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Full text of "Planning problems of town, city, and region : papers and discussions at the ... National Conference on City Planning"

PLANNING PROBLEMS 

OF 

TOWN, CITY AND REGION 

PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS 

1927 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CITY PLANNING 
NEW YORK 




From the collection of the 



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Prelinger 

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San Francisco, California 
2006 



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PLANNING PROBLEMS OF 
TOWN, CITY AND REGION 



PLANNING PROBLEMS t '<$?'. 
TOWN, CITY, AND 



PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS 

AT THE NINETEENTH NATIONAL 

CONFERENCE ON CITY 

PLANNING 



HELD AT 

WASHINGTON, D. C. 

MAY 9 TO 11, 1927 



Published for the Conference by 

WM. F. FELL Co., PHILADELPHIA, PA. 

MCMXXVII 



': . :8'U'"i 



Reference 



551894 



SEP 29 



THE WHITE HOUSE 
Washington, D. C. 

May 9, 1927 



My Dear Dr. Nclen: 

I am sorry the pressure of public business prevented my accept- 
ing the kind invitation to address the National Conference on City 
Planning. So I must have recourse to this note for a word of wel- 
come and good wishes. 

Meeting here again after nineteen years, I hope your Conference 
will appreciate the progress made towards assuring for Washing- 
ton the benefits of all developments in the art of city planning. 
The work done and planned is aimed to make our National Capital 
a city of which all our citizens may be proud and a suitable expres- 
sion of our ideals and achievements. 

I have been especially interested in the application of far- 
sighted and comprehensive planning to the administration of the 
Nation's business. Your efforts to secure the application of this 
principle to the development of our rapidly growing towns and 
cities are deserving of the utmost success. I am sure your de- 
liberations will bring about an exchange of ideas and of experience 
which will be of mutual benefit. And I hope you will carry away a 
definite interest in the City of Washington and an enthusiastic 
determination to aid in the accomplishment of whatever may be 
necessary to make it worthy of our country. 

Very truly yours, 
(Sgd) CALVIN COOLIDGE. 

DR. JOHN NOLEN, President 
National Conference on City Planning 
Wardman Park Hotel 
Washington, D. C. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS PAOE 

Twenty Years of City Planning Progress in the United States. ..... 1 

John Nolen, President of the National Conference on City 
Planning. 

The Next Twenty Years in City Planning 45 

Lewis Mumford, Author, "Sticks and Stones," "The Golden 
Day." 

City Planning Progress in Canada 59 

Noulan Cauchon, Ottawa, Canada. 

City Planning: Its Meaning, Its Achievements, Its Future 61 

George McAneny, Member, New York City Committee on Plan 
and Survey. 

How City Planning Affects Real Estate Values 73 

John Ihlder, Manager, Civic Development Department, United 
States Chamber of Commerce. 

How City Planning Has Affected Land Values in Chicago 85 

Eugene S. Taylor, Director, Chicago Plan Commission. 
How City Planning Has Affected Land Values in the New York 

Region 91 

Lawson Purdy, New York, N. Y. 

Discussion 95 

The Economic Spiral 97 

The Problem of Concentrated Building Cubage in Our Cities, 
J. Rowland Bibbins, Consulting Engineer, Washington, D. C. 

Discussion 106 

Public Services which Require Regional Planning and Control Ill 

Nicholas S. Hill, Jr., Consulting Engineer, New York, N. Y. 
Public Services which Require Regional Planning and Control 

The Telephone 116 

H. L. Badger, General Manager, Bell Telephone Company of 
Pennsylvania. 

The Experience in the Los Angeles Region 126 

Gordon Whitnall, Director, Los Angeles City Plan Commission. 

Discussion 1 30 

Governmental Organization to Promote Regional Planning and 

Execution 136 

Frank H. Sommer, Dean, New York University Law School. 

The Planning Organization of the Niagara Frontier Region 141 

Howard E. Long, Secretary, Niagara Frontier Planning Board. 

Superhighways and Regional Planning 150 

Colonel Sidney D. Waldon, Chairman, Detroit Rapid Transit 
Commission. 

Regional Highways 167 

Henry Ames Barker, Chairman, Providence City Plan Commis- 
sion. 

Regional Highways and Parkways in Relation to Regional Parks. . . 175 
Thomas Adams, General Director, Regional Plan of New York 
and Its Environs. 

vii 



viii TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

How to Acquire Parks and Other Open Spaces 181 

Alfred Bettman, Attorney, Member, Cincinnati Plan Com- 
mission. 

Subdivision Control 193 

A Report by a Committee of the American City Planning 
Institute, Presented by Morris Knowles, Chairman, of Pitts- 
burgh, Pa. 

Discussion 201 

Development of the National Capital and Its Environs 206 

The Development of the Plan of Washington 206 

Lieut. Col. U. S. Grant, 3rd, Executive Officer, National Capital 
Park and Planning Commission. 

Bringing the L'Enfant Plan Up to Date 213 

Charles W. Eliot, 2nd, City Planner for the National Capital 
Park and Planning Commission. 

The Nation's Interest in the Nation's Capital 220 

Frederic A. Delano, President, American Civic Association, 
and Member, National Capital Park and Planning Com- 
mission. 

The Part of the Municipal Authorities 222 

Lieut. Col. J. Franklin Bell, Engineer District Commissioner. 

The Government Buildings Group 225 

Edward H. Bennett, Consulting Architect to the Secretary of 
the Treasury. 

The ^Esthetic Value of City Planning in the National Capital 228 

Milton B. Medary, Jr., President, American Institute of Archi- 
tects, and Member, National Capital Park and Planning 
Commission. 

The Importance of Community Recreation Centers in Connection 

with Park Development 230 

Frederick Law Olmsted, Bropkline, Mass., Fellow, American 
Society of Landscape Architects, Member, National Capital 
Park and Planning Commission. 

Economic Saving in City Planning 241 

J. C. Nichols, Ex-President, National Real Estate Board, and 
Member, National Capital Park and Planning Commission. 

Progress in Architectural Control 248 

Charles H. Cheney, City Planner, Los Angeles. 

Legal Authority for Architectural Control 269 

Elvon Musick, Attorney, Los Angeles. 
Discussion 283 

Resolutions Adopted by the Conference 287 

Organization of the Twentieth Conference . . .289 



TWENTY YEARS OF CITY PLANNING PROGRESS 
IN THE UNITED STATES 

PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS 

JOHN NOLEN, Cambridge, Massachusetts 

A review of the annual city planning progress has been made at 
these conferences from year to year. It has been suggested, how- 
ever, that it might be valuable at this Washington meeting to take 
a longer view and attempt a somewhat different survey a sort 
of bird's-eye or aeroplane view for a period of twenty years, 
because this period, from 1907 to 1927, it should be pointed out, 
has in some respects a natural unity, and represents the rapid rise 
and development of the present movement for city planning in the 
United States. 

City planning is a large subject, and the data extensive and 
complex, much of it not yet assembled. This review does not pre- 
tend to completeness. The inquiry must confine itself largely to 
impressions and opinions based upon an examination and compari- 
son of some significant facts. The subject is introduced in this 
necessarily preliminary fashion in the hope that it will arouse 
sufficient interest to lead to more thorough examination and study. 

What, then, are the tests of progress in city planning? One 
test would be to list the number of cities replanned, the degree of 
success in carrying out the plans, and the amount of money spent 
in the execution of the work; the number of zoning ordinances 
adopted, and their standards; to consider also the planning and 
development of new communities villages, suburbs, towns and 
cities; to review city planning legislation and its control of many 
of the activities of cities; to refer to favorable court decisions, 

1 



2 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

and to examine the form and efficiency of city planning organi- 
zationslocal, regional and national. This would be one method 
that obviously should be followed, and no one could seriously put 
a fair appraisal upon such tests as these represent without getting a 
valuable even if somewhat indefinite notion of city planning prog- 
ress, and the results of such an appraisal would be gratifying. 

Comparison might also be made profitably with the progress of 
city planning in Europe during the same period. Similarity and 
differences would be disclosed. The skyscraper problem does not 
yet exist in Europe to any great degree, and the private automo- 
bile is still limited, nearly 90% of all the passenger cars produced 
in the world being used in the United States. Europe's methods 
of making cities beautiful and keeping them so, and progress in the 
building of "garden cities'* and low-cost homes, could not fail to 
be instructive. 

Another method of measuring the progress of city planning dur- 
ing this twenty-year period would be to test the changes, favorable 
or otherwise as they may be, in certain fundamental objectives of 
municipal effort, and try to see how far city planning has influenced 
them. A wiseacre of Broadway has said, "There are many things 
in this life that are better than money, but it takes money to get 
them." So one might say, there are many things in city life that 
are more important than city planning reports, legislation and 
judicial decisions, but it takes city planning to get these better 
things. Therefore a test should be made that would concern itself 
with public health, well-being and safety, with sunlight and the 
quality of urban air, with efficiency and economy, with conveni- 
ence in the transaction of business, with better facilities in com- 
munication, with the increase of comfort and beauty, with new 
opportunities for fun and amusement, and with the fitness of cities 
as an environment for new generations. This method of testing 
progress is more difficult to apply, but it is more searching and in 
some respects more vital. We may be able to show that there has 
been a great increase in the number of cities replanned and in the 
organization of city planning agencies. We may be able to point 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 3 

with some pride to the passage of laws favorable to the application 
of city planning. We may record an advance in public opinion. 
And yet the question may remain, are we on the whole moving 
forward or not in our control of city conditions as illustrated by 
health, safety, efficiency in business, convenience, beauty and 
pleasure, and are these tendencies in cities for better or for worse? 
We must estimate the power and trend of forces that are working 
against progress, either because of economic laws and changes, 
selfishness and greed, vested interests or established practice. 
Have we shown a mastery of new conditions by adopting new 
methods of replanning and reconstructing cities? 

Moreover, in a subject such as city planning, tests of progress 
are not absolute, but comparative and relative. Present condi- 
tions must be compared with previous conditions. We must line 
up the past as clearly, accurately and vividly as we can, and see 
what contrast the present affords. But even that is not enough. 
We must compare the present also with reasonable standards for 
the future. An ideal element must be introduced, not in the sense 
of the perfect, but conditions must be visualized that are reason- 
ably efficient, convenient, safe, happy and beautiful, and these 
conditions must be provided for all city dwellers and not merely 
for a favored few. 

Still another method of judging the progress of city planning, 
and taking satisfaction in it or not, is to compare it with progress 
in other fields during the same period; for example, to mention 
only the more important and those directly or indirectly related to 
city planning. We should examine progress in engineering and 
architecture, in the erection of the high building, in public utilities, 
in the automobile and the aeroplane, in good roads, in the radio 
and wireless telegraphy, aeroplane photography and the arts of 
building, in electricity, in the equipment of the home, and in the 
means and methods of warfare. During the period from 1907 to 
1927 the world has leaped forward especially in the mechanization 
of life. Progress has been prodigious. Has city planning had its 
share ? 



4 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

An examination of twenty years of city planning in the United 
States is undertaken in this open-minded, liberal spirit and from 
these various points of view. It presents first, as a background, a 
brief survey of municipal and civic conditions in 1906 and 1907, 
then a suggestive city planning record of what was done during 
the two decades following, and the forces or influences that helped 
to make that record. Finally, a word in conclusion as to the prob- 
lems that still confront cities, and the extent and kind of progress 
that is needed and that may reasonably be sought in the future. 



CONDITIONS TWENTY YEARS AGO 

Large movements do not spring suddenly into being. City 
planning is no exception. The roots of the present movement, 
with its peculiar problems, extend back at least to the World's 
Fair in Chicago. In the decade following, contributions toward 
better and broader planning were made by organized groups of 
architects, engineers and landscape architects; by the housing 
betterment leagues; the Outdoor Art Association and the Ameri- 
can League for Civic Improvement, both of which were later 
merged into the American Civic Association. 

But in order to measure the character and extent of twenty 
years' progress in city planning, we must attempt to set down 
some of the existing conditions in American municipalities in 
1906 and 1907, especially those conditions which influenced the 
rise and development of city planning. Here are some of the main 
facts. 

About twenty years ago there were 135 cities of 30,000 or more 
in the United States, and there were 19,050,921 persons living in 
these cities. Today there are 248 cities, and 39,981,105 popula- 
tion,* so that there has been an increase of 113 cities (of 30,000 or 
more) and 20,930,184 population. The query here, which we must 
consider later, is what influence has city planning had upon the 

* Figures are from 1924 statistics. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



distribution of this increased urban population of over twenty 
million. 

COMPARATIVE POPULATION STATISTICS 





IS 


120 


1< 


?00 


Classes of Places 


Number 
of Places 


Popu- 
lation 


Number 
of Places 


Popu- 
lation 


Total Population of the U. S. 




105,710,620 




75,994,575 


Urban territory 


2,787 


54,304,603 


1,801 


30,380,433 


1,000,000 or more 




10,145,532 




6,429,474 


500,000 to 1,000,000 


9 


6,223,769 


3 


1,645,087 


250 000 to 500,000 


13 


4,540,838 


9 


2,861,296 


100,000 to 250,000 
50,000 to 100,000 


43 
76 


6,519,187 
5,265,747 


23 
40 


3,272,490 
2,709,338 


25,000 to 50,000 


43 


5,075,041 


82 


2,800,627 


10,000 to 25,000 


459 


6,942,742 


280 


4,338,250 


5 000 to 10,000 


721 


4,997,794 


468 


3,220 766 


2,500 to 5,000 


1,320 


4,593,953 


893 


3,103,105 


Rural territory. . 




51,406,017 




45,614,142 


Incorp. places less than 2,500. . . 
Other rural territory 


12,905 


8,969,241 
42,436,776 


8,930 


6,301,533 
39,312,609 



The wealth of the United States was then one hundred billion 
dollars. It is now about four hundred billion dollars. This new 
wealth has made great changes in the character of cities. Has a 
proportional share of it been used for improvements based upon 
better city planning? 

Progress in city planning depends upon the form and efficiency 
of city government. Twenty years ago the city commission idea 
had just been broached, and there were no "city manager plan" 
American cities. There are today more than 350 American cities 
employing the city manager plan, credit for which is due largely 
to the National Municipal League. Advance in city planning is 
undoubtedly directly dependent upon the efficiency, success and 
ideals of municipal government. 

It is difficult to present briefly an impression of the general con- 
ditions existing in American cities twenty years ago, but even a 
few references may help. In 1904 Lincoln Steffens published his 
"Shame of the Cities," with chapters on graft and corruption in 
St. Louis, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago and 



6 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

New York; and in 1906 his volume on "The Struggle for Self- 
Go vernment," dedicated to the Czar of Russia. About the same 
time appeared "The Battle with the Slum," by Jacob Riis, and 
other books and articles dealing with municipal reform. City 
government was at a' low ebb, but an awakening was in sight, pre- 
paring the way for better local government and better planning. 
Charles Zueblin published "A Decade of Civic Development" in 
1905, and his "American Municipal Progress" in 1916. These 
books of Lincoln Steffens, Jacob Riis, Professor Zueblin and 
others, give a sufficient basis for recalling the general municipal 
conditions in American cities twenty years ago, and comparing 
them with the conditions of today. 

During the years 1914-1918 the World War was fought. It 
influenced life profoundly, and left its permanent impress upon 
cities and the problems that we group roughly under such terms as 
city planning or regional planning. 

The most revolutionary factors, so far as American city life and 
city planning are concerned, are, however, still to be mentioned; 
namely, the building of the skyscraper and the bewildering in- 
crease in the manufacture and use of motor vehicles. 

The coming of the skyscraper is generally attributed to the first 
decade of the twentieth century, the Flatiron Building in New 
York being erected in 1902, the Singer Building in 1908, the Metro- 
politan Life in 1909, and the Woolworth Building in 1913. 

Some statistics and references regarding motor vehicles follow. 
Their influence upon American city planning is almost beyond 
estimate. 

In 1905 there were but 24,550 passenger cars produced, as com- 
pared with 3,839,302 in 1925. 

In 1905 there were but 450 trucks produced, as against 497,452 
in 1925. 

In 1905 only 77,400 passenger cars were registered, as compared 
with 17,512,638 in 1925. 

In 1905 only 600 trucks were registered, contrasted with 2,441,- 
709 in 1925. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 7 

It is estimated that at the close of 1926 there was a total motor 
vehicle registration of 22,330,000. 

Twenty years ago the Ford car was unknown, the first being 
manufactured in 1908. On January 1, 1926, there were registered 
in the United States 8,164,275 Ford cars, exclusive of Ford trucks. 

When we turn to city planning itself, what do we find twenty 
years ago? The answer is, almost nothing. With the exception 
of the McMillan plan for a comprehensive park system for Wash- 
ington (1901), prepared by a distinguished group, Burnham's 
Plan for San Francisco (1905), and a few tentative and unofficial 
efforts, no comprehensive city plans, no master plans, as we think 
of them today, had been prepared. There were no city plan com- 
missions; the idea of the civic survey was unknown, as was re- 
gional planning also; no zoning ordinances restricting heights and 
use of buildings had been passed;* there was no National Con- 
ference on City Planning and no American City Planning Insti- 
tute; no teaching of city planning in technical schools or colleges; 
and virtually no books or other publications of note on this sub- 
ject. Moreover, there was no interest in city planning among the 
people generally, except so far as it was beginning to express itself 
in a wider discussion of the "city beautiful" in connection with 
civic centers and parks and playgrounds. 

