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There has been no great deal of thinking to. Having self-contained satellites. When I say that I mean areas that would not only provide the housing and community facilities but also the employment base right away from the central city. Any experience in our country however where this has been attempted it hasn't worked out that way. Generally the jobs are in the central area or dispersed throughout the metropolitan region. But we do not have a self-contained community as apparently is happening in several of our European countries. For example in Yugoslavia. There is a new town being built outside of the city of Belgrade and there is a river that separates Belgrade from this new city. And some of the people who were asked the
planners were asked how many bridges are you going to put across this river. And the response was very futile. Because we don't want to provide an ease of access. These are going to be two separate communities. The voice you just heard was that of Irving handed president of the American Institute of planners and our guest this week on the U.N. our Washington forum. This week a discussion of urban planning needs within the United States. This program was produced for national educational radio by WMU FM American University Radio in Washington D.C. I many our public affairs director Bill Green was. Our guest this week or Irving hand also serves as executive director for the Pennsylvania State Planning Board. He is a former director of the Nashville Tennessee Metropolitan Planning Commission. Mr hand the American Institute of planners of which you are president
recently hosted an international conference here in Washington. What was the purpose of that meeting. It was felt desirable to bring together representatives of the not only the American Institute of planners itself but representatives of the Allied professions and architecture and generic Education Ministry to discuss the issues of the day in terms of the environment of our society the problems that we face of physical economic and human resources and the nature of how these might be dealt with in a more current fashion and the issues as we face these in terms of long range planning and development. Can we break that down a little now exactly what were some of the key problems which the conference dealt with.
Well we all know we have the problems of our cities in terms of congestion in terms of pollution in terms of. Poverty in terms of human relations and the effort that is going on in dealing with these particular concerns. These are matters that have addressed themselves not only to the responsibilities of planners within the context of AI pay but in terms of what other organizations and the application of individual professional responsibilities through education through health and welfare people through the ministry through many programs and many individuals how the AIPAC the American Institute of planners began sawing these problems let's just first discuss the problem of housing in this country I understand we have a real serious deficiency there.
Terms of the planning responsibility really it is not only looking at it as far as the institute is concerned but what planners do in. Their responsibilities as individual planners in the nation. And here we are involved not only with a physical condition or in terms of seeing and adequate housing stock made available within the nation but an identification of what the composition of that housing need is for all people for all levels of income and incorporating this in some way with the national policies and the individual community policies in terms of public programs private investments that are involved in building housing and achieving its availability in the nation.
What about our slum problem Mr. Hand How how do you envision Salling that. Well here I think we find a situation that's going to take the best that all of us can offer certainly in terms of the work that a planner is concerned with in dealing with a total community. Identifying the magnitude of the problem the resources of the community that are available to deal with it is very much a part of his concern in the planning that goes on in that community. I think it very deeply involves the whole educational system that functions in the community. It is something that also reflects a an important participation of the health and welfare agencies in a particular community and the multiplicity of these programs in dealing with slum issues how or how do we how do we
achieve jobs for everyone who is involved in a slum area. How do we somehow. See an adequate expression of the values that these people have and the aspirations they have in terms of living a full life and expressing this in public decisions and in private decisions that are made in the community. Now you mention the actions that would have to include the health and welfare agencies how would education play a role in this. Well when we talk about jobs when we talk about income we talk about the capability that a person might have in terms of employment. And I think we can very quickly identify educational deficiencies as being a very severe handicap in terms of employment that would be available to an individual.
Your charging option becomes very important and in terms of the level of income that a person might achieve but thats on the longer range aspect of solving the problem I think we have to make it as short range as we possibly can. How do you cram education into someone in a pill form. I dont think you do it. I think this is a real tough problem. And in terms of taking perhaps as an adult. Population that has this handicap and trying to find a way in which these people can become employable I was at a meeting some time ago in which the whole subject of Transportation came up and the suggestion was made that perhaps one of the ways in which we can deal both with the transportation problem and the economic problem that is encountered with people in the slum area is by somehow breaking the taxicab franchise in a community and making cabs available to the lower income groups. These people
hopefully would know how to drive could perform a needed service would help meet the transportation need and perhaps place themselves in a better situation. Unemployment and income point of view the words my Kemal cab driver make them all cab drivers. That might solve some of the problem but I might add to some rather. Yeah. You mentioned transportation and that is equally an important problem which has been discussed here. What's the view on that of those professional planners in this country. Well I there's a great concern that we seem to have an imbalance in our transportation system. This is perhaps reflecting the value structure of the American public the flexibility the presumed convenience that an automobile or two or three in private ownership might yield. But as we take a look at the congestion that is building up in our communities at
the cost of the highway networks that have to be provided and the almost built in that built in inadequacy when new systems of expressways are opened up. We have become concerned. This is reflected in both federal policy as well as at other levels of government that other forms of transportation need to be explored and in this regard great attention is being given to the whole role of transit not only bus transit and communities that are not large metropolitan areas but mass transit in major metropolitan cities as well. And in dealing with these problems. And I think as was discussed by one of the speakers during the course of the conference Charles Haar of the Department of Housing and Urban Development research activities being undertaken in order to explore other ways of dealing with the
transportation issue and innovative techniques that might be employed over the years to come. There is a feeling that somehow we must achieve a breakthrough on techniques in transportation that would permit us to have greater flexibility and choice in modes of transportation and the use of those modes of transportation than it is presently the case with the overwhelming use of the automobile. I spent a lot of time in New York and I know many people there who don't even own cars because they can't find a place to park them and you know they can and it costs them just an exorbitant amount of money. Who do you foresee a period in our real large major cities where perhaps the population will abandon the use of automobiles in a very large proportion. Well you know you get the market mechanism that you've just described that applies in New York City where in a sense almost a deliberate
decision has been made to price the automobile out of Manhattan and in the sense of the cost of parking for example. But. We still find a great reliance on the automobile as the way of traveling other distances and the use by people who otherwise live in New York City. It would take some very deliberate public policy and private decision making I would suspect to reverse the trends that we've been experiencing for the last 20 or 30 years. By then I heard a good joke on that subject recently describing just about any of the major freeway systems going into a big city they call the wells part on that parking lot right. And are we coming to this or are we going to have to go to 12 16 18 lane highways.
