A Federal Case; 18
A. This is a federal case a weekly show that takes up an issue of government and takes a good look in Washington D.C. I am and still producing for the national educational radio network in which. Mr. Fife's tell me what you do. I'm a city planner architect and. Regional planner specialist and historic preservation guide to jack of all trades. You may be saying another well meaning somebody or other who's going to go on for quite a while about city planning or something in the slowest and lowest key voice possible. Well you're halfway right. Mr. Carr
off ice does not have the kind of voice that calls you to revolution or even to sit up in your chair. You've got to be interested in environmental problems to begin with or this program won't do much for you. Mr. Feist looks very professorial. He has a long beard. He smokes a cigar and he's anxious to make all his points just right. He also appeared before Congress several months ago at a house banking and currency committee meeting which was considering how to squeeze 75 percent of this country's population in the 4 percent of the land. Vice is chairman of a group called the new towns task force. He talked about it that day and he'll talk about it in just a minute. Before the congressman this man said that we Americans cannot continue to accept the lack of environmental quality in this nation. He went on to say that we're in revolt here and this revolt reflects many dissatisfactions one of the biggest is the quality of the
environment in which we live. Now you're going to hear Mr. FAEs explain something history of the new towns concept and what he's all about. You're president of the FAA. What's that. No I'm not president. I'm simply a member. I am a Fellow of the American History of arctics which is a very high honor given to some architects that worked in the architectural profession for a great many years. Is that why they are fellows there. Fellowships are awarded annually but only very few of them. So that this is a recognition I guess for many years of work that I've done in the field of housing so the planning and the architectural development. You know the head of something called the new towns task force. What is that and who
started it. Robert Lee the history of the new towers movement in this country is a very long and to me a very interesting one. The new town's task force is a committee of the urban design committee of the American Institute of Architects. But. It grows out of many years of work that some of us in the architectural profession have in the city planning profession have been doing to develop a more viable type of urban growth in this country than we have had before. Now vice is going to give a little of the history of the new towns concept in this country in Europe. You see back in the latter part of the last century in the early part of this one in Great Britain there was a
very strong movement to find a way of developing a rational growth of cities which would make it possible for those people who are living in slums. Workers in industrial areas to lead a better life. A This was a kind of a back to the farm movement in a sort with the idea that people could live and work together. In a pleasant environment with trees and fields and a and a good environment in which to raise their children a better one than is to be found in most cities so that there was just a movement towards what was called at that time new homes. Which has had very little
influence until recent years. Yes but after World War Two Great Britain built 14 new Tolman's by government enterprise with almost exactly the same objectives of design and location that was established by the earlier new towns. Planners in Britain itself at the same time in other parts of Europe particularly in Scandinavia and the Netherlands other new towns have been developing as well as in Israel. The other result is that Europe is far ahead of us. Now in this country we were settled by people who. Almost immediately upon landing built new toms and some of them were
well-designed and some of them were not. Some of the better known well designed and well planned ones where for instance the late 17th century port city of Annapolis Maryland or the city of Savannah which was laid out by General Oglethorpe in 1730 Corps and which was one of the finest and most beautifully planned cities of the Atlantic seaboard and all around the coast from from Maine down to Texas and on the West Coast. We have examples of well planned early settlements of this country which called New towns after the Spaniards built them. The French built them. They built and they plan Montreal in Quebec exceedingly well. They they were these were fortified cities but
they were well designed fortified cities. The British built many planned cities. The Dutch and the laying out of New Amsterdam and several others up the Hudson and the. Swedes down the Delaware in the vicinity of Newcastle and other places. What if every one of them who worked on the design of well planned new communities. Of course there were a lot of communities in early settlements which were not well planned and well designed and they were so bad planning went hand in hand with good planning. I could go on that someone can give you the historical background for a very real tradition of New Town Planning in this country. But what is I think most significant is that right after the Civil War that tradition died out and in the rush. Well it's it's very interesting and also I think very unfortunate
because in the rush for settlement in the Midwest in the West and with the tremendous influx of migrants all the planning control disappeared in both the well planned communities and in new communities that were being settled all through the valleys of the V country where the railroads ran wherever the boats were him. And the result was a tragic. Messing up of our urban places of the existing urban places and very badly designed settlements for the newcomers and therefore we have a kind of situation to be found in the in the valleys of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and Kentucky where their workers have moved into the mining areas and we have ribbons of slums at the bottoms of bottoms of valleys. Cities like Cleveland and
Detroit both of which were well planned to begin with. Cleveland was planned by most as Cleveland of Connecticut in 1796 based on very well designed early New England towns villages which although many many of which were planned most nearly everybody is familiar with the New England Green and they parade ground in the politically attractive little white village complexes. But he's moved out into Ohio in Michigan in the habit. But they were rapidly destroyed by the Industrial Revolution and today almost no trace of these original town plans are to be found except in the downtown. The street system of downtown Detroit and the public square in Cleveland for his butt and a few scattered villages are to be found in central Ohio or in southern Michigan. That's about all. The rest of it has been messed up by gigantic urbanization by the