RECORD OF PROGRESS IN CITY PLANNING, 1907-1927 
Stock taking is profitable, but in a subject like city planning it 
is difficult to make it really significant. We must set down not 
only facts but tendencies, and we must also endeavor to find the 
causes of both good and bad results, or of no results. 

No statement is more important to emphasize and establish 
than that city planning lor regional planning, to be of greatest 
value, in fact to justify the use of the term, should be compre- 
hensive, related and coordinated. But while planning should be 
comprehensive, the improvements themselves must be carried out 

* The Commission on Height of Buildings, authorized by the Massachusetts 
Statutes of 1904 and 1905, was empowered to designate height zones only. 



8 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

separately from time to time, in accordance with the general 
scheme. The test of progress, therefore, must be made in each 
subject, but the character of the improvement itself should be 
scrutinized to see whether it is an integral part of an orderly and 
organic plan, a plan that is masterly in its control. Such tests 
should be applied to plans for major streets, railroads and traction 
lines; for parks, playgrounds and other open spaces; for water- 
fronts, civic centers, housing, etc. The character and quality of 
these changes and improvements should be tested, first with re- 
gard to fitness and economy in accomplishing their purpose, and 
secondly, a proper regard for appearance and for the preservation 
or increase of amenities. 

It is not feasible in a brief address to enumerate in any detail the 
progress made in city planning in two long and busy decades, nor 
is it called for. Annual reviews of great merit have been made 
regularly from year to year by the secretary and various members 
of the City Planning Conference, by Mrs. Henry V. Hubbard and 
others, and the detail record is an honorable one and worthy of 
further study. It would seem to be possible, however, to review 
briefly in a single address those main factors which mark the 
extent, character and quality of city planning progress. What 
does the record of twenty years show? The gist of it is given here, 
and the statistics in the supplement to this paper. 

The record shows that 176 cities, with a population of over 
25,000,000, have been broadly replanned, for most of which the 
accompanying reports have been printed. These plans include 
cities in every state in the Union with the exception of Arkansas, 
Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New 
Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Ver- 
mont and Wyoming. The greatest number of plans were prepared 
for cities of 50,000 to 100,000 population. The number for various 
population groups is as follows: 




o- 



fl 

6 

I 



1 



s 

o- 



10 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

No. of Planned 
Population Cities 

1,000,000 or more 2 

500,000 to 1,000,000 8 

250,000 to 500,000 12 

100,000 to 250,000 22 < 

50,000 to 100,000 35 

25,000 to 50,000 28 

10,000 to 25,000 25 

5,000 to 10,000 13 

2,500 to 5,000 6 

Under 2,500 6 

Recent figures increase the total to 176 

Among these cities mention should be made of striking city 
planning progress in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. 
Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, Dallas, Cincinnati, the New York 
Region, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Akron, Flint, 
Detroit, Asheville, Philadelphia and Boston. This list could easily 
be extended to include scores of other cities. Those named are 
simply typical examples to render the reference more concrete. 

Official zoning ordinances have been adopted by 525 cities, 
almost three times the number of cities for which comprehensive 
plans were prepared. One-half the urban population of the United 
States is now living in zoned cities. All states have zoned cities 
except Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, 
South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming, New 
York State leading with 89. 

City planning commissions have been established in 390 cities, 
with a population of over 30,000,000. There are city planning 
commissions in every state with the exception of Arkansas, Idaho, 
Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota. In Massa- 
chusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Indiana and Kansas 
state planning organizations in one form or another have been 
formed as federations of these city planning commissions. In 
Massachusetts planning boards are made mandatory in every city 
and town of 10,000 or more. In Pennsylvania city plan commis- 
sions are authorized in cities of the first, second and third class. 
In New Jersey plan commissions are authorized in municipalities of 
every class. In New York plan commissions are authorized in all 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 11 

cities and incorporated villages. Cities in many states have been 
given more right to acquire land and a better chance to pay for it: 
in Massachusetts under the constitutional amendment adopted in 
1911, which incorporates the principle of excess condemnation; in 
Ohio under the constitutional amendment adopted in 1912, pro- 
viding for excess condemnation and the right to distribute the cost 
of improvements on specially benefited territory; and in Wis- 
consin and New York by a constitutional amendment allowing 
excess condemnation adopted by two legislatures and submitted 
to the people in 1913. 

During this period important city planning legislation has been 
passed and judicial decisions of great importance and influence 
rendered. The constitutionality of zoning has been upheld by 
the highest courts of California, New York, Arkansas, Illinois, 
Oregon, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Ohio, 
Minnesota and Kansas. The Supreme Court of the United States 
upheld zoning recently in an important decision in the Euclid 
Village case. 

The National Conference on City Planning was organized in 
1910, preceded by a preliminary meeting and exhibition at Wash- 
ington in 1909. Since that date annual sessions have been 
held without a break at the following cities: Rochester, Philadel- 
phia, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas 
City, St. Louis, Niagara Falls and Buffalo, Cincinnati, Pitts- 
burgh, Springfield (Mass.), Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, 
St. Petersburg and Palm Beach, and now at Washington, D. C. 
Most appropriately the Conference is returning this year to Wash- 
ington for its present session. A volume of proceedings containing 
valuable papers and discussions has been published each year. 
Since 1907 city planning exhibitions have been held in many cities. 
Especially important were those at Philadelphia, 1911; Chicago, 
1913; New York, 1913; Boston, 1915; St. Paul, 1919; St. Louis, 
1921; New York, 1925. These annual conferences and the main- 
tenance of a central office and the work of organization through the 
year between conferences have involved in all the collection and 



12 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

expenditure of a sum under a hundred thousand dollars. In other 
words, less than $6,000 per year. It is a great record of achieve- 
ment at small cost, and gratifying beyond words. 

The American City Planning Institute was organized in 1917 to 
"study the science and advance the art of city planning." It has 
held seventeen useful sessions, discussing such topics as "Zoning," 
"Town Planning Lessons from Government Housing Operations," 
"Neighborhood Needs and the Methods of Determining Them with 
Especial Reference to Zoning," "Combination of Zoning and 
Planning Powers in Unbuilt Areas," "Regional Planning," "Plan- 
ning Control of Unsubdivided Areas," and "Small Parks for Play- 
grounds." The Institute is now entering upon a period of still 
greater usefulness. 

City planning publications of value in the form of books, maga- 
zines, pamphlets, reports and articles have appeared increasingly 
during the last two decades. The rate of progress that has been 
made has been due in part to these publications. Those of most 
permanent value covering the subject comprehensively are listed 
in the supplement to this address. Among these publications are 
books entitled "Carrying Out the City Plan," "City Planning A 
Series of Papers Presenting the Essential Elements of a City Plan," 
"The Law of City Planning and Zoning," "The Planning of the 
Modern City: a Review of the Principles Governing City Plan- 
ning," "Manual of Information on City Planning and Zoning, 
including References on Regional, Rural and National Planning," 
and "Land Planning in the United States for City, State and 
Nation." The City Planning Quarterly, an authoritative and 
official journal, was inaugurated in 1925. 

Special mention should be made of the publications of the De- 
partment of Commerce, prepared under the initiative and auspices 
of the Secretary, Mr. Herbert Hoover. They are as follows: A 
Standard State Zoning Enabling Act, 1922 and 1926; A Proposed 
Standard City Planning Enabling Act, 1926; A City Planning 
Primer, 1927; also the valuable reports of the Conference on Street 
and Highway Safety. 



\jo 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 13 

r" A great advance has been made in education in city planning in 
v high schools, colleges and technical institutions. Regular courses 
fiii city and regional planning are given at the University of Oregon 
for architects; at Iowa State College for landscape architects; 
Harvard University for landscape architects; at the Massa- 
~A:husetts Institute of Technology for architects; at the University 
of Michigan for landscape architects, and at the University 
Illinois. In addition to these regular courses, lectures on city 
/ /planning are given at many other schools and colleges. 
II J Progress in city planning depends upon the cooperation of the 
[f\ technical groups directly concerned with the physical planning; 
/J /namely, engineers, architects and landscape architects. There 
has been a steady advance in such cooperation. Joint meetings 
have been held by the National Conference on City Planning and 
^xthe American City Planning Institute with all the professional 
j societies representing these technical groups. Special mention 
should be made of the now large and active City Planning Division 
the American Society of Civil Engineers. There has also been 
cooperation with the American Institute of Architects, the Ameri- 
can Society of Landscape Architects, the Architectural League of 
jf New York, the American Civic Association, the Federated Societies 
JLl on Planning and Parks, the International Federation for Housing 
^and Town Planning, the National Automobile Chamber of Com- 
s~* merce, the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety, the 
School of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, the Conser- 
vation Commission of Canada, the Town Planning Institute of Can- 
ada, the National Municipal League, and the National Association 
>f Real Estate Boards, the most important work of the latter being 

Joint Committee for the Regulation of Land Subdivision. 
r Another test of progress is the building of new towns and cities 
or the extension of cities by laying out important suburbs. These 
/^developments might be termed garden suburbs, garden cities, or 
satellite towns. A list of some thirty-five new communities or 
rtant suburbs of a high order is appended to this address, 
including such developments as Biltmore Forest in North Carolina; 



14 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri; Forest Hills 
Gardens, Long Island; Gary, Indiana; Goodyear Heights, Akron, 
Ohio; Mariemont, Ohio; Myers Park, Charlotte, North Carolina; 
Palos Verdes, California; Roland Park, Baltimore; Sunnyside, 
New York; Venice, Florida; and Windsor Farms, Richmond, 
Virginia. In addition, "War Towns'* to the number of about 70 
are deserving of special mention. 

The scope and character of city planning itself has changed in 
these twenty years. The local survey and the collection and inter- 
pretation of reliable data have become an essential part of good 
work. Facts and not guesses are the basis of recommendations. 
Plans and reports have been steadily improving. There is an advance 
in quality. The list of topics has been increased and the field has 
been widened to include regional, state and even national planning. 

What forces are back of this record of the last twenty years' 
progress in city planning? Great changes do not come without 
important reasons. It is worth while to ask, therefore, what in- 
fluences are behind these changes in cities, from the city planning 
point of view, during the period under discussion. They may be 
summarized in this fashion: Increase in population and wealth of 
cities themselves; improvement in the form of city government, 
especially city commissions and the city manager plan; improve- 
ment in the technique of city planning, resulting from professional 
courses; publications, conferences and discussions, notably those 
of technical planning organizations and the American City Plan- 
ning Institute; the World War, which has left a permanent 
impress upon city planning both directly and indirectly; the 
mechanization of life, especially the skyscraper and the automobile; 
public opinion, influenced by newspapers, books and periodicals, 
Chambers of Commerce, men's luncheon clubs, women's organi- 
zations, the American Civic Association, the National Housing 
Association, the 'National Municipal League and other national 
organizations; the change in the point of view of realtors with 
regard to land and planning; and the work of local city planning 
commissions and of the National Conference on City Planning. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 15 

New movements can nearly always be traced to the initiative of 
individuals or groups of individuals. So it has been with city plan- 
ning. There is no room to mention here the living who have 
participated actively in city and regional plan making during the 
last twenty years. But the opportunity to honor the dead is rare, 
and it is not inappropriate in a long review of city planning progress 
to pay tribute to the five men who during this period rendered 
exceptionally distinguished service, and who are no longer with us. 
They are, first of all, Daniel H. Burnham, architect and planner of 
cities, whose life has been so well told by Charles Moore. He had 
signal success as a pioneer in this field, because of his imagination 
and courage. The touchstone of his work is Chicago, which he 
saw in his dreams as the finest city in which to work and live. The 
earliest pioneer of this period, perhaps, was Charles Mulford 
Robinson, widely known adviser in city planning, author and 
Professor of Civic Design in the University of Illinois. His book, 
"The Improvement of Towns and Cities," appeared in 1907, and 
was the first important volume of its kind to be published in this 
country. He was a versatile adviser to numerous communities 
throughout the country, rendering a timely service to the cause of 
modern city planning in its earliest days. George E. Kessler's 
work was largely in the Middle West, with offices at St. Louis. He 
prepared and executed city plans for many places, but the Kessler 
Plan for Dallas, in which city he lived as a boy, will probably be 
his most enduring monument. Another unforgettable name is that 
of Nelson P. Lewis, who gave all that was best in a long life of 
public service to the better planning and building of cities, notably 
that of New York in the responsible position as Chief Engineer of 
the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. His work stands as an 
example of what technical training and experience, combined with 
rare gifts of mind and character, make possible in the service of an 
American municipality. As President of the National Conference 
on City Planning and American City Planning Institute, from 
1919 to 1921, he was a leader of the city planning movement in 
this country, contributing in innumerable ways to its steady 



16 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

advance. The last name to honor is that of Charles D. Norton, 
first associated actively with the great plan of Chicago, and later 
the inspiring chief of the Regional Plan of New York and its 
Environs, displaying a rare combination of business sense, com- 
prehension of the possibilities of broad planning for city and region, 
bold imagination and idealism. His objectives, as he expressed 
them, were to end waste in cities; to bring order out of disorder; 
to make convenience and thrift take the place of congestion and 
waste; to realize the potentialities of commerce and industry, as 
well as of beauty, comfort and pleasure. His death in 1923 was 
untimely, but others of distinguished ability have arisen to carry 
on what he so well inaugurated. 

As a final feature of this record of twenty years* progress in 
city planning, a list is here given of city planning landmarks, set- 
ting forth events and publications of exceptional importance either 
because of their priority or by reason of the influence they exerted 
on city planning afterwards. 

LANDMARKS 

1907 General city planning reports were published for New York, 
St. Louis, Roanoke, Greenville, Grand Rapids and Du- 
buque. 

* 1907 Hartford organized the first city planning commission in 

the United States. 
*1907 In Boston the Metropolitan Improvement Commission 

was appointed. 
*1909 The group that in 1910 became the National Conference on 

City Planning met for the first time, in Washington, D. C. 

* 1909 Organization of American Federation of Arts. 
1909 The Burnham Plan of Chicago was published. 

*1909 The Chicago Plan Commission was established. 

*1909 A course in City Planning was commenced at the Harvard 

School of Landscape Architecture. 
1909 The first copy of the American City Magazine appeared. 

* 1911 The National Housing Association held its first conference. 
*1912-Wacker's "Manual of the Plan of Chicago" was adopted 

as a textbook in the public schools. 
* Events are starred. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 17 

*1913 The Housing and Town Planning Exhibition took place 

in Chicago. 

*1913 The National Commission of Fine Arts was appointed. 
1914 "Carrying Out the City Plan" was published. 
1914 "Housing and Town Planning" came out in the Annals of 

the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 
1915 The quarterly "The City Plan" published its first copy. 

* 19 16 New York adopted the first comprehensive American zon- 

ing ordinance. 

1916 The National Municipal League brought out a volume, 
"City Planning," containing a series of authoritative 
papers on the essential elements of the city plan. 
*1917 The American City Planning Institute was organized. 

1917 "City Planning Progress in the United States" was pub- 
lished by the American Institute of Architects. 

* 19 18 War town work was started by the United States Shipping 

Board and the United States Housing Corporation. 

* 1921 Adoption of a Report by the National Association of Real 

Estate Boards sponsoring planning and zoning. 
1922 The Advisory Committee on City Planning of the United 
States Department of Commerce published its "Standard 
State Zoning Enabling Act." 

*1922 The New York Regional Plan was undertaken by the 
Russell Sage Foundation. 

* 1923 The Commission of Housing and Regional Planning was 

created in the State of New York. 

* 1923 -The St. Louis bond issues for $88,372,500 were passed. 
1923 The "Manual of Information on City Planning and Zon- 
ing" was published. 

* 1925 The National Capital Parks and Planning Commission 

was established. 
*1925 In Santa Barbara the Architectural Board of Review was 

established. 
*1925 In New York the International Federation for Housing and 

Town Planning met for the first time in the United States. 
1925 "City Planning," the quarterly, issued its first copy. 
*1926 The National Conference on City Planning was associated 

with the Federated Societies on Planning and Parks. 

* 1926 The Euclid Village decision of the United States Supreme 

Court was favorable to the legality of zoning. 

* Events are starred. 



18 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

CONCLUSION 

A number of interrelated municipal problems, general in char- 
acter, still cry out for solution, as everyone knows who thinks at all 
about the conditions existing today in the modern city, notably 
the city of large population. For example: 

How to relieve traffic congestion and increase safety in city streets. 

How to relieve congested working and living conditions. 

How to give to city dwellers in office, factory and home more 
sunlight and better air. 

How to provide a more favorable city environment for the 
rising generation. 

How to reduce, by better city planning, some of the "tragedy of 
waste,"* which is estimated to be about fifty per cent of the man 
power of the nation. The comptroller of a large life insurance 
company estimated that the present method of American city 
growth involves an annual loss of over a billion dollars. 

How to control and regulate the size of cities and provide a 
wiser method for the distribution of population. 

How to combine a new, modern, and appropriate beauty with 
American ideas of efficiency, a beauty that neither follows after 
the practical ends to be served nor precedes them. 

Let us be honest. There is no easy solution to these grave mu- 
nicipal problems, no cheap solution, no complete solution, and no 
permanent solution. Some of the requirements of true progress in 
this field may, however, be stated. They are: 

Better and still better city government and administration, 
combined with regional government and administration. 

More city, state and regional planning commissions, with better 
backing and support. 

Surveys of local and regional conditions, especially industrial 
and economic, with the emphasis at present on traffic studies and 
building heights. 

