really allow the black man to fester in the city because this is the group that has the most problems in terms of status of being the newly arrived suburbanites. And when we think of suburbs let us not think of the suburbs of Scarsdale or Shaker Heights. That's one category that is a category that with the priest and social conscience of the professional classes in our society and the business classes and how Saudi and the increase of effective church Enos on the minds and activities of this particular group. This is a group that could accommodate itself and is ready to accommodate itself not on a mass basis but on a
leadership by SSAS to some sort of integration with black Americans in the suburbs. The other group I'm talking about is a Reagan polarized and frightening and anti. And this is a group that has not been worked with so if there is going to be a strategy in dealing with suburban urban relationships we're going to have to find a way of working with lower middle class Americans who have just gotten on the first step of the ladder of success and whose affluence is tenuous who base very much of their progress not on just the fact that the working conditions have improved immensely they have and wages of improved enough to make them capable of buying a home but they cannot sustain the home in the suburban way of life so much that wife also works in many cases. And that does have an impact an important impact on traditional family concepts ethnic group patterns cultures and so on has an impact on what the next generation does in
terms of the kinds of patterns of development. Let me point out to you because this is a rather new thing. I might take a little time because I think this is something we might have to think about more deeply. This is a group that thinks not in terms of the traditional liberal issues. In spite of the fact they come from the traditional liberal bag but they think of these 20 issues let me enumerate them. Crime in the streets unfair and burdensome tax structure especially in local levels inadequate uncomfortable transportation high credit writes excess costs for home maintenance high medical costs need for beautification cleanliness of neighborhoods high cost of entertainment high cost of automobiles and the maintenance burden of parochial education high cost and lack of opportunity for higher education for mental health usually unrecognized lack of help in childbearing poor or overpriced recreational facilities or poor planning of neighborhood and suburban
environment inadequate adult education for second and third career possibilities. Lack of occupational mobility the threat of automation lack of a real sense of community breakdown of local government this lack of representation this and its distance from the people. These are some of the problems that white America has to address itself not so much in terms of the city but in terms of new suburbanites who will not be accommodated to the city unless somebody is speaking up for them too. And what happens on some of the bridge issues. Let's take education for example. Last year our a very good educator missed the mob or go who was the state education commissioner in New Jersey said something that practically every good educator and every good thinker in education has been sighing. And because he said something that was true the state of New Jersey turned from
a majority of Democratic legislators to an overwhelming majority of Republican legislators within a couple of months three to one Republican majority emerged because most a mob or go said that we cannot solve our educational problems unless we develop metropolitan school districts. And Governor Hughes who was on a boat with Governor Rockefeller on a bunch of other governors flew back immediately the very day Octomom Bergen made that statement and said no we don't really believe that. Everybody who knows the problem of the city school and knows the disparity between the financing of suburbs and the inadequate financing the city says some metropolitan school approach has got to develop. What was wrong with miss the mob or give statement to Magdeburg or raise a red flag and talk about organic unity. Long before people have had any experience with the goodies of metropolitan ization they've had only experience in the last few years with the baddies of living in the city. That's what they got away from.