Well from a technical point of view I think you would find an argument from engineers and highway designers that would question the efficiency of highway facilities of this magnitude. But this condition that you describe is perhaps the very kind of crisis that may make more power of all other modes of transportation in our highly developed highly concentrated urban areas and that may bring into larger use rail systems mass transit systems in a way that in some metropolitan centers at least up to this point in time has not been accepted. Another theory to saw not only the transportation but other problems which I've heard expounded recently is that of satellite cities to take the
population away from the central city and create these towns on the outside yes. What was the thinking of our professional planners on that subject. Well this is something of course that is regarded with considerable interest and considerable debate. The subject matter of Newtown some describe it or many cities as others describe it. There has been. A great deal of thinking to. Having self-contained satellites. When I say that I mean areas that would not only provide the housing and community facilities but also the employment base right away from the central city. Any experience in our country however where this has been attempted it hasn't worked out that way. Generally the jobs are in the central area or
dispersed throughout the metropolitan region. We do not have a self-contained community as apparently is happening in several of our European countries. For example in Yugoslavia there is a new town being built outside of the city of Belgrade. And there is a river that separates Belgrade from this new city. And some of the people who are asked the planners were asked how many bridges are you going to put across this river. And the response was very futile because we don't want to provide an ease of access. These are going to be two separate communities. Each one is going to have its employment base its economic base as well as the full range of living and community services. This is very different from the kind of new town development that has happened in this country.
We find examples of the Green Belt communities of rest and Colombia for example. But rest in Colombia depend very much on the Washington economy and there is a continual movement within the region. Some might be as bold to say that what we have here at best is a well designed physically integrated kind of urban development but not anything that has achieved the form of a completely developed new city. But these are more than bedroom cities are today. By saying one thing are what they are they are trying to provide the kind of economic base to which I have referred. Actually I have not been in existence or long enough to see this achieved. Last spring for example I visited Houston
Texas and there has been a new town development attempted. It's in process of development. They are immediately adjacent to the National Air Space Center the NASA's center. The idea of that Newtown was to provide a location where people would live who worked in Mass. It hasn't. That just hasn't been the case. The people who work so live all over Houston and the people who live in this new town work all over Houston. So there has been a complete intermingling of the economy in that area and the new town concept has not been as pure as. Perhaps we do see it in some sections of Europe. I think I recall doing a conference on planning for our country's development. Mention of opposition which has been raised by many
city governments when. Industries are wooed away the loss of tax revenue for the city. Would this play a role in what we're talking about this is this is a very tough one to face because many city governments do feel this is a very deep concern because their source of revenue is from the property tax industry leaves a particular community this affects the property tax and it takes a real statesman like view to feel that within a larger urban region wherever industry may locate itself if the if the area is economically strong the entire area gains money changes hands in many different ways. Shopping facilities residential developments of one kind or another the whole economy is healthy for the whole economy benefits the welfare rolls or allow this kind of business. But the guy who was elected to a city council. Sometimes it is
not able to function with that kind of statesman like the will and the yardstick is whether or not that particular industry is within the limits of his particular jurisdiction. And if it's not he's not getting anything out of it his community is not getting anything out of this. It's difficult to shift this kind of thinking into the larger context. Mr Irving hand would you say perhaps we might. Be in a better position if we revamped our state tax structures. I think this is very much not only the state tax structure but the tax structure generally speaking. I think this is one of the aspects of development in our nation which needs looking into very carefully in connection with the fiscal capabilities of local government the state government and federal government. Do you think the federal government should assume this as their major burden or it should be an equal sharing Have you had any thoughts.
Well on federal government of course it is moving in the direction of trying to find the kind of sharing with state and local government that would be equitable and terms of the redistribution of funds that come to the federal government from the people in the localities and in the States. And many programs have been very carefully examined in terms of the distribution formula and the redistribution of funds. But at a state and local level I think we're talking about a re-examination of the sister system of property taxation as well. And this would involve state action and local action to a large measure. On another subject if I may Mr. hand we heard the for the very phrase urban form you mentioned frequently during your conference on planning in America what is meant by urban form. Well let me try to respond to that this way.