Comprehensive city plans combined with comprehensive financing 

* The "Tragedy of Waste," by Stuart Chase. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 19 

for an increased number of cities, not only large cities, but also 
those of smaller population. 

The enactment of planning legislation by more states and cities, 
and its wider application. 

Money, in much greater sums than heretofore, for well-planned 
and well-directed public improvements in the replanning and 
extension of cities. 

Long range planning of public works as a prosperity reserve to 
stabilize industry and insure economy. 

An increase in technical knowledge of planning and broad design 
through teaching, research, discussion of professional societies, 
and a better organization of the membership and work of the 
American City Planning Institute. 

The planning and building of individual and distinctive new 
towns, satellites and suburbs, to meet the new conditions. 

An open-minded consideration of the peculiar problems of 
modern life which are related to city planning, and which city 
planning can influence. 

Larger support of the National Conference on City Planning, in 
order that it may render more service, extend the influence of local 
planning organizations and encourage better and better quality in 
planning activities for cities and regions. 

What does the record of the twenty years mean, as set forth in 
this necessarily fragmentary and, I fear, altogether inadequate 
statement? We can be only reasonably confident of three convic- 
tions. First, that those who have worked for city planning, na- 
tionally, regionally or locally (and they are many), have put forth 
energy in a worthy cause and have done well. The record is not 
spectacular, but considering the resources available and the in- 
evitable difficulties, it is an honorable record. The movement has 
been united and whole-hearted, and the results are creditable to 
all concerned. We have reason to cheer up. The second convic- 
tion is that beyond the threshold on which we stand tonight there 
are municipal and rural planning problems great in number and 



20 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

difficulty, and requiring more knowledge, skill and patience, and 
greater resources in money and well-directed effort, than have 
been heretofore available. Part of this conviction is that if we are 
to find real solutions, we must dig still deeper into the subject itself, 
and more especially into a consideration of the related social, 
economic and governmental conditions which influence and color 
all that is now being done or attempted. A final conviction is the 
thrill of opportunity. Conditions and ideas are changing. Nothing 
is fixed. Life is eager. Minds are open. There is inspiration in 
the city plan, as well as a call to do routine work. The task re- 
quires the use of new materials, new methods, new ideas, and the 
formation of new habits. Part of that task is the gradual creation 
of an environment that will be so different from the present that 
without exaggeration it could be called new. As a last word, may 
I quote a prophetic paragraph or two from a book by the next 
speaker of the evening, Mr. Lewis Mumford. In "Sticks and 
Stones" he says: 

"The future of our civilization depends upon our ability to 
select and control our heritage from the past, to alter our present 
attitudes and habits, and to project fresh forms into which our 
energies may be freely poured. . . . Home, meeting place, 
and factory; polity, culture, and art have still to be united and 
wrought together, and this task is one of the fundamental tasks of 
our civilization. Once that union is effected, the long breach 
between art and life, which began with the Renaissance, will be 
brought to an end." 



SUMMARY, 1907-1927 

176 cities have prepared comprehensive plans. 

525 cities have adopted zoning ordinances. 

390 cities have official City Planning Commissions. 

18 meetings of the National Conference on City Planning have been held. 

17 meetings of the American City Planning Institute have been held. 

29 colleges and technical schools give lectures or courses in City Planning. 

35 or more new towns, garden cities, satellite towns, or garden suburbs 
have been built. 



APPENDIX 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Cities that have Comprehensive Plans 23 

Cities that have Adopted Zoning Ordinances 27 

Official City Planning Commissions 39 

Reviews of City Planning 43 

Educational Institutions in which City Planning Lectures and Courses are 

Given 44 

New Towns, Garden Cities, Suburbs, or Satellite Towns 45 

Planning and Zoning Statistics by States 46 



CITIES THAT HAVE COMPREHENSIVE PLANS 
PLANNING REPORTS BEFORE 1910 

The Planners 

Manila, P. 1 1905 Daniel Burnham 

San Francisco 1905 Daniel Burnham 

Columbia, S. C 1905 Kelsey & Guild 

Denver 1906 C. M. Robinson 

Oakland, Cal 1906 C. M. Robinson 

Savannah, Ga 1906 John Nolen 

New York City 1907 Report of Improvement Com- 
mission 

Roanoke, Va 1907 John Nolen 

St. Louis 1907 Civic League 

Grand Rapids, Mich 1907 Brunner & Carr^re 

Greenville, S. C 1907 Kelsey & Guild 

Dubuque, la 1907 C. M. Robinson 

San Diego, Cal 1908 John Nolen 

Utica, N. Y 1908 F. L. Olmsted 

Cedar Rapids, la 1908 C. M. Robinson 

Columbus, 1908 Several Consultants 

Ridgewood, N. J 1908 C. M. Robinson 

Madison, N. J 1909 W. H. Manning 

Chicago 1909 Daniel Burnham 

Montclair, N. J 1909 John Nolen 

San Jose, Cal 1909 C. M. Robinson 

Santa Barbara, Cal 1909 C. M. Robinson 

Glen Ridge, N. J 1909 John Nolen 

Los Angeles, Cal 1909 C. M. Robinson 

21 



22 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 

PLANNING REPORTS, 1910-1926 



The Planners 



Ft. Wayne, Ind 1910 C. M. Robinson 

Providence, R. 1 1910 (partial) John R. Freeman 

Boulder, Col 1910 F. L. Olmsted 

Baltimore 1910 (partial) Carrere, Brunner & Olmsted 

Reading, Pa 1910 John Nolen 

New Haven, Conn 1910 Cass Gilbert & F. L. Olmsted 

Pittsburgh, Pa 1910 F. L. Olmsted 

Milwaukee, Wis 1911 John Nolen & F. L. Olmsted 

Madison, Wis 1911 JohnNolen 

Binghamton, N. Y 1911 C. M. Robinson 

Worcester, Mass 1911 (streets) Committee 

Seattle, Wash 1911 Vergil Bogue 

Bangor, Me 1911 (partial) W. H. Manning 

Lockport, N. Y 1911 John Nolen 

Wayland, Mass 1911 John Nolen 

Dallas, Tex 1911 George Kessler 

New London, Conn 1911 John Nolen 

Rochester, N. Y 1911 Brunner, Olmsted & Arnold 

Hartford, Conn 1912 Carrere & Hastings 

Portland, Ore 1912 E. H. Bennett 

Keokuk, la 1912 John Nolen 

Schenectady, N. Y 1912 John Nolen 

Billerica, Mass 1912 W. H. Manning 

Colorado Springs, Col 1912 C. M. Robinson 

Cohasset, Mass 1912 John Nolen 

Houston, Tex 1913 A. C. Comey 

Newark, N. J 1913 Ford & Goodrich 

Raleigh, N. C 1913 C. M. Robinson 

Walpole, Mass 1913 John Nolen 

Sante Fe, N. M 1913 Planning Board 

Newport, R. 1 1913 F. L. Olmsted 

Dover, N. J 1913 A. C. Comey 

Erie, Pa 1913 John Nolen 

Alton, 111 1914 C. M. Robinson 

La Salle, 111 1914 M. H. West 

Peru, 111 1914 M. H. West 

Lincoln, Neb 1914 M. H. West 

Paris, Tex . . .1915 W. H. Dunn 

Boston (East Boston) 1915 Planning Board 

Brockton, Mass 1915 A. C. Comey 

Detroit, Mich, (prelim.) 1915 E. H. Bennett 

Oakland & Berkeley, Cal 1915 Werner Hegeman 

Milwaukee, Wis 1916 Werner Hegemann 

Bridgeport, Conn 1916 John Nolen 

Sacramento, Cal 1916 John Nolen 

Pueblo, Col 1916 Irvin McCrary 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



23 



The Planners 

Omaha, Neb 1917 Ford, Goodrich & Robinson 

Elgin, 111 1917 E. H. Bennett 

Charlotte, N. C 1917 John Nolen 

Minneapolis 1917 E. H. Bennett 

Johnstown, Pa 1917 Several Consultants 

Fresno, Cal 1917 Charles H. Cheney 

St. Augustine, Fla 1917 M. H. West 

Grand Canyon, Ariz 1918 F. A. Waugh 

Davenport, la 1918 R. K. Earle 

Stillwater, Minn 1918 Morrell & Nichols 

Evanston, 111 1918 John Nolen 

Rockford, 111 1918 M. H. West 

San Antonio, Tex. (traffic & R. R.) 191 8 M. H. West 

Aurora, 111. (parks) 1918 M. H. West 

Akron, 1919 John Nolen 

Birmingham, Ala 1919 W. H. Manning 

Boston (North End) 1919 Planning Board 

Omaha, Neb. (chiefly streets) .... 1919 Harland Bartholomew 

Syracuse, N. Y 1919 Planning Board 

Janesville, Wis 1919 John Nolen 

Des Moines, la 1920 E. H. Bennett 

Bristol, Conn 1920 John Nolen 

Flint, Mich 1920 Nolen & Arnold 

Jersey City 1920 Board of Engineers 

Newton, Mass 1920 A. A. Shurtleff 

Hamilton, 1920 Harland Bartholomew 

E. St. Louis, 111 1920 Harland Bartholomew 

Decatur, 111 1920 M. H. West 

Wheeling, W. Va. (partial) 1920 Morris Knowles 

Elkhart, Ind 1920 John Nolen 

Green Bay, Wis 1920 John Nolen 

LaCrosse, Wis 1920 John Nolen 

Auburn, Me 1920 M. H. West 

Grand Rapids, Mich 1921 Harland Bartholomew 

Hutchinson, Kans 1921 Harland Bartholomew 

Gardner, Mass 1921 Kilham, Hopkins & Greeley 

Portland, Ore. (streets & parks) . . 1921 Charles H. Cheney 

Spartanburg, S. C 1921 John Nolen 

Wilkes-Barre, Pa 1921 B. A. Haldeman 

University City, Mo 1921 Harland Bartholomew 

Cleveland (streets) 1921 R. H. Whitten 

Joliet, 111 1921 E. H. Bennett 

East Orange, N. J 1922 T. A. C.* 

Fall River, Mass 1922 A. A. Shurtleff 

St. Paul, Minn 1922 E. H. Bennett 

* T. A. C. Technical Advisory Corporation. 



24 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



Richmond, Cal 1922 

Hightstown, N. J 1922 

Lansing, Mich 1922 

St. Petersburg, Fla 1922 

West Palm Beach, Fla 1922 

Utica, N. Y. (streets) 1922 

Boonton, N. J. (streets) 1922 

Paterson, N. J. (streets & traffic) 1922 

Beloit,Wis 1922 

South Beloit, 111 1922 

Shreveport, La 1922 

Jackson, Mich 1922 

Topeka, Kans 1922 

Asheville, N. C 1922 

Atlanta, Ga 1922 

Worcester, Mass 1922 

Chattanooga, Tenn 1923 

DeKalb, 111 1923 

Elizabeth, N. J. (prelim.) 1923 

Norwood, Mass 1923 

Springfield, Mass 1923 

Wichita, Kans 1923 

Williams Bay, Wis 1923 

Elkhart, Ind 1923 

Somerville, Mass, (prelim.) 1923 

Grand Haven, Mich 1923 

Memphis, Tenn 1924 

Schenectady, N. Y 1924 

Los Angeles, Cal. (streets) 1924 

New Bedford, Mass, (prelim.) .... 1924 

Passaic, N. J 1924 

Denver, Col 1924 

Springfield, 111 1924 

South Bend, Ind. (streets) 1924 

Toledo, O. (streets, R. R., port, 

industries) 1924 

Allentown, Pa 1924 

Anderson, Ind 1924 

Danville, 111 1924 

Jacksonville, 111 1924 

Poughkeepsie, N. Y 1924 

Cedar Rapids, la 1924 

Kansas City, Kans 1924 

Three Rivers, Tex 1924 

Sarasota, Fla 1925 

Des Moines, la. (streets) 1925 



The Planners 
Aronovici & Hayler 
R. V. Black 
Harland Bartholomew 
John Nolen 
John Nolen 
Harland Bartholomew 
H. S. Swan 
H. S. Swan 
M. H. West 
M. H. West 
M. H. West 
Harland Bartholomew 
Harland Bartholomew 
John Nolen 
R. H. Whitten 
T. A. C. 

Harland Bartholomew 
M. H. West 
T.A.C. 

A. A. Shurtleff 
T. A. C. 

Harland Bartholomew 

J. L. Crane, Jr. 

John Nolen 

T. A. C. 

Harland Bartholomew 

Harland Bartholomew 
Harland Bartholomew 
Olmsted, Bartholomew 

Cheney 
T. A. C. 
T. A. C. 

Irvin J. McCrary 
M. H. West 
Harland Bartholomew 

Harland Bartholomew 

B. A. Haldeman 
L. V. Sheridan 
M. H. West 

M. H. West 
M. H. West 
Harland Bartholomew 
Harland Bartholomew 
Harland Bartholomew 

John Nolen 

Harland Bartholomew 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



25 



The Planners 

El Paso, Tex 1925 George Kessler 

Evansville, Ind. (streets) 1925 Harland Bartholomew 

New Brunswick, N. J 1925 H. S. Swan 

Winchester, Mass 1925 A. A. Shurtleff 

Wakefield, Mass 1925 A. C. Comey 

Worcester, Mass 1925 T. A. C. 

Kenosha, Wis 1925 Harland Bartholomew 

Boston, Mass, (parks & play- 
grounds) 1925 A. A. Shurtleff 

Asheville, N. C 1925 John Nolen 

Cincinnati, 1925 T. A. C. 

Richmond, Ind 1925 Planning Board 

Duluth, Minn 1925 Planning Board 

Schenectady, N. Y 1925 Harland Bartholomew 

Santa Barbara, CaL (streets & 

parks) 1925 Olmsted & Cheney 

Westerly, R. I. (partial) 1925 R. H. Whitten 

Canton, O. (prelim.) 1925 Morris Knowles 

North Adams, Mass 1925 John Nolen 

Webster Groves, Mo 1925 Harland Bartholomew 

Kansas City, Mo 1925 Harland Bartholomew 

Providence, R. I. (streets) 1926 R. H. Whitten 

Columbus, Ga 1926 John Nolen 

Michigan City, Ind 1926 L. V. Sheridan 

Pleasantville, N. Y 1926 F. Vitale 

Stamford, Conn 1926 H. S. Swan 

Belleville, N. J 1926 H. S. Swan 

Portchester, N. Y 1926 T. A. C. 

Homosassa, Fla 1926 Harland Bartholomew 

Terre Haute, Ind. (streets) 1926 L. V. Sheridan 

Valparaiso, Ind 1926 L. V. Sheridan 

CITIES THAT HAVE ADOPTED ZONING ORDINANCES 

Date of 

City Population Ordinance 
ALABAMA 

Birmingham 180,000 1926 

Montgomery 44,000 1924 

ARIZONA 

Tucson 21,000 1927 

Chandler (population less than 5,000) 1926 

ARKANSAS 

Little Rock 65,000 1924 

Pine.Bluff 20,000 1925 

CALIFORNIA 

Los Angeles 577,000 1909-1916 

San Francisco 507,000 1921 

3 



26 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



Date of 
City Population Ordinance 

Oakland 216,000 1919 

San Diego 75,000 1923 

Sacramento 65,000 1917-1923 

Berkeley 56,000 1920 

Long Beach 56,000 1921-1922 

Fresno 45,000 1923 

Pasadena 45,000 1922-1924 

Stockton 40,000 1923 

Alameda 29,000 1921-1924 

Bakersfield 19,000 1923 

Riverside 19,000 1925 

Santa Barbara 19,000 1920-1922 

Richmond 17,000 1923-1924 

Santa Ana 16,000 1927 

Santa Monica 15,000 1922 

Glendale 14,000 1922 

Pomona 14,000 1917-1920 

Santa Cruz 11,000 1924 

Venice 10,000 1923 

South Pasadena , 8,000 1923 

Whittier 8,000 1923 

Palo Alto 6,000 1918-1922 

Petaluma 6,000 1925 

SanLeandro 6,000 1925 

SanMateo 6,000 1922 

San Rafael 6,000 1924 

Visalia 6,000 1924 

Santa Clara 5,000 1925 

Los Angeles County 1927 

Monterey 6,000 1927 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Albany 1922-1924 Pittsburgh 1923 

Arcadia 1926 Redondo Beach 1913 

Burbank 1923 Redwood City 1921 

Burlingame 1923 San Buenaventura . . 1924 

Chula Vista 1927 San Gabriel 1922 

Coronado 1920 San Marino 1926 

Davis 1926 Selma 1923 

Inglewood 1924 Sierra Madre 1923 

Mayfield 1924 South San Francisco . 1925 

Monrovia 1923 Torrance 1923 

Piedmont 1917 Turlock 1917-1921 

COLORADO City Population Date of Ordinance 

Denver 260,000 1925 

Pueblo 43,000 1923 

Colorado Springs 30,000 1925 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 27 

Date of 

CONNECTICUT City Population Ordinance 

Hartford 138,000 1925 

New Britain 59,000 1925 

Norwich 22,000 1925 

Enfield 12,000 1925 

Fairfield 11,000 1925 

Greenwich 6,000 1926 

West Hartford 9,000 1924 

New Haven 163,000 1926 

Stamford 35,000 1926 

Darien (population less than 5,000) 1925 

DELAWARE 

Wilmington 110,000 1924 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Washington 438,000 1920 