by industrial slum slums and by speculative use of land of all kinds. Now here is really the point of what he's doing. The same type of urban growth that occurred before World War wasn't continued after and ride down continues right on down to the present time which is hit or miss unplanned growth which is destroying our countryside which is not creating good residential areas for our people and much not taking advantage of new technologies and which would make it possible for us to design and build communities much better than we have been doing so in my opinion we are way behind the Europeans who the designing variants and useful new communities. They're making great strides in avoiding the urban mess that we are constantly creating here. Oh they haven't completely prevented it of course but they are. There
are about alternatives that we do not have. And so therefore some of us have been working very hard to see whether we cannot develop a new communities program in this country and this is the reason for setting up the task force of American history to mark things are getting a major program off the ground with the federal government this year. What about recent examples. Private enterprise sort of things like Reston Columbia those are planned right. The first important new privately developed new tub that was started that embodied the best principles of contemporary design and which took advantage of the motor age was at a place called Reber New Jersey in the late 20s. The Raburn plant has
become the famous plan everywhere in the world. It's influenced every country that is designing new communities carefully. And what they're Radburn plan embodies is that it is what is called a super block is to say that instead of having just the old standard grid iron street system there is a large street a large block area which is designed to. Have any number of families depending on the size of the block all of whom live in houses and apartments that face an open green spaces in the center of the block. Schools and recreation areas are in the center of the block and it's possible for children to walk from their home has a way from the bottom will be away from the street using underpasses and overpasses where they have to cross streets to go to their school or to schools and playgrounds and
to the shopping areas as well as for the families who go to shopping areas as well without actually going out on the street. Now there is a complete separation of the desperate and automotive traffic and they Radburn plan has been so successful. It's been used in any number of well planned subdivision developments that have occurred over the past 25 years or so and in the new communities which are currently being built at both the two that you just mentioned Columbia and Reston which are in the suburbs of Washington D.C. He or in the case of Columbia might say halfway between Washington and Baltimore really in the suburbs but all of the advantages of the New Town Planning town scare plane getting getting the bill. What would it do for society. I don't stress the Newtown thing exclusive of
planned growth in many other ways. There are about five areas in which plant growth must take place in our total urban fabric. Now you're going to hear Feist talking about why there's a need for a whole new towns concept. The pack should be recognize that shortly after the year 2000 we will have doubled our population and this will mean that we must have double space for people to live in and working to play him and in which to get educated. It means that we've got to double all of these services and facilities the schools the hospitals the shopping facilities the industrial or employment centers. And we must provide enough roads for all the cars and we
expect that there are but it will still have cars of 30 or 40 years from now and that in other words we've got to be able to meet the thrust of a new United States built into an arm to the old one. Now if we are to continue this kind of urban development which we have been building which is best up the ladder scheme from Maine to Virginia all around the southern end of Lake Michigan has destroyed practically all of Southern California and a good part of central California is creating unbelievable problems in every major standard Metropolitan Statistical Area that says that's a census definition. Or for the larger cities of the country. And I challenge anyone to find me a large city in the country that hasn't been very badly impacted
by planned urban growth. I spent many years in Denver at the foot of the Rockies and was planning director endeavor for a number of years as a city official. I did everything I possibly could to stop the speculative development was occurring around the city which was unplanned and which that he said he was going to have to be responsible in the future. I failed miserably. Both as city planning director and then later as a member of the city planning commission it was up to the core of our city's rotting out. And there isn't one of them that hasn't got in a major slum areas which are creating serious social problems economic problems and which must be rebuilt and must be rebuilt well-played the well designed Soviet that idea of a new town in town is extremely important. When you say rebuild let me get you to be a little more specific about that rebuilt by government sponsored by private funds and rebuild for the residents who
now live in the housing on that site or for some other population or money. Well first of all we know that we must remove some standard buildings whatever they are whether they're residential commercial or investment. The tragic fires that have been reported in the papers just during the last week not only here but in other cities of poor people who have been living in crowded conditions and you know highly inflammable buildings. They say these situations must not continue in a civilized society such as ours or so-called civilized society. We shouldn't have endured it as long as we have we must have a major amount of attention to eradicating these unsafe and 7:07 tary overcrowded conditions for urban poor regardless of race and color.
Now whether the people who are in these areas should return to them after into the new housing or whatever is build in them will depend on the individual circumstances there are many of them living in locations where they should where they were housing should not exist down along the fence along the railroad tracks and industrial areas. We got any number of cities like Gary in the other or in our burg or defy the A listers Legion Laraque residence and industry all mixed up and most of the industry should be there in the resolution about it which is you have to find other places would be able to go. Now we get back to pro-government or as well. Private industry has never shown a capacity to do anything about that without he was and it is interesting. So therefore I think government has to move to find what kind of congressional support the city planners have gotten back.