Now how do intelligent people make mistakes like that. Richardson Dilworth did the same thing about a year before in Philadelphia and got his self completely wrapped up couldn't run for mayor again. These are creative affective good citizens important public officials. It's not an adequate understanding of who lives out there and what their needs are. That of talking about organic unity we've got to talk about those things that might happen in education that would perhaps cut into the present obsolescence. One of the things that is beginning to be discovered in the suburbs and ought to be talked about a great deal more all that those suburban kids who are running up on the college campus and raising all sorts of how they've been living not only a sheltered life but a life that is divorced from the kind of reality they suddenly face when they hit the
cosmopolitan center. And part of the dissatisfaction with the college atmosphere is really profound dissatisfaction with the narrowness and the homogeneity of their former existence. And I think you can begin to make inroads. Cross the lines in suburbia. We recently published a book called The powerful called the short chain children suburbia. It was a study on what is being taught in terms of race religion ethnic differences and the suburban schools and of course it was a shocking finding. While the kids are looking at television and the newspaper headlines of screeching and the reality of their lives through the media and through what they ingest through the media is all of these issues the tema at schools terrified to talk the kind of straight talk that is needed to talk the kind of concepts that the kids would warm up to. So one of the things is a heavy dose of reality
in suburban schools but that reality will never be real or really real until the kids who are isolated in the suburbs have some sort of contact with the kids from the city. Now I know there is an awful lot of sentiment against gradualism in a society but gradualism really is reality and is the way we do everything in spite of our rhetoric. So some of us have been advocating the creation of large scale educational Santas that bridge city and suburbs but have something to offer to both so that if it is true that the future of man will be directed to a large degree by a high scale computerization and new developments in the use of media and it is true that no suburban school district is rich enough and no city school district is surely rich enough at this particular point to create the kinds of mechanisms and let me explain
myself. This is not a plea for mechanization offer automation offer computerization. It is a thrust into the future which says that the whole information education and history is going to be transformed because there is a difference if I am teaching mock Twain. If I asked the kid to read the book which is fine but if I also am capable of pressing a few buttons on my desk which will bring through a retrieval library that's on a large scale campus through a tube. The closed circuit television all the television type of Mark Twain Tonight which we store about a year ago which was a magnificent television show really brought Mark Twain home to me in a way that's never been done before. If that is possible and it is technically possible to die now a school system worth a damn is going to be capable of staying away from it for too long especially one more affluent school system began to move this way and especially since the federal government
on the Title 3 of the education elementary education Secondary Education Act is ready to put up these kinds of resource centers. So I'm saying there has to be this kind of bridging a bridging which will find kids from the city in the suburbs using the same kinds of facilities perhaps not together all day. The idea of beginning to think in terms of centralization and decentralization at the same time. So that you have the what I would call the aspect of cultural identifying many kind of a school experience the same kind of experience perhaps that black kids want and need in terms of their own neighborhood their own sense of who they are and the ability to build up in terms of indigenous culture. But the same time not isolate from the mainstream. So what you may have is the kind of educational options that develop these high class technical centers for small kids by the
way. Recently in the Appalachian mountains it was learned that by computerization kids who were three years behind in the arithmetic game the three years and three months. These are findings that will not long be able to be denied. The same time they sent us do not have to be only mechanized they may become human relations sent to such a place where peoples will mix and where we will get to the point where we do not count whether or not I kid actually gains in terms of classic educational value in my educational. But if he gains in terms of the human values that we are beginning to build I mean Rush on because I say I'm using up an awful lot of my time I have 27 minutes on the tape. I will go further. When you begin to ask questions into all the strategies but a housing strategy since industry is now interested in
bringing industrial work is low skilled workers closer to where jobs are and since public policy demands it. And since we've seen that in Watts one of the major problems was this large scale distance and we developed bus lines. Some of us are thinking about a new form of industrial pock sponsored low low cost or middle cost housing so that if you get your Westinghouse as your General Electric's and whoever you have a POC. If they are being pushed by the urban coalition and they are being pushed by the business men's groups it may be possible for them to go into the housing business as well so that if you own a sub or apprentice tree in this cream may then become rate defined as not just industry but housing related. Industry by that I mean you'll build an industrial park and you build housing around it some people call it a company town. But if you can't get over the
chart of where a company town and get to the point where you see this as a protected sheltered kind of an atmosphere of giving people a chance on the step ladder of success where they get a guaranteed home and a guaranteed job for a particular length of time you're bringing people into the suburbs. People who ordinarily could not comment to the suburbs are I at the best possible circumstances and from that place that they begin that first rung on the lot of they may jump off into the economy as a whole. You heard Irving M. Levine director of the education and urban planning department of the American Jewish Committee as he spoke on the topic. The cities and the suburbs. Mr. Levine spoke at the annual conference of the Institute on man and science held in Rensselaer bill New York on our next program the speaker will be w Warren wager professor of history at the University of New Mexico. Professor wagers subject will be. The city of man in historical perspective.
These lectures are recorded by the Institute on man and science. The programs are prepared for broadcast and distributed by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives
A Voyage to South America
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on "A Voyage to South America" by Antonio De Ulloa and Jorge Juan.
Series Description
A series of comment and analysis about current affairs in Latin American countries.
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-3-36 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:21
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives; A Voyage to South America,” 1968-05-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 2, 2024,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives; A Voyage to South America.” 1968-05-20. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 2, 2024. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives; A Voyage to South America. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from