FLORIDA 

Jacksonville 92,000 1925 

Orlando 9,000 1924 

West Palm Beach 9,000 1926 

St. Augustine 6,000 1925 

Bradentown (population less than 5,000) 1923 

Ft. Lauderdale ( " " " 5,000) 1926 

Ft. Myers ( " " " 5,000) 1926 

Seabreeze ( " " " 5,000) 1924 

GEORGIA 

Atlanta 200,000 1922 

Savannah 83,000 1925 

ILLINOIS 

Chicago 2,701,000 1923 

Rockford 65,000 1923 

Springfield 59,000 1924 

Cicero 45,000 1923 

Decatur 44,000 1922 

Oak Park 40,000 1921-1923 

Evanston 37,000 1921 

Aurora 36,000 1923 

Freeport 20,000 1926 

Waukegan 19,000 1924 

Berwyn 14,000 1923 

Maywood 12,000 1922 

Wilmette 8,000 1922 

La Grange 7,000 1923 

Winnetka 7,000 1922-1924 

Carbondale 6,000 1922 

Highland Park 6,000 1922 

Champaign 16,000 1926 

Blue Island 12,000 1926 



28 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Date of 

City Population Ordinance 

Harvey 10,000 1926 

Melrose Park 7,000 1924 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Harrington 1926 Lake Forest 1923 

Batavia 1924 Libertyville 1926 

Clarendon Hills 1926 Lombard 1924 

Deerfield 1924 Lyons 1924 

Des Plaines 1923 Mount Prospect 1923 

Downers Grove 1923 Mundelein 1926 

Elmhurst 1924 Naperville 1924 

Flossmoor 1925 Northbrook 1926 

Glencoe 1921 Palos Park 1924 

GlenEllyn 1923 Park Ridge 1922 

Glenview 1924 River Forest 1922 

Hinsdale 1923 Riverside 1922 

Homewood 1926 Villa Park 1923 

Kenilworth 1923 Western Springs 1923 

La Grange Park 1925 Wheaton 1923 

Lake Bluff 1922-1923 

Date of 

INDIANA City Population Ordinance 

Indianapolis 314,000 1922 

Evansville 85,000 1925 

South Bend 70,000 1923 

Terre Haute 66,000 1925 

Gary 55,000 1925 

Muncie 37,000 1923 

Anderson 30,000 1923 

Kokomo 30,000 1925 

Richmond 27,000 1923 

Elkhart 24,000 1925 

Michigan City 20,000 1926 

Mishawaka 15,000 1925 

Valparaiso 7,000 1925 

Highland (population less than 5,000) 1926 

IOWA 

DesMoines 126,000 1926 

Davenport 57,000 1925 

Cedar Rapids 46,000 1925 

Waterloo 36,000 1924 

Council Bluffs 36,000 1927 

Clinton 24,000 1926 

Iowa City 11,000 1925 

Ames 6,000 1925 

Red Oak (population less than 5,000) 1925 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



29 



Date of 

City Population Ordinance 

Kansas City 102,000 1924 

Wichita 72,000 1922 

Topeka 50,000 1923-1925 

Hutchinson 23,000 1921 

Salina 15,000 1925 

Manhattan 8,000 1925 

LOUISIANA 

Shreveport 44,000 1925 

MAINE 

Portland 69,000 1926 

MARYLAND 

Baltimore 734,000 1923-1925 

MASSACHUSETTS 

Boston 748,000 1904-1923 

Worcester 180,000 1923-1924 

Springfield 130,000 1921-1922 

New Bedford 121,000 1925 

Lowell 113,000 1922 

Cambridge 110,000 1924 

Lynn 99,000 1925 

Somerville 93,000 1925 

Brockton 66,000 1920 

Holyoke 60,000 1923 

Haverhill : 54,000 1924 

Maiden 49,000 1923 

Newton 46,000 1922-1925 

Chelsea 43,000 1924 

Salem 43,000 1925 

Everett 40,000 1926 

Medford 39,000 1924-1925 

Brookline 38,000 1922 

Taunton 37,000 1925 

Waltham 31,000 1925 

Gloucester 23,000 1926 

Revere 29,000 1925 

North Adams 22,000 1922-1924 

Watertown 21,000 1926 

Arlington 19,000 1924 

Westfield 19,000 1922 

Melrose 18,000 1924 

Woburn 17,000 1925 

Newburyport 16,000 1925 

Winthrop 15,000 1922 

Wakefield 13,000 1925 

West Springfield 13,000 1923 

Belmont 11,000 1925 



30 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Date of 

City Population Ordinance 

Dedham 11,000 1924 

Winchester 11,000 1924 

Milton 9,000 1922 

Stoneham 8,000 1925 

Swampscott 8,000 1924 

Hudson 8,000 1927 

Fairhaven 7,000 1926 

Needham 7,000 1925 

Reading 7,000 1926 

Lexington 6,000 1924 

Wellesley 6,000 1925 

Walpole 5,000 1925 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Falmouth 1926 Paxton 1924 

Longmeadow 1922 

Date of 

MICHIGAN City Population Ordinance 

Grand Rapids 138,000 1923 

Flint 92,000 1926 

Kalamazoo 49,000 1925 

Jackson 48,000 1923 

Muskegon 37,000 1925 

Battle Creek 36,000 1924 

Ann Arbor 20,000 1923 

Ironwood 16,000 1925 

Owosso 13,000 1925 

Holland 12,000 1926 

Grand Haven 7,000 1923 

Ypsilanti 7,000 1925 

Midland 5,000 1925 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Dearborn 1922 Grandville 1922 

East Grand Rapids. . 1922-1924 Grosse Point 1924 

Date of 

MINNESOTA City Population Ordinance 

Minneapolis . ... 381,000 1924 

St. Paul 235,000 1922 

Duluth 99,000 1925 

MISSOURI 

St. Louis 773,000 1926 

Kansas City 325,000 1923 

Webster Groves 9,000 1923 

University City 7,000 1922 

Richmond Heights (population of less than 5,000) 1922 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



31 



NEBRASKA City Population 

Omaha 192,000 

Lincoln 55,000 

Fremont 10,000 

Scottsbluff 7,000 

NEVADA 

Reno 12,000 

NEW HAMPSHIRE 

Manchester 78,000 

Keene 11,000 

NEW JERSEY 

Newark 415,000 

Jersey City 298,000 

Paterson 136,000 

Elizabeth 96,000 

Hoboken 68,000 

Passaic 64,000 

East Orange 51,000 

West Hoboken 40,000 

New Brunswick 33,000 

Orange 33,000 

West New York 30,000 

Montclair 29,000 

Plainfield 28,000 

Kearny 27,000 

Clifton 26,000 

Irvington 25,000 

Bloomfield 22,000 

Hackensack 18,000 

Belleville 16,000 

W 7 est Orange 16,000 

Weehawken Township 15,000 

Long Branch 14,000 

Englewood 12,000 

Rahway 11,000 

Rutherford 10,000 

Summit 10,000 

Nutley 9,000 

Ridgefield Park 9,000 

Westfield 9,000 

Ridgewood 8,000 

North Plainfield 7,000 

South Orange Township 7,000 

Bound Brook 6,000 

Cliffside Park 6,000 

Cranford Township 6,000 

Fort Lee 6,000 



Date of 
Ordinance 
1920-1924 
1926 
1925 
1926 



1924 



1926 
1926 



1920 

1922 

1921-1924 

1922-1923 

1922 

1922 

1921 

1922 

1924 

1922 

1922 

1921-1924 

1923-1924 

1922 

1921 

1922 

1923 

1922 

1923 

1921 

1923 

1921 

1923 

1920 

1922 

1923 

1922 

1922 

1921 

1923 

1923 

1922 

1921 

1920 

1922 

1921 



32 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



City 



Lakewood 

Madison 

Roselle 

Boonton 

Hawthorne 

Hillside 

Maplewood 5,000 

Roselle Park 5,000 



Population 
6,000 
6,000 
6,000 
5,000 
5,000 
5,000 



Date of 
Ordinance 
1923 
1922 
1922 
1922 
1922 
1922 
1921 
1921 



Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 



Audubon 1924 Highland Park 1923-1924 

Beachwood 1921 Hightstown 1922 

Bogota 1921 Hohokus 1923 

Bradley Beach 1923 Leonia 1921 

Caldwell 1921 Linden 1921 

Cresskill 1922 Lyndhurst Township 1922 

Deal 1923 Maywood 1922 

Demarest 1922 Merchantville 1923 

Dunellen 1923-1924 Metuchen 1925 

Fairview 1921 Milburn 1923 

Fanwood 1924 Pompton Lakes 1923 

Freehold 1924 Seagirt 1920 

Garwood 1922 Tenafly 1922 

Glen Ridge 1921-1923 Totowa 1922 

Glen Rock 1923-1924 Verona 1922 

Haworth 1921 

Date of 

NEW YORK City Population Ordinance 

New York 5,620,000 1916-1924 

Buffalo : 507,000 1922-1925 

Rochester 296,000 1919-1920 

Syracuse 172,000 1922 

Albany 113,000 1924 

Yonkers 100,000 1920 

Utica 94,000 1923-1924 

Troy 72,000 1923 

Binghamton 67,000 1922 

Niagara Falls 51,000 1920 

Mount Vernon 43,000 1922 

Jamestown 39,000 1924-1925 

Auburn 36,000 1925 

NewRochelle 36,000 1921-1925 

Amsterdam 34,000 1926 

Watertown 31,000 1922 

Newburgh 30,000 1923 

Kingston 27,000 1925 

Rome 26,000 1924 

Gloversville 22,000 1921 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



33 



City Population Date of Ordinance 

White Plains 21,000 1920 

Glens Falls 17,000 1925 

Ithaca 17,000 1923 

Port Chester 17,000 1922 

Batavia 14,000 1926 

Fulton 13,000 1922 

Saratoga Springs 13,000 1923 

Hudson 12,000 1927 

Oneida 11,000 1924 

Ossining 11,000 1921 

Lyndhurst 10,000 1922 

Endicott 9,000 1922 

Freeport 9,000 1924 

Glen Cove 9,000 1926 

Mamaroneck 7,000 1925 

Hastings 6,000 1923 

Hempstead 6,000 1922 

Seneca Falls , 6,000 1925 

Tarrytown 6,000 1923 

Rockville Center 6,000 1924 

Harrison 5,000 1923 

Dansville 5,000 1927 

North Tarrytown 6,000 1926 

Perry 5,000 1926 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 



Baldwinsville 1925 

Brightwaters 1922 

Bronxville 1922-1923 

Cayuga Heights 1925 

Cedarhurst 1925 

Dobbs Ferry 1924 

Eastchester Town . . . 1923 

East Rockaway 1924 

Elmsford 1924 

Farmingdale 1922 

Floral Park 1922 

Garden City 1922-1924 

Great Neck 1922 

Greenburgh 1924 

Hamburg 1927 

Irvington 1922-1923 

Kenmore 1924 

Larchmont 1921 

La Salle 1924 

Lawrence 1923 

Long Beach 1922 

Lowville 1925 

Lynbrook 1923-1926 



Mamaroneck Town . 1922 

Mineola 1921 

North Pelham 1921 

Owego 1926 

Patchogue 1925 

Pelham 1924 

Pelham Manor 1921-1924 

PennYan 1925 

Plandome 1924 

Pleasantville 1927 

Potsdam 1925 

Rye 1923 

Saltaire 1922 

Sands Point 1922 

Skaneateles 1926 

Scarsdale 1922 

Spring Valley 1926 

Ticonderoga 1926 

Tuckahoe 1923 

Union Corners 1923 

Waverly 1923 

Wilmont.. . 1923 



34 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Date of 

NORTH CAROLINA City Population Ordinance 

Raleigh 24,000 1923 

Durham 22,000 1926 

Greensboro 20,000 1926 

High Point 14,000 1926 

Southern Pines. . . (population of less than 5,000) 1926 

NORTH DAKOTA 

Fargo 22,000 1925 

Bismarck. 7,000 1924 

Jamestown 7,000 1925 

OHIO 

Cincinnati 401,000 1924 

Toledo ' 243,000 1923 

Columbus 237,000 1923 

Akron 208,000 1922 

Dayton 153,000 -1926 

Lakewood 42,000 1922-1924 

Lima 41,000 1924 

Hamilton 40,000 1926 

Mansfield 28,000 1920 

Marion 28,000 1925 

Maumee 28,000 1920 

Warren 27,000 1923-1925 

East Cleveland 27,000 1919-1922 

Ashtabula 22,000 1923 

Cleveland Heights 15,000 1921 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Bay Village 1922 Madison 1923 

Bexley 1923 Oakwood 1925 

Bratenahl 1923 Oberlin 1927 

Brooklyn Heights. . . 1927 Willoughby 1921 

Euclid Village 1922 Worthington 1923 

Grandview Heights. . 1922-1923 Wyoming 1925 

Idlewood 1922 

Date of 

OKLAHOMA City Population Ordinance 

Oklahoma City 91,000 1923 

Tulsa 72,000 1923 

OREGON 

Portland 258,000 1924 

Salem 18,000 1926 

Medford 6,000 1923 

PENNSYLVANIA 

Pittsburgh 588,000 1923 

Scranton 138,000 1924 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 35 

Date of 

City Population Ordinance 

Johnstown 67,000 1926 

Chester 58,000 1925 

Bethlehem 50,000 1926 

New Castle 50,000 1925 

Oil City 21,000 1924 

Monessen 18,000 1925 

Connellsville 14,000 1924 

Swissvale 11,000 1925 

Bellevue 8,000 1925 

Haverford Township 7,000 1925 

Crafton 6,000 1926 

Avalon 5,000 1926 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Aldan 1925 Lansdowne 1926 

Beaver 1925 Lower Merion Twp. . 1927 

Ben Avon 1924 Monaca 1925 

Edgewood 1925 Narberth 1925 

Edgeworth 1925 Sewickley 1925 

Emsworth 1925 Westview 1925 

Ingram 1925 Wyomissing 1927 

Date of 

RHODE ISLAND City Population Ordinance 

Providence 238,000 1923 

Woonsocket. 44,000 1923 

Newport 30,000 1922 

Cranston 29,000 1924 

Westerly 10,000 1925 

Barrington (population less than 5,000) 1926 

North Smithfield....( " " " 5,000) 1926 

SOUTH CAROLINA 

Columbia 38,000 1924 

TENNESSEE 

Memphis 162,000 1922 

UTAH 

Salt Lake City 118,000 1920 

Provo 10,000 1926 

VIRGINIA 

Richmond 172,000 1922-1923 

Norfolk 116,000 1924 

Petersburg 31,000 1922 

Lynchburg 30,000 1926 

Suffolk 9,000 1924 



36 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Date of 

WASHINGTON cit y Population Ordinance 

Seattle 315,000 1923 

Tacoma 97,000 1919 

Olympia 7,000 1925 

WISCONSIN 

Milwaukee 457,000 1920-1924 

Racine 59,000 1916 

Kenosha 40,000 1924 

Madison 38,000 1922 

Green Bay 31,000 1925 

Sheboygan 31,000 1926 

La Crosse 30,000 1921 

Beloit 21,000 1924 

Eau Claire 21,000 1923 

Appleton 20,000 1923 

Wausau 19,000 1924 

Janesville 18,000 1923 

WestAllis 14,000 1925 

Waukesha 13,000 1923 

Cudahy 7,000 1919 

Neenah 7,000 1915 

Two Rivers 7,000 1926 

Wauwatosa 6,000 1921 

Kenosha Co , 1926 

Places with Population of Less than Five Thousand 

Oconomowoc 1926 Sturgeon Bay 1927 

Shorewood.. . 1919 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



37 



OFFICIAL CITY PLAN COMMISSIONS 

(A few of these have become inactive or have been abolished) 

BEFORE 1914 



Hartford, Conn 1907 

Milwaukee 1908 

Chicago 1909 

Baltimore 1910 

Detroit 1910 

Jersey City 1911 

Newark 1911 

St. Louis : 1911 

Cleveland.. ... 1911 



Pittsburgh 1911 

Philadelphia 1911 

Salem, Mass 1911 

Lincoln, Neb 1911 

Trenton, N. J 1912 

Cincinnati 1913 

Scranton, Pa 1913 

Schenectady, N. Y 1913 



Arizona 
Phoenix 

California 
Bakersfield 
Berkeley 
Fresno 
Long Beach 
Los Angeles 
Oakland 
Palo Alto 
Pasadena 
Paso Robles 
Redondo Beach 
Richmond 
San Francisco 
Venice 
Ventura 
San Jose 

Carolina (North) 
Greensboro 
Raleigh 

Connecticut 
Bridgeport 
New Britain 
New Haven 
New London 

Florida 
Fort Myers 



1914 TO 1922 INCLUSIVE 

Georgia 
Atlanta 



Illinois 
Alton 
Decatur 
Joliet 
Oak Park 
Rockford 
Rock Island 
Springfield 
Wheaton 
Winnetka 

Indiana 
Anderson 
Crawfordsville 
Elkhart 
Evansville 
Gary 

Indianapolis 
Marion 
Richmond 
Terre Haute 

Iowa 

Des Moines 
Sioux City 

Kansas 
Hutchinson 
Kansas City 



Topeka 
Wichita 

Louisiana 
Baton Rouge 
Shreveport 

Maine 
Auburn 

Massachusetts 
Amherst 
Arlington 
Attleboro 
Bedford 
Belmont 
Beverly 
Boston 
Braintree 
Brockton 
Brookline 
Cambridge 
Chicopee 
Clinton 
Cohasset 
Dedham 
Easthampton 
Fitchburg 
Everett 
Framingham 
Gardner 
Gloucester 