You know that. Kember six the eight. A small group of us working with the Advisory Commission on intergovernmental relations got together to prepare legislation to be recommended to the Congress in the fall of 1969. The first meetings and drafts of this legislation which called for a national urban growth policy and policy that related specifically to to the design of new communities or the design of expanding cities and communities. This legislation was reviewed first at the headquarters of America's youth arctics on December 13 1968
that is later. Later meetings in January and in February we formed for them a National Committee on urban growth policy chaired by the ex-congressman Albert grains of all about the event. The committee met several times making use of this draft legislation that just spoke of them as a result of these meetings use the committee published a book called The new city which is available on bookshelves all throughout the country published by Praeger which contains the recommendations of the national committee on urban policy. That article is about a number of us who served and served on the committee of technical advisors. These recommendations are now being considered by
a subcommittee of the House banking and currency Committee under the chairmanship of Congressman Thomas Ashley of Toledo Ohio and hearings are going on on this at the present because the legislation is very complex. It provides for for a federal aid to. But what I might say there's a drop and so here the proposals are being made there's no specific legislation is such proposals are being made with to cover the kind of federal involvement that is appears to us to be absolutely mandatory at this time and this is means that the federal government would provide financial assistance through States to state corporations for the construction of new community in the number of spades. It was a good a great number of spades to the other and up and listed them would probably be for the country as a whole you describe some
greater good. Exactly what do you buy new ones. That's what we're trying to do what we were hoping to be of the years do. Make it possible for four urbanizing areas to make choices and as to how they can grow and make sound choices through regional planning that has teeth in it. And we're not we're not aiming at exclusively at isolated new towns. But I mention that there were five different kinds that were working towards and one of them is the new town in town which is the slum clearing situation. Another one is the idea of a planned subdivision of development that is really a new community but is part of urban growth. It's just the it's it's the suburban area but designed as a as a complete community. Then there are the satellite MUITO which the rest of them him the clubby are good examples there. They're part of a galaxy
of growth around big centers. They will have very substantial employment in them and they will have a very good cross-section of income and racial groups. We hope there will be some myself contained but also there will be quite a number of people who will commute into the central city or will who will commute to other centers in a satellite system. Then there will be those new community use a which would be the developed or older villages or small towns. Places would have to have growth possibility there since about Lee has been very much the system has been used in Great Britain. They take the existing villages and batten down. And then there will be the communities which are brown in brand new locations
completely isolated by themselves and which most out of their own will be will be and in every sense of the term. You know what's being said now the war is over. Young people and people in general all over the country are going around and around the constant thing and environment back in the valley here and interest in something like right now regard right I would hope the young people the country would come right it come from right along with us on this one because they are the first thing that we need to do is to find where not where we we're not supposed to build where we should not build and prevent urbanization from taking place in the wrong in the wrong parts of the country. So we don't destroy our resources or scenic resources or natural beauty or our or our resources and give up forests and good agricultural lands and so on.
There is plenty of room in the country for good growth in the right place. So I hope young people will be interested in this up because this is one of the most positive way who's approaching community problems. We have to rebuild America and we have to build a new America. Both of the U.S are really the jobs of the oncoming generation and they relate to the human environment the manmade environment related to the natural environment. The total ecological approach which is being discussed these days is the most in bro Portland approach that we can consider. We cannot go back to nature as it was 200 years ago. We can only build with nature and take nature with us but we've got to record recognize the fact that natural forces are working all around us all of the time and that the design and redesign of cities is a fundamental. The issue which the next
generation of the generations to come must work with. It's a great opportunity for young people who are excited interested in the welfare of mankind to see whether or not human habitation in conjunction with natural women with the natural conditions of the world can create a better kind of life than we've been able to provide in my generation and generations before. Notice in my next question Mr. Feist like plenty of other specialists and social problems is not just an optimist. You're going to hear this like so many others talk about all the good things that are going to happen when the Vietnamese War and over I'm not going to ask you if you think this could take place on the school level but would be appropriate and necessary. But I will ask if they will take place. Get ready for it. You know and it's kind of important and what we are anxious to do is to get a consensus of opinion on the part of
our leaders in this country regardless of who and where they are at and I'm happy to be able to report that I think that we have been able to teach because we've been wide open and above board on everything. We have no secrets and everybody has had copies of the aggressive legislation everyone has had a chance. Thus the red pencil to come up with better I do have and frankly I'm very optimistic. Well I don't I don't for a minute believe that we're going to get any substantial funding at this time. Much as is needed. But I think that will get your support for legislation and when the Vietnam War is under control we are really able be able to concentrate a little bit more on domestic problems we have. Do I believe that we will have a consensus on the part of both the Congress and the mystery
- A Federal Case
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- "A Federal Case" is a weekly program produced by the National Educational Radio Network which examines current political topics in the United States and Washington, D.C. Each episode features interviews with experts, members of the public, and lawmakers concerning a specific issue of government.
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Identifier: 69-38-18 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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