The amenities of living the physical environment that provide satisfaction in terms of living choices open space the ability to get around with a minimum of inconvenience and congestion. The relationships between residential areas and the community facilities that service residential areas not having major highways barreling through residential districts all of these would be aspects and features of the urban form as it were. This would then include the aesthetic values and I think that this certainly would be a very large part of any value judgment that would be made by a person living in a community. Is it is it a pleasant place visually. Does he enjoy being there in terms of the physical surroundings that he has right now.
During your recent conference in Washington. The the role of the individual was brought out a great deal in addition to the problems of a physical brick and mortar type yes. And I would assume then that this comes into this urban form area. It would come into when he asked that sort of community activity community organisation community functioning in planning for the future what what deal is being given in terms of consideration to the human psychological outlook and needs and desires. We're trying to make the urban environment something that is satisfying to the individual trying to give the individual the greatest possible participation in the decisions that are made concerning his life and the environment within which he exists. These are some of the objectives that I think were emphasized during the course of the conference and in our mass society. It's a very complicated and difficult objective to achieve. But nevertheless one that we have to continually
strive for. Secretary of Agriculture ormal Freeman has been mildly critical of the fact that city planners seem to be neglecting the role of rural America in their projections for the future. This is a fact is this being neglected. Rao I think Secretary Freeman has introduced some thinking that is most refreshing in terms of trying to use the rural environment not in the sense of low density ease of population in the traditions of pastoral America but rather in terms of the revitalization of the small community and the satisfactions of life and living at a small community can give large segments of our population and trying to find a way in which to. Encourage and help small communities establish themselves grow and function in a viable way and provide a home and provide an option
in terms of where people will live where people will work and the life that they will select for themselves. I think this is essentially the position he was trying to suggest. I don't think Secretary Freeman is is espousing a back to the pharma movement as it were about I think he is trying to identify options to the kind of city life that we otherwise know particularly with reference to our large metropolitan cities. He's not trying to get people learn how to milk cows again and I'm not. Do you think this will work that people would like to leave their large busy active cities and return to a small community. I don't know I think this is something that we really have to have a lot more information about. I think people enjoy a certain level of cultural activity I think they want a certain level of recreational activity. I think they want the certain level of educational activity you know a certain level of
educational resources made available in the community in which they live. And it would this would have to be very carefully evaluated in terms of what can a small town really provide that a sophisticated population wants. This is part of the judgment that needs to be made now with the kind of transportation. The facility that we were referring to earlier and the rapidity with which people can get from one location to another within reasonable distances it may be that the values that I've just indicated do not need to be made available with the small town itself but if they are available in subway within a region that we can have an interplay of conditions of factors of considerations that might make small town living very palatable. For any solution to this problem you at the convention of the American Institute of
planners called for a Marshall Plan for the cities. Would you elaborate on what you man and what you feel is needed well here I think where referring to the conditions that we find in major urban centers today and a coordination of private investment that the many public programs that are being applied individually sometimes in a fragmented kind of way sometimes without complete coordination. Sometimes without sufficient support financial support in order to deal with these issues and it would it would take the kind of priority of commitment that the Marshall Plan involved in order to deal with these issues in a responsive way. President Johnson that is last formal news conference said when asked about the
same issue that he didn't think Congress would would go along with the Marshall Plan What do you think can be done to change the mind of Congress. These are very tough political judgments. And to me they reflect. The need for having a shared understanding of what the problems are what their urgency is the resources that are required to meet them and an agreement on the priorities in meeting them. And until we have that kind of mutual understanding and collective evaluation the president may feel one way Congress may feel another and we've got the makings of a good argument. Now you emphasize the word priorities and I recall you saying that during the conference on planning in this country. I'd like to hear more about that. What's wrong with our priorities.
Well it's a question of are we making a sufficient commitment to dealing with the problems of transportation in this country because transportation is so important in shaping what happens in our urban areas. Are we making a sufficient commitment in dealing with the housing conditions of this country because we have this desperate need in many of our slum and blighted areas. Are we making a sufficient commitment in dealing with the ghetto problems that we face the human relations problems that we face in this country at least to me are some of the priorities that we have to give a greater recognition of urgency to them. Thank you very much. You're welcome. Mr. Irving handed the president of the American Institute of planners and executive director of the Pennsylvania State Planning Board. Our guest this week on the NBER Washington forum. This program was produced for the national educational radio network by W am you FM American University Radio
in Washington DC. I'm an E.R. public affairs director Bill Greenwood inviting you to listen again next week for another edition of the NDR Washington forum a weekly program concerned with the significant issues before us as a nation. This is the national educational radio network.
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NER Washington forum
Urban problems
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Irving Hand, president, American Institute of Planners and executive director, Pennsylvania State Planning Board, on urban problems in America.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Greenwood, Bill
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Hand, Irving
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-39 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:36
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Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Urban problems,” 1967-12-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
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APA: NER Washington forum; Urban problems. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from