38 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



Greenfield 

Haverhill 

Holyoke 

Lawrence 

Leominster 

Lexington 

Longmeadow 

Lowell 

Maiden 

Melrose 

Methuen 

Natick 

Newburypdrt 

Newton 

North Adams 

Northampton 

Norwood 

Plymouth 

Quincy 

Reading 

Somerville 

Southbridge 

Springfield 

Stoneham 

Taunton 

Wakefield 

Walpole 

Waltham 

Watertown 

Wellesley 

Westfield 

Weston 

West Springfield 

Weymouth 

Winchester 

Winthrop 

Woburn 

Worcester 

Andover 

Ashland 

Auburn 

Barnstable 

Bourne 

Dartmouth 

Duxbury 

Fall River 

Franklin 

Hudson 

Marblehead 

Maynard 



Medfield 

Northbridge 

Oak Bluffs 

Palmer 

Paxton 

Shrewsbury 

Tisbury 

Wayland 

Yarmouth 

Michigan 
Flint 

Grand Rapids 
Kalamazoo 

Minnesota 
Duluth 
Minneapolis 
St. Paul 

Missouri 
Kansas City 
University City 

Nebraska 
Omaha 

New Jersey 
Camden 
East Orange 
Elizabeth 
New Brunswick 
Passaic 
Paterson 
Perth Amboy 
South Orange 
Glen Ridge 
Westfield 

New York 
Albany 
Buffalo 
Niagara Falls 
Rochester 
Rome 
Syracuse 
Troy 
Utica 

New Rochelle 
Jamestown 



Ohio 

Ashtabula 

Akron 

Columbus 

Dayton 

E. Cleveland 

Toledo 

Youngstown 

Warren 

Mansfield 

Hamilton 

Oklahoma 

Oklahoma City 

Oregon 
Portland 

Pennsylvania 
Allentown 
Altoona 
Bethlehem 
Bradford 
Chester 
Du Bois 
Easton 
Erie 

Franklin 
Harrisburg 
Hazleton 
Johnstown 
Newcastle 
Oil City 
Pittston 
Pottsville 
Reading 
Wilkes-Barre 
Uniontown 
York 
Williamsport 

Rhode Island 
Providence 
Newport 

Tennessee 
Memphis 

Texas 
Dallas 
Houston 
Paris 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



39 



Utah 

Salt Lake City 



Virginia 
Norfolk 



Washington 
Spokane 
Tacoma 

West Virginia 
Clarksburg 



Wisconsin 
Green Bay 
Appleton 
Janesville 
Madison 
Waukesha 



Dist. of Columbia 
Washington 

Alabama 

Montgomery 

Arizona 
Tucson 

California 
Alameda 
Glendale 
Oxnard 
Pomona 
Redlands 
Riverside 
Sacramento 
San Diego 
Santa Ana 
Santa Barbara 
Coronado 

Colorado 
Boulder 
Denver 

Connecticut 
Stamford 
Stratford 
Westport 
Darien 
Fairfield 

Delaware 
Wilmington 

Florida 
Jacksonville 
Pensacola 
Tampa 

West Palm Beach 
Ft. Lauderdale 



1923 

Orlando 
Sarasota 
St. Petersburg 

Georgia 
Columbus 
Savannah 
Brunswick 

Illinois 
Blue Island 
Danville 
Quincy 

Elgin 

Indiana 
Batesville 
Bloomington 
Ft. Wayne 
Kokomo 
Michigan City 
Mishawaka 
Muncie 
New Castle 
Princeton 
Valparaiso 
West Lafayette 
Hammond 

Iowa 
Ames 

Cedar Rapids 

Kansas 
Lawrence 

Kentucky 
Lexington 

Louisiana 
New Orleans 



Maine 
Portland 

Massachusetts 
Amesbury 
Fairhaven 
Falmouth 
Great Barrington 
Hingham 
Lynn 
Mansfield 
Medford 
Milton 
Milford 
New Bedford 
Pittsfield 
Revere 
Saugus 
Stoughton 
Webster 

Michigan 
Holland 
Saginaw 
Pontiac 
Dearborn 

Missouri 
Webster Groves 
Kirkwood 

Montana 
Missoula 

New Hampshire 
Manchester 

New Jersey 
Belleville 
Cranford 
Plainfield 



40 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



Rahway 
Summit 
Tenafly 
West Orange 

New York 
Auburn 
Binghamton 
Bronxville 
East Rockaway 
Elmira 
Gloversville 
Hamburg 
Harrison 
Hastings 
Garden City 
Ilion 
Kingston 
Larchmont 
Lawrence 
Mamaroneck 
Mineola 
Mt. Vernon 
Pleasantville 
Scarsdale 
Tarrytown 
Tuckahoe 
White Plains 
Glen Cove 
Watervliet 

North Carolina 
Asheville 
Durham 
Wilmington 



Ohio 
Canton 
Girard 
Lima 
Lorain 
Massilon 
Niles 
Piqua 

Portsmouth 
Springfield 
Village of Wyoming 
Zanesville 
Steubenville 

Oklahoma 
Tulsa 

Pennsylvania 
Butler 
Carbondale 
Clairton 
Connellsville 
Lancaster 
McKeesport 
Meadville 
Monessen 
Monongahela 
Sharon 
Lockhaven 

Rhode Island 
Westerly 
Pawtucket 

South Carolina 
Columbia 
Charleston 



South Dakota 
Sioux Falls 

Tennessee 
Chattanooga 
Knoxville 

Texas 
El Paso 
San Antonio 

Utah 
Provo 

Vermont 
Burlington 

Virginia 
Roanoke 

Washington 
Seattle 
Yakima 

West Virginia 
Charleston 

Wisconsin 
Beloit 
Eau Claire 
Fond du Lac 
Kenosha 
Oshkosh 
Racine 
Sheboygan 
Wausau 

Wyoming 
Laramie 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 41 

REVIEWS OF CITY PLANNING 

American City Magazine Municipal Index: 1924 City and Regional Planning, 
Housing and Zoning. Fifteen Years of City Planning in the United States 
1926 Planning (notes on Progress in Several Cities). 

Crane, Jacob L., Jr.: Progress in City Planning in the United States. Engineering 
News Record, September 29, 1921. 

The Progress in City Planning and Zoning. National Real Estate Journal, 
July 3, 1922. 
Davison, George S.: City Planning. American Society Civil Engineers Proceedings, 

December, 1926. 

Ford, George B.: What has been Accomplished in City Planning during the Year 
1916. Landscape Architecture, April, 1917. 

Current Progress, City Planning, April, 1925, and following issues. 
Progress in Planning. National Conference on City Planning Proceedings, 
1925. 

Ford, George B. and Ralph F. Warner, Editors: City Planning Progress in the 
United States 1917, compiled by the Committee on Town Planning of the 
American Institute of Architects. Published by the Journal of the American 
Institute of Architects, Washington, 1917. 

Hubbard, Theodora Kimball: A Brief Survey of Recent City Planning Reports. 
Landscape Architecture, April, 1912; April, 1913; January, 1915; January, 
1918; January, 1920; January, 1921; January, 1922. 

Survey of City and Regional Planning in the United States. Landscape 
Architecture, January, 1923; January, 1924. 

Annual Survey of City and Regional Planning in the United States. City 
Planning, April, 1925; April, 1926; April, 1927. 

A Review of City Planning in the United States. National Municipal Review, 
November, 1918; January, 1920; January, 1921; January, 1922; January, 
1923; May, 1925; June, 1926. 

Municipal Accomplishment in City Planning. Published City Planning 
Reports in the United States. Published by the National Conference on City 
Planning 1920. 

Editor: Lists in Book Reviews and Books Lists Department City Planning 
Quarterly. 
Lewis, Nelson P.: City Planning in American Cities. American Society of 

Municipal Improvements, Proceedings, 1917-1918. 
McNamara, Katherine: List of Plan Reports to Accompany Annual Survey. City 

Planning, April, 1925; April, 1926; April, 1927. 

National Conference on City Planning, Proceedings: The Progress in City Plan- 
ning (F. L. Olmsted), 1912; (Flavel Shurtleff) 1913; (Flavel Shurtleff) 1914. 
Six Years of City Planning in the United States. (Flavel Shurtleff) 1915. 
Accomplishments in Various Cities during the Past Year 1921. 
Planning Cities (List showing Interest and Activity in City Planning and 
Zoning} 1922. 

A Planning Review: Some Recent Events of Far-reaching Influence on City 
and Regional Plans (Flavel Shurtleff) 1926. 

National Real Estate Journal, July, 1926: Realtors' Survey Shows City Plan as 
Economic Measure. 



42 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Olmsted, F. L.: The Town Planning Movement. Housing and Town Planning, 1914. 
American Academy of Political and Social Science. 

Olmsted, F. L., and Theodora Kimball, Editors: List of American City Planning 
Reports. American City, December, 1914, reprinted. 

Public Works, June, 1924: Tabulation on City Planning and City Planning Com- 
missions. 

Robinson, C. M.: Recent City Plan Reports. National Municipal Review, January, 
1913; July, 1914; July, 1915; July, 1916; October, 1916; September, 1917. 

Ross, Miriam: A Primer of City Planning Progress and Legislation. American 
City, February, 1923. 

Shurtleff, Flavel: City and Regional Planning Since 1876. American Architect, 
January 5, 1926. 

Progress in City and Regional Planning, 1924-1925. American City Maga- 
zineMunicipal Index 1926. 



EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN WHICH CITY PLAN. 
NING LECTURES AND COURSES ARE GIVEN 

Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, College Station, Texas. 

Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland, Ohio. 

Columbia University, New York, N. Y. 

Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y. 

Dartmouth College, Hanover, N. H. 

Harvard School of Landscape Architecture, Cambridge, Mass. 

Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa. 

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. 

Kansas State Agricultural College, Manhattan, Kans. 

Leland Stanford University, Calif. 

Massachusetts Agricultural College, Amherst, Mass. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. 

Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. 

Oregon State Agricultural College, Corvallis, Oregon. 

Pennsylvania State College, State College, Pa. 

Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana. 

State College of Washington, Pullman, Washington. 

Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. 

Throop College of Technology, Los Angeles, California. 

University of California, Berkeley, California. 

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, O. 

University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois. 

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland. 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. 

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

University of Toronto, Ontario, Can. 

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif. 

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



43 



NEW TOWNS, GARDEN CITIES, SUBURBS, OR 
SATELLITE TOWNS 



Babson Park, Wellesley, Massachusetts. 

Beaver Lake, Asheville, North Carolina. 

Belleair, Florida. 

Billerica, Massachusetts. 

Biltmore Forest, North Carolina. 

Clewiston, Florida. 

Coral Gables, Florida. 

Corey, Alabama. 

Country Club District, Kansas City, 

Missouri. 

Fairhope, Alabama. 
Forest Hill Gardens, Long Island. 
Gary, Indiana. 

Goodyear Heights, Akron, Ohio. 
Hopedale, Massachusetts. 
Kingsport, Tennessee. 
Kistler, Mount Union, Pennsylvania. 
Kohler, Wisconsin. 
Lawrence Park, Erie, Pennsylvania. 
Leclaire, St. Louis, Missouri. 



Long view, Washington. 

Loveland Farms, Youngstown, Ohio. 

Ludlow, Massachusetts. 

Mariemont, Ohio. 

Myers Park, Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Overlook Colony, Claymont, Delaware. 

Palos Verdes, California. 

Pullman, Illinois. 

Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland. 

San Jose Estates, Jacksonville, Florida. 

Seneca Heights, Olean, New York. 

St. Francis Wood, San Francisco, Cali- 
fornia. 

Sunnyside, New York. 

Venice, Florida. 

Westerly Gardens, Bound Brook, New 
Jersey. 

Windsor Farms, Richmond, Virginia. 

Wyomissing Park, Wyomissing, Penn- 
sylvania. 



44 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



PLANNING AND ZONING STATISTICS BY STATES 



States 


Number of 
Planned 
Cities to 
1926 Incl. 


Population 
in Planned 
Cities, 1920 
Census 


Number of 
City Plan, 
ning Com- 
missions 


Number of 
Zoned Cities 


Alabama 


1 


178,270 


1 


1 


Arizona 


1 


70 


2 




Arkansas 








2 


California 


10 


I,6i7,110 


26 


47 


Colorado . . 


3 


297,585 


2 


3 


Connecticut 


6 


525,532 


10 


7 


Delaware 






1 


1 


Florida 


5 


31,397 


8 


4 


Georgia 


3 


314 993 


3 




Idaho 










Illinois 


16 


3,172,111 


15 


41 


Indiana 


9 


386,170 


20 


13 


Iowa 


5 


282,325 


5 


8 


Kansas 


3 


145,537 


5 


6 


Kentucky 






1 




Louisiana 






3 


1 


Maine 


2 


42,963 


2 




Maryland 


1 


733,826 


1 


1 


Massachusetts 


16 


1,591,650 


100 


47 


Michigan 


4 


1,279,299 


8 


16 


Minnesota ... 


4 


721,829 


3 


3 


Mississippi 










Missouri 


3 


1,106,771 


4 


5 


Montana 






1 




Nebraska 


2 


246,549 


3 


3 










1 


New Hampshire 






1 


1 


New Jersey 


15 


1,168,232 


20 


74 


New Mexico 


1 


7,236 






New York 


8 


6,357,359 


33 


77 


North Carolina. 


3 


99,260 


6 


4 


North Dakota 








3 


Ohio 


7 


1,103,506 


23 


26 


Oklahoma 






2 


2 


Oregon 


1 


258,288 


1 


2 


Pennsylvania 


6 


1,067,011 


40 


24 


Rhode Island 


3 


277,802 


3 


5 


South Carolina 


3 


83,289 


2 


1 


South Dakota 






1 




Tennessee 


2 


221,246 


3 


1 


Texas 


4 


389,835 


5 




Utah 






2 


1 


Vermont 






1 




Virginia 


1 


50,842 


2 


4 


Washington 


1 


315,652 


4 


3 


West Virginia 


1 


56,208 


2 




Wisconsin 


7 


616,106 


14 


19 


Wyoming 






1 














Total 


157* 


24,745,859 


390 


460* 



Later returns make these figures 176 and 525 respectively. 



THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS IN CITY PLANNING 

LEWIS MUMFORD, New York City 

I 

What achievements in city planning can we look forward to 
during the next twenty years? What tendencies in our civilization 
promise an opportunity for genuine city planning? What kind of 
city will become dominant and most completely representative of 
our civilization? Shall we still think of the ideal city, twenty 
years from now, in terms of rising ground values, multiple streets, 
and congested pyramids of skyscrapers, or shall we think of the 
ideal city primarily as an environment that is cut to the human 
figure and that fits our collective needs by its skillful simplification 
of the mechanical apparatus for living. 

In trying to answer these questions, we cannot rely upon carry- 
ing the existing trends into the future. If the past were to be any 
criterion of the future, it would be easy to describe the future city 
in America; but our prediction would not necessarily inspire any 
hope or enthusiasm or any quick desire to live until the next 
twenty years were finished. One could anticipate, on the basis of 
past tendencies, the continued growth and extension of sky- 
scrapers, with the elimination of such wasteful devices as windows; 
one could look forward to the spread of subways and the develop- 
ment of more efficient means of packing them, perhaps with the aid 
of some ingenious system of gas masks or artificial respiration; one 
could forecast the practical disappearance of the dwelling house, 
partly due to the small amount of time left, after subway rides, to 
enjoy that ancient fixture, and partly because the steady elabora- 
tion of public utilities leaves a smaller amount of money available 
for the structure itself; one could look forward to the widespread 
use of green paint as a visual substitute for the grass and flowers 
which could no longer be grown in this environment, even were 
open spaces available; and, finally, one could predict that our 

45 



46 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

remaihing parks and playgrounds in the big cities would be used 
on a stagger system, by successive zones of population, since open 
spaces would no longer bear any relation whatever to the needs of 
a neighborhood. 

Many of these developments are capable of being capitalized 
and promoted with very respectable opportunities for financial 
returns; all of them would assist the increase of congestion in the 
already congested centers, and would tend to spread the benefits 
of congestion to cities still handicapped by pure air, arbored streets, 
sunlight, open spaces, and access to the countryside. If the ten- 
dencies that have operated in the past are intensified, rather than 
diminished, this caricature of the future will tend to become the 
sad reality; and the first point I wish to make is that this situation 
should not be taken for granted, since the trend I have pictured is 
not by any means inevitable. Planning on the basis of past move- 
ments of population or past records of growth is an excellent way 
to meet a past situation; it is not a method of anticipating or 
directing future developments. The future is mathematically 
predictable only if every condition that operated in the past con- 
tinues to operate at the same rate, and in the same way; and if no 
new conditions come in. Plainly, this stability and fixity is the 
last sort of thing to hang one's plans on in a changing world; the 
basic human needs for food and sunlight and social intercourse are 
constant, but the institutions and habits of life which enable us to 
satisfy these needs are subject to change and improvement. During 
the last generation, indeed during the last decade, new factors have 
entered our economic life which have still to be taken account of 
and used in our programs of city development. Even if the radio 
and the motor and giant-power did not exist, our appraisal of 
existing tendencies in city development and the plans which we 
may project to modify these tendencies, are among the new factors 
that may alter such apparently inevitable curves as the curve of a 
city's population increase. If the city planner prepares for growth 
in the existing metropolitan areas his plans will tend to accelerate 
growth; if he anticipates the grouping of population into new 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 47 

centers, and prepares for a minimum expansion of our big cities, 
his plans will serve all the communities in a state or region, and 
they will tend to curb the congestion and expansion of metropolitan 
districts. In short: the attitude of the city planner, the great 
industrial organization, and the public authority towards the 
future is one of the prime factors that determine the future. What 
is inevitable is only what is past; the future is the outcome, as 
Dr. John Dewey has said of a multitude of daily choices and 
selections. It follows that any reasonable prediction for city 
planning during the next twenty years must be mainly an effort 
to define an intelligent attitude. 

Now almost all our major city plans are based upon the expec- 
tation of a continuous increase in population. The city that has 
a hundred thousand inhabitants fixes twice that number as its 
goal for 1947, just as the New York Region, with a total population 
of some ten millions looks forward to some twenty millions or is 
it twenty-nine millions? during the next fifty years. The more 
congested a city already is, the more bright are its expectations 
for making matters a little worse. With this purely quantitative 
goal as the chief ideal of city development, and with the increase 
in ground values as the chief motive force, it is small wonder that 
the city planner has devoted himself in the main to a very narrow 
range of problems. On the premise that city planning is merely a 
way of providing the physical means for a continuous expansion 
and congestion of our cities, there is, indeed, very little promise 
for the city planner's art; for city planning can do nothing on this 
basis which cannot be done just as well as a matter of engineering 
technique, and just as blindly from the social standpoint, in the 
departmental routine of the municipal engineer's office. Even if 
the city planner is conscious of the ultimate reason for a city's 
existence, and bows in passing to the need for greater amenities, a 
more significant architecture, and finer opportunities for culture, 
he tends to regard these matters as embellishments on his engineer- 
ing program a program that catches up with past needs only to 
find that it is not abreast of present ones. 



48 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

One has only to carry this effort to its logical conclusion to see 
how futile is the attempt of any city to increase its population and 
territory indefinitely. The history of all the great cities that have 
gone in for limitless growth and expansion is monotonously the 
same. Once they pass the limits of functional size and use, their 
further history can be summed up, as Professor Patrick Geddes 
has done, in four stages: Megalopolis, Parasitopolis, Patholopolis, 
Necropolis. The sequence of deterioration is fairly plain. The 
great city, on continuing to be congested for the benefit of ground 
landlords, mortgage holders, and real estate speculators, becomes 
largely a city of parasites, peopled by office workers who perform 
elaborate rites with red tape and by a growing well-to-do class, 
divorced from practical responsibilities, whose chief economic 
function is what Mr. Thorstein Veblen has called the performance 
of leisure. Social parasitism and economic waste in turn lead to 
lapse of function, with a growing amount of vice and crime and 
physical debilitation, if not disease, while in order to support this 
urban populace and to dispose of surplus accumulations of capital, 
it is necessary to reach overseas for foreign markets and raw ma- 
terials. This process led the ancient city of Rome into conflicts, 
colonial wars, and its great contest with Carthage; and no one 
who reads the newspapers today need be long in doubt as to where 
the demand for supplies, markets, military depots, and commercial 
privileges has created new spheres of international irritation and 
conflict. If the ultimate fate of such megalopolitan civilizations 
in the past has always been to turn its leading cities into Necropo- 
lises, or cities of the dead, it would be naive to think that the 
ingenuities of engineering can avert this fate. The physical ail- 
ments of the big city are a reflection of its misdirected institutions. 
A city that lives by depriving its own population of sunlight and 
air, by spending on the bare mechanics of living what it should 
spend on the life-enhancing arts, by encroaching upon the territory 
of other cities for its water supply, and by relying wholly upon 
distant regions for its food such a city is not on a solid foundation. 
Its financial success is not a measure of its permanent human 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 49 

achievement; and the sort of city planning that serves and stabi- 
lizes its financial conquests, is, by its necessary limitations, not the 
kind that promotes a better life for the majority of its inhabitants. 

II 

The strategy of good city planning during the next twenty years 
is not to further this megalopolitan growth; on the contrary, it 
must, it seems to me, execute a flank movement. I do not mean 
that the replanning of our big cities should be neglected: the 
point is that such replanning can be effective only if it can devote 
itself to the better housing and distribution of its existing popula- 
tion, and if it does not attempt to increase its difficulties by adding 
large increments of people to the mass of jammed traffic arteries 
and dingy residential slums that now mark the spread of New 
York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, and their imitators. 
The problem of metropolitan planning let us face the fact candidly 
and not take refuge in cities that can not exist anywhere but on 
paper once we start to balance the budget is insoluble if it leads 
to preparation for the further extension of congested areas. If 
city planning is to be on the side of the humanizing elements in 
our civilization it cannot identify itself with our programs for 
metropolitan aggrandizement. Its task is to systematically aid 
those forces which are working against the domination of purely 
financial values, and which are seeking to promote regional renewal, 
by linking up farms and industries, natural resources and centers of 
manufacture in the new patterns made possible by modern tech- 
nology. 

In framing an attitude that will lead to more effective city 
planning during the next twenty years, we must not be content to 
accept all our existing financial, industrial, and political institutions 
as fixed. If we cannot house our population adequately, for ex- 
ample, under a system of increasing land increments and a six to 
ten per cent charge for the use of money, we must find out what 
measures can be taken which will make land and money available 
for this essential purpose. A scheme of stable zoning, and a method 



50 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

of taxation based upon the actual use-value of the land, and not 
upon its potential value when converted to another use, would 
reduce the upward movement of ground values in residential areas, 
and so reduce one of the factors that make the eventual cost of 
housing in a new area prohibitive: the high price of money offers 
quite another problem; but that, too, is probably not beyond intel- 
ligent social control. 

In other words, the city planner must not merely cut his coat to 
fit his cloth; he must also specify what sort of cloth is needed to 
produce a decent coat, since, by no sleight of hand, can gunny 
sacking be converted into a fine suit of clothes. The New York 
Housing and Regional Planning Commission showed that two- 
thirds of the population could not afford to rent new quarters 
built to meet modern hygienic and sanitary standards; and without 
good housing, the most elaborate programs for city improvement 
must be superficial. 

In short, the external shell of a city is an inevitable reflection of 
its internal life of the habits and ideas and institutions that 
flourish there. There is no miraculous formula for changing the 
shell without changing the internal life, too; the two go hand in 
hand. If so little genuine improvement has been effected in our 
cities, in spite of all the efforts during the last twenty years that 
Mr. Nolen has enumerated, it is perhaps simply for the reason that 
our dominant desire for quantitative growth and large speculative 
profits and much conspicuous expenditure, personal and civic, has 
produced its own kind of physical image in crowded skyscrapers, 
packed subways, and endless miles of semi-respectable, semi- 
sanitary, semi-habitable urban slums quite as inevitably as 
the desire for the harmonious relation of republican institu- 
tions, on the part of Washington and Jefferson, produced, 
through the cooperation of Major L'Enfant, the ordered magnifi- 
cence of the restored plan of Washington; although here again 
sordid aims and limited plans for private acquisition have spoiled 
the picture a little. There are situations in which the city planner is 
aided by our existing institutions. Wherever land is not too dear, 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 51 

for example, our outdoor culture and our more intelligent provision 
for children create a desire for parks and playgrounds that works 
on the side of the city planner. On the other hand, the city 
planner is often confronted, on the outskirts of a growing city, with 
speculative subdivisions of land which have prematurely turned 
good truck gardens into a confused mass of small individual owner- 
ships that cannot be rationally planned into any sort of neighborly 
unity; and here our existing conventions and constitutional ar- 
rangements, which prevent our municipalities from acquiring the 
land needed for their future development, work obstinately against 
the city planner's art and, what is more important, against public 
advantage. When such conditions exist, the city planner must 
either challenge the special institutions which obstruct the public 
good or allow himself and the community to be paralyzed by 
them. 

Ill 

Now, what tendencies may foster the art of the city planner 
during the next twenty years? What forces promise to aid a more 
humane and vital development of our cities? I can single out only 
a few of the more obvious forces; and I must add that these are 
only potentially capable of improving our cities since they may 
also be used and are now being used in such a fashion as to 
automatically increase the congestion and muddle, and to nullify 
any genuine improvement. 

In the past, the great increase in population in our urban centers 
was due partly to immigration from foreign countries and partly 
to internal migration from the rural districts into the big city. This 
period has been characterized by the spread of the railroad, a proc- 
ess which developed the main lines and the termini at the expense 
of large stretches of country and the smaller cities that lay beyond. 
All these factors have been profoundly modified during the last 
twenty years. In the development of the auto and the aeroplane 
a new set-up has been created: the new net of auto-roads touches 
rural regions which had been scarcely tapped by the railroad and 



52 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

it has freed transportation from the water-level route. The de- 
velopment of electric power, similarly, has turned certain sparsely 
settled hill regions with a good climate into potential industrial 
centers; the power line is not confined to the railroad line, which 
brought the factory and the mine together; it has become a much 
more flexible unit which can reach upland areas and regional cul-de- 
sacs the railroad cannot economically enter. 

The inhabitant of the smaller town now has almost immediate 
access to the countryside, provided that he does not live on one of 
the main highways that lead out of a great city; and the manu- 
facturer in such centers, particularly in the light industries, is no 
longer cut off from his supplies or markets, even if he is not directly 
on a railroad line. This development has potentially given the 
whole region an advantage for transportation and intercommunica- 
tion which was once possessed only by the big city with its public 
rapid transit system, and it is plain that the increase of commercial 
aviation will not diminish this spread, since the aeroplane can go 
in any direction provided it has a sufficiently large and flat landing 
field. 

What the motor and the dynamo have done in the production 
of goods the telephone and the radio have done in the matter of 
social intercourse. Hence, the metropolis is no longer the sole 
possessor of the physical conveniences of intercourse; if it has any 
future at all from this standpoint, it must be as a culture-city, 
reaching out and serving, through its museums, theaters, art 
exhibitions, whole areas which it now is content to leave in a 
destitute arid barbarous state. 

With all these new developments, the congestion of population 
into vast interminable urban districts has become an obsolete 
process. Cities like New York and Chicago belong to the dinosaur 
stage of our development; their growth represents the accretions 
of past efforts and past opportunities, chiefly opportunities for 
financial gain. If new regions open up favorable opportunities 
for more efficient industrial production and for a more satisfactory 
family life, without imposing the inordinate taxes which congestion 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 53 

imposes in the way of ground rents and wasteful utilities if new 
regions favor the development of the smaller type of city, about 
which Mr. Nolen has so ably written in his recent book, New 
Towns for Old, it is plain that our metropolises -will continue to 
hold their own only if they can justify their existence by greater 
opportunities for culture and for a stimulating life. 

These are not the only changes that tend to favor a regional 
rather than a metropolitan development. Professor Russell Smith, 
the geographer, has pointed out that localization of manufacture 
has perhaps gone too far, and that widespread distribution of 
electric power in town, village and home, together with standardi- 
zation has now made it possible to manufacture many things in 
small centers. "It may become easier,*' he points out, "to trans- 
port the man's raw materials and his product than his food," in 
which case industry will find it advantageous to shift from the 
consuming centers like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago to 
the regions where green food can be locally grown in proportion to 
immediate needs, and where good conditions of climate and a 
pleasant landscape exist. With power, transportation, standard- 
ized machinery, and technical knowledge now available outside 
our big cities, good industrial sites have become numerous; they 
are no longer limited to ports and railroad termini. 

All these changes in the opportunities for distributing population 
and improving urban life and reviving rural regions are due to 
technical improvements that have been developed in the last 
generation. But the city planner who wants to prepare for the 
next twenty years cannot be content to reckon alone with these 
technological and economic factors; he must also take into account 
more imponderable shifts in our ideas and our cultural preoccupa- 
tions. The small city is not an end in itself; it is desirable only 
because, at the present stage of our civilization, it enables us to 
achieve by simpler and more direct methods, and with less costly 
equipment, all that is needed for a healthy, vigorous, and civilized 
life. In this department, a change in human interests and values 
is quite as significant as a transformation of our physical apparatus. 



54 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

One of the most important changes that has come about in 
American life, from the standpoint of the community planner, 
is the gradual undermining of the ancient American belief in 
quantity, and the appreciation of the fact that qualitative achieve- 
ments are of the first order of importance. It was inevitable that 
the pioneer city, with none of the resources of culture, should have 
prided itself on the number of heads it could count, the number of 
miles of paved streets it could measure; the number of dollars its 
goods sold for. Proud of bigger and better Boomtown, its citizens 
could not conceive that if all the statistics showed an upward curve, 
life itself was not also advancing in the same fashion. Today an 
increasing number of our countrymen realize that this is nonsense. 
They are aware that the biggest reservoir does not necessarily have 
the best water; if it did, Chicago, which draws on Lake Michigan, 
would boast the most delicious supply in the country, instead of 
furnishing its citizens a disagreeable antiseptic mouthwash; they 
are aware that the richest city is not necessarily the best housed; 
if it were, New York would not have the largest quantity of vile 
and insanitary slums. 

Remy de Gourmont said that the dissociation of ideas was one 
of the most important steps in one's intellectual development; and 
the historian of America may well think that a turning point has 
been reached in American life when any considerable part of the 
population begins to dissociate the words bigger and better. There 
have been a number of signs during the last decade that all point 
in this direction: I would only mention the growth of the little 
theater there are now some 1500 in the United States and the 
rise of regional universities, like those in North Carolina, New 
Mexico, and Nebraska to something more than local importance. 
Not merely have we begun to see that smallness is no obstacle to 
a good life, we have also come to recognize the importance of 
setting limits to growth: the new institute of technology in Cali- 
fornia to be headed by Professor Millikan, and Professor Meickle- 
john's new college of arts in Wisconsin, the Brookings School of 
Economics and Politics in Washington, are designed to remain 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 55 

small. Even in New York, the growing College of the City of New 
York, instead of clamoring for higher buildings on the campus and 
extra transportation facilities, has, by a process of fission, produced 
a second college in Brooklyn, formed about a faculty from the 
parent college. There is no logical reason why this process should 
not be repeated in city planning. In other words, we have now 
begun to recognize that real growth, as distinct from the numerical 
addition of units, cannot continue indefinitely. A school, a factory, 
a university, a city may have a different limit of growth, and under 
changing conditions that limit may change: but each has a limit. 
That limit is set by its functions. When it grows beyond its limit, 
it can no longer perform its functions. 

When city planners learn to think in terms of the essential civic 
functions, they will not ask how many parks or schools or play- 
grounds they can afford after a sufficient amount of reckless ex- 
pansion has taken place. They will ask, rather, how much growth 
they can afford to encourage and still retain the sites necessary to 
an economical but sufficiently spacious arrangement of houses, 
gardens, local parks and playgrounds, factory sites, market centers, 
and open park belts. If city planning is to have any human 
significance during the next twenty years, the provision for nu- 
merical growth must be a subordinate one; the main business of 
the planner, certainly the main business of the regional planner, 
will be to learn something about the function of reproduction. Our 
congested city districts must learn to produce new cities, exactly 
as the College of the City of New York, instead of tolerating 
further congestion, has produced a new college. At present, the 
only great city that has attempted to provide for further population 
by setting up a complete new city is London, which in less than 
twenty years produced Letch worth and Welwyn; and although 
this system of preproduction works against the grain of our present 
scheme of finance and credit, which is based upon the notion of 
shoving up ground values and intensively congesting land in the 
existing centers, we shall have to master it if we are to escape the 
regimentation and the paralysis that now threaten us. 



56 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

What is needed during the next twenty years is not new me- 
chanical provisions for relieving that is, increasing congestion; 
we can well spare the multiple decked highways and the aerial 
perspectives that our lazy imaginations conjure up. What we need 
are new social instruments and policies on a regional rather than an 
urban scale, which will provide for more numerous and better 
cities. Our city planning has gotten beyond the city beautiful 
stage; but today it is perhaps not altogether unfair to say that it 
is in the engineering beautiful stage, and, forgetting the fountains 
and the civic centers that were the goal of older efforts, it is devoted 
mainly to the perfection and extension of transportation facilities. 
But the essential business of the city planner is not to see that 
fountains are beautiful though beauty is important nor that 
traffic highways are passable though ease of movement is essential 
his business is to have a synthetic grasp of all the elements in a 
city's life, and to provide such a framework that each part may 
exercise its appropriate function and exhibit its special individuality. 
The city planning that provides conspicuously for the growth 
and extension of the city, at any sacrifice, never reaches the heart 
of its problem; and when we accept such a basis for our programs, 
and are distrustful of limitations upon size and potential ground 
values, we work against the art of building and reproducing cities, 
and never give ourselves the advantage of a fresh start. 

Here in broad lines is the choice that will determine the course 
of city building during the next twenty years. If we continue to 
go in for unlimited and badly distributed growth, for the sake of 
greater financial aggrandizement, instead of putting human values 
in the foreground, our course will lead ultimately to a hardening 
and a petrification of all the possibilities of city life; instead of 
creating a beautiful city form, we will never get beyond what, in 
sculpture, would be called the armature. On the other hand, if we 
have the energy and the imagination to resist the vested interests 
in congestion, we may use our modern technology the auto, the 
radio, giant power, standardized production along with our 
human desire for a finer and more enjoyable life, to build up a 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 57 

more satisfactory layout, region by region, with countryside and 
city developed together for the purpose of promoting and enhanc- 
ing the good life. If our city form is to be merely a mechanical 
armature, expressive of no human mastery or design, there is no 
place for the city planner; and if he is to have a place, he must be 
on the side of the forces which are friendly and helpful to his art. 
Mr. Nolen's book on the small city New Towns for Old shows 
that at least one city planner realizes where the path of intelligent 
and humane achievement will lead during the next generation. 

I have tried only to define an intelligent attitude; I have no 
desire to describe dream cities or wonder cities; for just as our 
experimental and progressive education has brought us back to 
the play method described by Plato in his Republic, so an experi- 
mental and thoroughly modern program of city development will 
lead us back, I have no doubt, to a relatively simple city layout; 
since, when we wish to live a humane life, we shall not use ma- 
chinery simply to produce more elaborate machinery, but will use 
our powers to buy leisure and to enjoy the arts of life. The modern 
city planner who has an opportunity to practice his art, decreases 
the area of paved streets and increases his garden space; he 
simplifies his sewer connections and uses the savings for bigger 
rooms; he does away with the need for expensive subways and 
double decked streets by a better relation of home and industrial 
sites; and by all these economies he not merely adds an hour or 
two of leisure to the worker's day, but sets free funds for schools, 
libraries, art museums, concert halls, theaters, and other public 
buildings. 

The place where the great city stands is not the place of stretched 
wharves and markets and ships bringing goods from the ends of 
the earth; it is the place where the arts and sciences come together 
for the promotion of an interesting life; it is that form of the com- 
munity in which man can enter most fully into his social heritage; 
it is the place where the physical means of living are so arranged 
that men can pass through the crises of animal existence, birth and 
death, and pursue their work and mate and become the parents of 
5 



58 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

children, and be neighbors and companions in work with the 
smallest amount of frustration and waste, and with the largest 
enjoyment and exuberance of life. City design that is worth the 
name works to create this humanized environment; its prime end 
is not mechanical efficiency alone, still less does it seek merely to 
produce the greatest amount of financial profit for the investing 
classes. City design is an attempt to create a shell favorable to the 
best life possible. It can succeed only when the city planner tries 
to fathom and express, even in the most menial or subordinate 
activity, what the best life possible is, for his own time and place, 
and refuses, as far as it lies within his power, to let any particular 
convention or institution stand in the way of his provision for it. 



CITY PLANNING PROGRESS IN CANADA 

NOULAN CAUCHON, Ottawa, Canada 

After hearing Mr. Nolen's splendid record of what you have done 
in this country, it is very hard to have to confess how slow our 
progress has been, but we have been laboring under the difficulties 
which all countries encounter in the beginning of movements, 
i. e., apathy on the part of the public, and of those in the "seats 
of the mighty." 

About 1910 we had the privilege of a visit from Henry Vivian, 
of England, and his address in Ottawa started people thinking 
along town planning and particularly along housing lines. Our 
people did not respond at once, but in 1914, after the meeting in 
Toronto of the National Conference on City Planning, we had 
Mr. Adams come to us from Letch worth to spread the gospel. 
He took the best advantage of a great opportunity, but at the end 
of a few years, the government withdrew its backing. From that 
time town planning has been carried on by private effort, principally 
by the Town Planning Institute of Canada which has a member- 
ship of 150 spread all over the Dominion. The only help we get 
from the Government is office room for the Town Planning Insti- 
tute Journal, and the invaluable services of Mr. Buckley, our 
Editor. The City of Ottawa also has for six or seven years given 
its Town Planning Commission an annual amount for carrying on 
town planning. I have the honor of being Chairman of the Ottawa 
Commission, and the privilege of acting as honorary Technical 
Advisor. 

We have succeeded after eighteen years of effort in securing the 
organization of a Federal District Commission, though not quite 
along the same lines as the Washington District Commission. There 
are no physical boundaries to its jurisdiction. The Commission, 
composed of ten men, has been given a budget of $250,000, a year. 
We do not expect to see very much accomplished with the money 
available, but I hope that the Commission will be an incentive to 

59 



60 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

our legislators to give more help to the nation-wide movement 
for planning. We need for the Dominion at large the kind of back- 
ing that the Russell Sage Foundation has given to the Regional 
Plan in New York, and we need also the excellent kind of work 
that has been done by Mr. Hoover's Division of Building and 
Housing in the United States Department of Commerce. 

The able papers which have just been given by Mr. Nolen and 
Mr. Mumford, so full of human sympathy, strengthen my convic- 
tions that ethics, economics and art, though different, yet are indi- 
visible manifestations of natural law. In the philosophy of town 
planning, ethics are those customs of righteousness which have 
become so of necessity for survival, in the evolution of the race; 
economics is the science of the conservation and conversion of 
energy to the maintenance of life (not the science of wealth !) ; art 
is expression of the properties of matter and the nature of things. 
Town planning is the technique of sociology. Our western civili- 
zation is yet woefully lacking in coordination and in social co- 
operation. 

We have touched on research several times during this meeting, 
and other meetings of the Conference. The work of the Russell 
Sage Foundation and of the Department of Commerce has 
emphasized this element, but I think we (the United States and 
Canada) need what might be called a "Post-Graduate School of 
Scientific Research" into the problems of the great city and the 
small city. Towns are growing faster than our planning movement. 
One of these days, I am satisfied that city and regional planning 
will come suddenly to flower, and the people as a whole will recog- 
nize the necessity of planning cities for efficiency, for health, and 
for "the good life." Then there will hardly be town planners 
enough to answer the call. 

The terrible devastation of the Mississippi Valley offers a great 
opportunity and duty to the town planners of the United States. 
Relief is the first necessity, but the second should be the replanning 
of the ruined communities for the future so that their people will 
have a more effective, a more productive, and a happier life. 



CITY PLANNING: ITS MEANING, ITS ACHIEVE- 
MENTS, ITS FUTURE 

GEORGE McANENY, Member New York City Committee on 
Plan and Survey 

Let me first say that I have shared what must have been your 
common inspiration in coming back to Washington for this Con- 
ference. It is always an exciting thing to come to Washington, but 
pleasantly exciting to come under these circumstances. To listen 
in the city of L'Enfant to the stories of what is being done today 
throughout the United States in futherance of the plans and prin- 
ciples for which he stood, to see about us everywhere the convincing 
object lessons of the worth of proper city planning, is inspiring 
indeed. 

Washington has some very definite advantages unknown to the 
rest of us. Washington is governed by a Commission, but governed 
by a Commission with an illimitable command of power, for behind 
it stands the Treasury of the United States ! I not only congratulate 
the people of Washington who gave up that birth-right known as 
the voting franchise in order to enjoy experiences of this kind; I 
not only congratulate them upon the almost unbroken line of good 
government with which they have been blessed but upon the fruits 
of that kind of government; upon the customary wisdom of the 
President in selecting his commissioners, and upon their expert de- 
votion to their work. So Washington not only has a foundation of 
fairly well organized municipal plans, so far as the Government 
goes, but has behind it the engineering ability of the Federal Gov- 
ernment itself, expressed partly through the Commission and partly 
through the Executive Department. 

I remember that when the Congressional Library was built by the 
engineers of the War Department, Colonel Green in charge, and 
when there was turned back to the Treasury Department, at the 
conclusion of the work, an unexpended balance subsequently re- 

61 



62 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

ported to Congress, there was a fainting condition of affairs around 
the halls of legislation. We were all impressed, particularly those 
of us who knew anything about the building of a State House in 
Albany, or a City Hall in Philadelphia. Perhaps I might give you 
a much longer list of citations, but in any event, the other sort of 
thing happens in Washington. And never in its history has there 
been a more promising time than today, when the Government and 
Congress too, are unitedly supporting new plans for great build- 
ing ventures, new plans for the realization of greater beauty and 
signatures are being put to the documents that soon will bring 
these things into being. 

I don't think the rest of the country begrudges for one moment 
the expenditure of the public funds upon the further beautification 
of Washington. I say begrudge that is rather a cold word 
in itself. I think the rest of the country applauds it, loves it, glories 
in it. Washington has long been proclaimed not only the most 
beautiful of our cities, but one of the most beautiful in the world, 
it has held the title of the "City of Magnificent Distances" for the 
most of this time, and many of its magnificent distances were rather 
vacant of occupation. 

But these things are being changed. The gaps are closing up. 
The visions are being realized. The dream of L'Enfant is coming 
into actuality, with scarcely a material change in the scheme as it 
left his wonderful hand and mind. 

And so we are here, enjoying this thing, and every American who 
comes here not only gets the benefit of a personal experience of 
Washington and its beauty, but goes back converted to some new 
idea of correct city planning, or certainly ought to be so converted. 

In other words, plans for Washington serve not merely to make 
a more beautiful capital, but to offer a continuing demonstration 
of what correct city planning is, and of what may be gained prac- 
tically through the adoption of our principles in any city of the 
country. 

I spoke of inspiration. I should think, too, that all of you must 
find an even keener inspiration in the contemplation of what this 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 63 

body and the bodies that are represented in conference here, have 
done in a matter of perhaps twenty years. We have a marvelous 
record of accomplishment. 

Twenty years ago I well recall that city planning was regarded 
generally as a convenient name for a fad. We talked more about 
the " City Beautiful" in those days, and the City Beautiful present- 
ed a confusing idea to a great many people, something associated 
with geranium pots in windows, for instance, and trifles of that 
description. 

It took some time to convince a reasonable number of thinking 
people that city planning in itself was not a fanciful thing, but pre- 
sented really a great and intensely practical program for the pub- 
lic good. And then little by little things began to happen. Finally 
came the crystallization in this conference of the sentiment, the 
purposes, and the thought developing these things the country 
over. 

I remember how, many years ago, was it nine or ten? when 
you were in Toronto, it was my good fortune to be there. There 
were some three hundred delegates from the United States, from 
Canada, some from England, and among them, happily, a man 
whom we had just begun to know, Thomas Adams, who sits over 
there, and who has become a citizen of the United States by 
affectionate adoption, one of the leaders of us all. 

That conference it seemed to me, marked a planning epoch. 
Things went more rapidly after that, and have come down glori- 
ously to today. I happened to be associated with the beginning of 
this work in New York City at that time, and if I refer to a few of 
our doings there, you will believe that I do not do so to present a 
personal report, but by way of possibly helpful illustration, drawn 
from personal experience. 

W 7 e had a very hard fight in New York. We were ridiculed by 
some, tolerated by others, and comfortably assured that we'd 
never get anywhere. But we did. I happened then to be in the 
City Government, and serving coincidentally as Chairman of the 
Commission on Transit of the Board of Estimate, and as Chair- 



64 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

man of a newly created committee I had been able to bring about 
the Committee on the City Plan. And the Committee on the City 
Plan took it into its head that it couldn't make a better start in- 
this matter than by getting a grip upon our private building per- 
formances in the City of New York. 

Our skyscrapers were things of world-wide interest. Our sky- 
line was something that people coming from Europe on incoming 
steamers wrote poetry about. That they agreed, was one of the 
wonders of the world; the buildings that created it were crushing 
the life out of us, down there in the toe of Manhattan, and some- 
thing had to be done to stop them. 

We got into more ambitious and productive city planning 
through this approach. We appointed, or there had been ap- 
pointed just about that time, a Committee of City Engineers to look 
into the matter of the occupation of the lower part of Manhattan, 
and they found (I have told this tale before, but it will stand re- 
peating) that below Chambers Street, while not more than two per 
cent of the available sites for skyscrapers upon the more prominent 
streets had been occupied, nevertheless, if the working population, 
the day population, of these buildings were all hurried into the 
street at one time, by a great conflagration, for instance, or an 
earthquake tremor (we have had them), or a bombardment (and we 
once thought we might have that) in any event, if they were all 
brought down to the street at one time, they would if they could, 
stand five deep from building line to building line. 

That suggested rather an impossible situation. We hadn't had 
any of these alarming things, but we were experiencing a conges- 
tion of our street surfaces even in normal times, that was becoming 
intolerable. We were experiencing a cruel congestion of our rapid 
transit facilities upon which most everybody wanted to come and 
go at the same time of the day, either to or from one particular 
part of Manhattan island. In the buildings light and air were go- 
ing by the board. A man had the right to put up a building that 
would rob his neighbor of both, and subsequently to subject the 
tenants of that building and their employees to conditions of living 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 65 

that were neither wholesome nor comfortable nor even physically 
safe. 

For all these reasons we decided we'd stop building skyscrapers 
of the spectacular type, and the Committee on the City Plan ap- 
pointed an advisory commission to take this matter up. Happily, 
we were able to secure as Chairman of that Commission Mr. Ed- 
ward M. Bassett, whom you all know and who is still "marching 
on." We had a Commission of twenty-five, all unpaid, of course, 
engineers, architects, real estate men, railway men, lawyers, social 
workers every pertinent interest represented, and represented in 
a high way, by the highest in their respective crafts. This Com- 
mission started in to frame a plan to curb the building of skyscrapers. 
"Generally speaking," they said, "Don't permit them to go higher 
than an equivalent of double the width of the street." Even that 
was considered revolutionary. The Commission held fifty-two 
public hearings. There were many protests, particularly from those 
who owned as yet undeveloped or unoccupied sites available still 
for skyscrapers. These owners said the thing couldn't be done; 
that there was no sense in it; that it was uneconomic; that it was 
unfair, and finally that it was unconstitutional, and that if we did 
this thing they would quickly flout us in the courts. 

While this was going on, the Commission, aided by an expert 
staff, which included Ernest Goodrich, George Ford, Robert Whit- 
ten, and Herbert Swan, this staff of four was hard at work proving 
that the thing could be done, done economically, and to the glory of 
the town as well as to its real estate. In the midst of their work it 
occurred to someone Why not zone the city also? There hadn't 
been any good zoning done in America except in Boston and a few 
trifling local instances. So we appointed a second commission, again 
with Mr. Bassett as Chairman, and about half the old personnel, 
with some new additions, and we proceeded to zone the city. 

I won't repeat here the story of how we did it, or what the 
principles accepted were, because you know all about that as well 
as I. I am referring merely to what may to some of you be an in- 
teresting bit of history. 



66 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Next, ordinances were drafted and we got an act from Albany, 
from the Legislature, to help us, permitting both the zoning of the 
city and the regulation of height within zones. We stuck sub- 
stantially to the height lines first proposed, double the width of the 
street with some few exceptions. But there had been introduced a 
new idea, suggested by Burt Fenner, a member of the twenty-five, 
and more recently the head of the firm of McKim, Mead, & White. 
He suggested the "setbacks," that is, to let them go up higher, if 
for every twenty feet they went up they went back five; to let 
them, too, build towers to any height so long as they didn't take 
more than one-quarter of the area of the lot for the tower site. 
These principles were adopted. So modified, the plan went through 
and became part of the law of the City of New York in July of 1916. 
It has been the law ever since. 

Our opponents kept their word. They went to court. They 
carried the issue to the Supreme Court of the United States, and 
the Supreme Court, having before them one or two cases in the 
meantime, that had risen in California, held, upon the group of 
cases, that the public authorities had the right to do, through legis- 
lative action, just what we had done, as a measure designed to 
promote the common health, the common safety and the common 
comfort and the zoning laws and height regulation laws stand today 
embodied in the law of the land. 

That was the first comprehensive zoning scheme, as I under- 
stand it, established in the United States, and now what have you? 
I saw Mr. Nolen's figures the other day, and roughly, as I recall 
them (perhaps he will correct me) there are some four hundred and 
fifty odd cities in the United States that have zoning laws, and one- 
half or more than one-half of the urban population of the United 
States, those living in cities over 30,000, are livingunder zoning laws. 

And still the trend goes on. Its pure common sense has caught 
the imagination of the people of the country, and it will keep on 
going on until the city that hasn't such an institution will soon be 
marked as non-progressive, and as a city that ought to be more or 
less ashamed of itself. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 67 

Not only that. Some broader city planning had been done be- 
fore these things. We appointed, however, a third Advisory Com- 
mission to the Committee on the City Plan, the third being de- 
signed to take up where the other two left off and to devote itself to 
the framing of a permanent plan for the City of New York. 
Charles Norton was made Chairman of that body, again a body of 
twenty-five. How he proceeded, what ideals he held in view, with 
what inspiration and knight-like devotion he set to work there 
again is a story known to all of you. 

But Norton's Commission didn't get very far. Sometimes the 
good do die young. Shortly afterward we had a change of admin- 
istration in the City of New York, and I dare say persons with per- 
fectly honest motives, while living up to their lights, with perfect 
honesty, decided that they didn't want that kind of thing. The 
Advisory Board, chilled with their neglect, went out of existence. 
Quite a number of things like that went out of existnce. But we 
had made the start. We had got grounded, and nothing could stop 
the progress that had been promised, and that since has been so 
largely realized. 

But Norton found in the Sage Foundation, of which he was a 
director, a means of carrying on through private support that 
which had been denied through public support. You know that 
story, too, the organization of the Board on the Regional Plan of 
New York, of which Norton was the first Chairman, and to which 
post, on Norton's untimely death, Frederic Delano, your Chairman 
of today, succeeded. 

That Board, securing the executive direction of Mr. Adams for 
its work, securing, as it went along, the advice in one relation or 
another of men like Lawson Purdy, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Whitten, 
Mr. Goodrich, Mr. Ford all of this honored and honorable list 
that I have mentioned here that Board has been going ahead 
with a plan not only for the City of New York, but for the region 
of New York and its Environs. I believe that through them, our 
most cherished plan Norton's plan will in brief time be realized. 

May I again ask you to pardon me for bringing in so much of 



68 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

New York, but I happen to know about that, and I do believe that 
what is now being done there is going to help you all; just as I be- 
lieve that the establishment of our zoning and regulating plans 
helped you all. We have a different city administration in office 
now, one that takes a different view of these matters. One of the 
first things that Mayor Walker did was to create a General Citizens' 
Committee on the Plan and Survey of the City of New York, com- 
posed of 471 members. Some people were a bit appalled when that 
number was announced, but I think perhaps without warrant. 
It did enable the dividing up of the main body into quite a number 
of separate committees, and these are all working under a helpfully 
coordinated scheme. They are going eventually to report some 
revolutionary things for the consideration of the actual city govern- 
ment. 

What I rank as of the first importance of those committees, the 
sub-committees of the main body, is the one on "Housing, Zoning, 
and Distribution of Population," under the Chairmanship of Mr. 
Ecker, of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. That, in 
turn, has subdivided into three one for each of these titles, and 
there they have again drawn on our humble selves, you and the 
rest of us because the Chairman of the Zoning Committee happens 
to be Mr. Bassett, and the Chairman of the Housing Committee 
Mr. Veiller, while I have the gentle detail of the distribution of 
population. 

We are at work within that body, upon a plan that will secure 
the establishment incidentally of a permanent planning commis- 
sion with some actual powers, among them, I trust, the power 
of veto upon particular enterprises that do not meet with its favor 
or that do not fit properly into the general scheme; a commission 
that will coordinate and bring together various functions now more 
or less scattered in other departments, and that will function under 
a public appropriation, made annually, to keep it in life and to in- 
sure its permanent power and usefulness. 

As I view the matter at just about the time that the Regional 
Planning Board is ready to present the results of its five years of 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 69 

work, the public body ought to be ready for service and equipped 
to take up where the other has left off, to carry into the city govern- 
ment itself, finally, the work that heretofore has been done through 
private enterprise. 

I cannot promise that these things will come to pass; but if they 
do not, then the Mayor, in the appointment of this great and dis- 
tinguished body of men and women, shall have failed. I do not be- 
lieve that the Mayor is seeking or expecting failure. I believe that 
he and his advisers will recognize that this is the most valuable 
and the most important single outcome that could follow the work 
of the men and women that he has called into his service. Now, if 
we do accomplish this, what finally have we demonstrated? The 
fact that your last appeal and your most important appeal must 
be to government itself. We have convinced each other and 
ourselves. We are convincing the country. We have 350 cities 
now with city planning commissions, more than that with zoning 
bodies, but 350 with planning commissions, whereas, twenty years 
ago I doubt whether there were any. We have 150 cities actually 
growing and being developed under planning laws and regulations 
that are now in effect. 

There have been brought to pass, with the conversion of public 
authorities these weighty things; but the broader conversion of 
public authorities remains in my judgment, your crowning bit of 
work. You know how to do it. You are showing the way in large 
measure, through your own means and your own ability. You can 
accomplish just so much, but you need the public support, officially 
given, and the use and command of the public moneys to make city 
planning in America the success that it must be before your work 
is done. 

We hope that in New York we shall soon present a new demon- 
stration of the fact that this thing can be done, and with the city 
government at our back. Already the Committee on the Plan and 
the Survey, appointed by Mayor Walker, has accepted the co- 
operation of the Regional Plan Board. In its counsels it says, in 
effect, "Why should we do otherwise? Why should we spend 



70 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

money upon a preparatory work that has already been so admirably 
done, and the results of which have been put at our service?" So 
the means of passing from the one thing to the other have already 
been worked out, and I feel that I can in fact prophesy, subject to 
the unbelievable suggestion of failure on the part of the Mayor's 
Commission, that we shall soon have in New York city planning, 
officially recognized, officially supported, and carried along its way 
through the application of the public funds. 

Now, some people have been led to believe, particularly those 
who thought of us as a fanciful lot in the early years, that city 
planning in itself costs money, that it means the city should spend 
more than it ought to, or otherwise would have spent. Of course, 
we all know that the reverse of that is true. City planning in itself 
doesn't cost anything. It means at the most that the funds that 
would have been spent upon public enterprises for the wrong kind 
of thing will be spent in no greater degree upon the right kind, and 
the right kind won't cost more; the right kind when you consider 
that the elements of waste and of mistake are eliminated, will 
cost less. The saving to any city government through common 
sense planning and through the articulation of all of its physical, 
all of its public functions in a common scheme, must be incal- 
culable. 

And always when we speak of public support we mean a sup- 
port intelligently given. We trust that all concerned will natu- 
rally be bent upon saving the public moneys, upon making a more 
practical, a more beautiful, a more serviceable and a more healthful 
city, and upon doing this at less expense than in the old days of error 
and mistake. But you can't be city planners, complete city plan- 
ners, unless you are also, in some degree and otherwise, municipal 
reconstructionists. You need not only sympathetic city govern- 
ment. You need efficient city government, and when you go from 
a room in which you are planning cities, you belong in some other 
room where men are discussing the difficulties associated with city 
government still unfreed from what we call party politics. You 
belong in still another, where men are discussing the correct 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 71 

methods of municipal taxation as against the incorrect. You will 
soon perceive upon any study of either of those topics that our 
troubles in the past in the cities, and the troubles still plaguing us 
in most of them today are chiefly due to the fact that we persist in 
treating as a matter of politics, what is purely a business enter- 
prise; that we persist in classifying the men and women who vote 
in cities, theoretically, upon city issues, according to what their 
views may be about the tariff or the trusts, or the foreign debt; 
in other words, according to their description as members of the two 
national parties or three or four. To put it concretely, we still, 
in most cities, choose the men who are to pass upon the city plan- 
ning, not for their expert skill in business judgment, but because 
they have served a local party boss in some branch of his work, 
and depend for their living upon "politics." This sort of thing 
has been, to make a long story short, at the root and bottom of 
most of our municipal ills. Help where you can to get rid of it. 

And the twin trouble, in my judgment, has been an unscientific 
system of taxation, under which no voter pays a "tax" unless he 
owns property and holds the title of it. In other words, about ten 
percent of the average city electorate are known to the other ninety 
percent as the "taxpayers." The ninety percent consider them- 
selves as exempt, as a class supported in the matter of community 
expenditures^ by the others and they will vote anything in the way 
of public funds, according to what they believe the other man is 
going to pay. 

Abroad, of course, particularly in the English cities, universally 
abroad in civilized countries, there is no exemption from some kind 
of taxation. The land owner pays, the house owner pays, the ten- 
ant, the occupant of a store. There are poll taxes; there are vari- 
ous other taxes that come back to relieve real property, but that 
bring down to the individual voter that he is personally and 
pecuniarily interested in government. Of course, as real property 
is relieved, the property taxes come down, and the rent comes 
down. You get back onto a competitive system of renting; you 
get back to the point in fact, where the aggregate cost to the in- 



72 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

dividual is properly evened up, without net increase over what 
might be termed "the result to the individual" under our method. 
But every man understands that he has a share in the cost of the 
government, and that efficient government works in his favor. 

When the bill for the rent goes up in Liverpool and Manchester, 
the city fathers soon hear from the people, and they don't merely 
hear from the property class, so-called. Here we haven't anything 
of that kind. And in my judgment, that is the second great draw- 
back to a proper participation of the people in their own govern- 
ment, a proper understanding on their part of what it is all about. 
When they understand that when the public funds are spent under 
an orderly scheme, spent upon measures that will relieve not only 
their working and living conditions or the conditions under which 
their children play, but that will give them greater health, more 
comfortable transportation facilities, all of the other things they 
need right at hand luxuries for that matter may be put in their 
possession if only they will accept correct principles and insist that 
their leaders in office do likewise, we shall get immeasurably along. 
We should, as city planners, keep those two things in mind. As 
rapidly as the intelligence of your average voter improves, just so 
rapidly will you gain your larger measure of success. You are not 
doing your part here for your own sakes. You are doing it largely 
as a matter of public service and as an expression of good citizen- 
ship. But you will be better understood, and your purposes will 
be carried farther when you have enlisted as a constantly increas- 
army of support the men and women who don't understand today. 

Therefore, I glory in the fact that city planning itself is becoming 
popularized. It is getting into the habit of thinking of the people. 
It is being taught in public schools. It is being brought closer 
and closer to earth, and its great future is only touched even by 
the remarkable beginnings that have been made. In my judgment 
it will make more for the practical salvation, the better govern- 
ment, and the better day to day living of the people of this coun- 
try than any plan or venture we have ever, as a nation had be- 
fore us. 



HOW CITY PLANNING AFFECTS REAL ESTATE 

VALUES 

JOHN IHLDER, Manager, Civic Development Department, 
United States Chamber of Commerce 

On the assumption that it clarifies discussion for the participants 
to know what they are shooting at, I am going to describe my 
target: 

The city we have in mind is a city to live in. 

This has become of vital importance to the nation because we 
have ceased to be predominantly a rural people and are today pre- 
dominantly an urban people. Within the next generation it is 
probable that nearly 70% of our total population, more than 
102,000,000 people, will be living in cities and towns. We shall no 
longer be able to draw upon a country population to make good 
our city losses and we have decided, by enacting an immigration 
quota law, not to depend upon Europe or Asia. In this estimate 
of urban population I feel that I am very modest for New York 
alone claims that by 1965 it will have within its urbanized region 
approximately 20,000,000 people. 

There is, however, no danger that this great urban population 
will cause a national land shortage. An estimate that practically 
doubles the land occupancy of the present day city dweller gives 
only some 40,000,000 acres for urban uses, leaving a residue of at 
least 1,671,000,000 acres of arable land on which to produce our 
food. (It is our hope that by 1950 we may have definitely and 
permanently saved the farmer by having enough city people to 
eat what he produces. The trouble is he has not the patience to 
wait.) Consequently, if we have land crowding in the cities of the 
future it will be due to our own ingenuity in circumventing the 
designs of an all wise Providence. 

If the city we have in mind is a city to live in, then business must 
6 73 



74 . PLANNING PROBLEMS 

be provided for in such manner that it will not spoil the city as a 
place in which to live. This does not minimize the importance of 
business. In fact, if we did minimize the importance of business 
there would be little or no use in our planning the future of our 
cities. Business is the foundation upon which cities are built. 
Unless we provide for that foundation the whole structure will fall. 
But a foundation has its proper place, it should not be scattered 
promiscuously all over the building. 

If business is to be provided for it must have adequate sites at 
reasonable cost. This does not minimize the importance of real 
estate development. For if we did not have real estate developers 
who are willing to discount the future, our progress would be halt- 
ing. But if property is developed with an eye only to the greatest 
immediate profit on a given parcel, the ultimate result will be com- 
munity loss. 

What we are concerned with today is the building of permanent 
cities, using the word "permanent" with poetic license. We have 
passed the pioneer stage of shacks and false fronts. What we do 
from now on is increasingly likely to remain, because it is becoming 
too expensive to tear down. More and more we shall find that we 
can not afford the waste involved in demolishing a perfectly sound 
structure because it does not fit its environment or because its 
interior fittings are antiquated. Though the average life of a New 
York hotel may be reckoned today at fifteen years, the future is 
indicated by the Waldorf-Astoria which already has long outlived 
this allotted span. Our past has been a period of temporary con- 
struction natural to a new country. Our future will be a period of 
more and more permanent construction natural to a settled coun- 
try. Our past has been a period of speculation, natural when 
margins were wide and hunches the only available guide. Our 
future will be more and more a period of investment with narrower 
margins and more accurate data. 

So in our future property development we shall lay an increasing 
emphasis upon permanency. And in doing that we shall take 
account not only of the individual property, but of its environment. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 75 

Urban property values depend chiefly upon : 

1. Accessibility. 

2. Size and shape of plot. 

3. Character of present improvement whether in keeping with 
location. 

4. Laws and regulations. 

All of these are affected by city planning and zoning. Theoreti- 
cally a location at the geographical city center would be most valu- 
able because most accessible. Practically this is modified by many 
factors, important among which are the topography of the city, its 
historical development, the design of its thoroughfares, the char- 
acter of its traffic. An old downtown center tends to maintain 
itself through the services of modern facilities, as downtown Man- 
hattan with the Brooklyn Bridge, the elevated, the subway; as 
the Loop District of Chicago. But in spite of all such efforts, new 
centers and new values are created as accessibility to the old be- 
comes more difficult because of distance, time or added effort. 

Our first task then is to determine the greatest practical use of 
this downtown center and consciously develop it for that use by 
providing the necessary facilities and imposing the necessary regu- 
lations. In this we shall, of course, take into account more than 
the downtown center itself, just as we take account of more than a 
single building. If we follow the advice of Harvey Corbett and 
build both down and up to the limit of human ingenuity, creating 
five and six level streets, digging one subway under another to 
carry people to and from our skyscraper area, we shall have to con- 
sider not only the convenience of business, not only the tax burden, 
but also the living conditions of the workers. In spite of municipal 
ferries, great bridges across the East River, elevated railroads and 
subways, two millions of Manhattan's three million workers live 
in crowded tenements on the island. Such a program would 
undoubtedly increase property values. But it is another question 
whether it would result in a net profit after all expenses are paid. 
The day has been when well equipped skyscrapers paid only 2% 
or 3% on the investment. The day is coming when many of them 



76 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

will pay as little or less, even though the cost of transit facilities 
which make them possible is not borne by them, but is placed upon 
the whole community. 

The world war interrupted a normal progress that seemed likely 
to give us several valuable lessons. By creating a building shortage 
it not only raised real property prices, but brought properties into 
use without regard for their comparative value. Consequently 
we are only now beginning to note the effect of city planning and 
zoning upon values, for most of our accomplishment in this field 
has been since the war. This is particularly true of zoning which 
did not begin its spectacular sweep of the country until after the 
armistice. 

During the greater part of these past eight years our cities were 
underbuilt. Consequently buyers and tenants had to take what 
they could get, not what they wanted, and prices reflected this 
condition. Today the building shortage has been overcome in the 
majority of our cities and buyers and tenants are able to choose. 
Will they choose properties which have been given better facilities 
through wise planning for the city's development, will they choose 
properties which have been protected by zoning regulations? 

During these post-war years another question has been asked 
more and more insistently, Why are local taxes rising? The pocket 
nerve is a sensitive nerve and when touched often reacts without 
waiting for the mind to reason. Consequently many of our people 
thought they had made a case when they declared that if the federal 
government could reduce taxes from the war peak, local govern- 
ments could do the same. The fact that the federal government 
has ceased supporting an army in France while the local govern- 
ments are resuming an interrupted program of street and highway 
improvement, came as an after thought. 

But the question, in revised form, remains. Taxes affect prop- 
erty values. It must be shown that the spending of tax money 
increases values or prevents losses in values. Again, it must be 
shown that the taxes do not force an anti-social development of 
real estate. One of the reasons advanced for buildings of great 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 77 

bulk which occupy nearly all their lots, cut off light and air from 
neighboring properties and compel the digging of subways, is high 
taxes. Then, because of the expenditures which these buildings 
necessitate, taxes are raised still higher. The ascending spiral 
continues until human ingenuity is, for the moment, balked. Then 
we have a period of blight as we had years ago on lower Broad- 
way in New York. This spiral continues far beyond the best 
interests of the community as it is doing in New York today where 
an undue proportion of the taxpayers* money is going into subways 
to serve a narrow ridge of skyscrapers, while other needed public 
services are cut to the bone. So the tax question is becoming more 
discriminating. It is ceasing to be the old stock-in-trade of the 
politician who, as candidate, promised much and, as official, did 
nothing. It is becoming double barreled. First it asks, "Will the 
improvements for which tax money is to be spent increase the real 
value of the property which contributes, or only its cost ? " Second 
it asks, "Can not the benefits desired be secured for a smaller 
expenditure or greater benefits secured for an equal expenditure?" 
That is where city planning comes in. If it were not for cost we 
would pave and pave well every street and alley even beyond the 
fringes of the city. A well paved street saves in cost of operation 
to every user of that street. The problem is basically one of 
balancing the cost of improvements against saving in operation, 
though, of course, improved facilities add to use and so, as a rule, 
to values. City planning, by a more economical or more effi- 
cient street layout, gives us more for our money, makes property 
more accessible and reduces the cost. W. Clement Moore, a 
prominent business annalist, whose approach to city planning is 
that of a man whose work is advising business firms on how to cut 
down costs, says, "I became interested in city planning and zoning 
because my work has forced me to study industrial costs. I have 
specialized in taxation for fifteen years, and I have been surprised 
by the vastly greater benefits derived by citizens of well planned 
cities for each dollar of taxation as compared with cities when the 
progress is haphazard and development a matter of necessity." 



78 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

This is a complete about face from the early days of city planning 
when it was thought by the average man to be a matter of ornamen- 
tation, and consequently of needless expenditure. Even such 
demonstrations as that given by Cleveland when by developing a 
dignified, effective civic center it brought into use cheap back- 
street land and so saved much of the money that would otherwise 
have been spent on scattered sites for its public buildings, failed to 
register because the emphasis was put on beauty. The more 
recent widening of Michigan Boulevard a feature of the great 
Chicago plan has registered, however. The sixteen million dol- 
lars it cost has resulted in a rise in neighboring property values 
estimated at one hundred million dollars. The still more recent 
conversion of South Street into Wacker Drive at a cost of twenty- 
two million dollars led, within a few months of its completion, to 
increased values of between two hundred and three hundred million 
dollars. 

These are luscious figures and because they come so pat to the 
support of our belief in city planning we can not refrain from using 
them. But the future has still to show us whether they will befu/fy 
justified by use value. If Mr. Bibbins is right about his "ceiling" 
for property values against which they butt their heads in vain, 
Chicago with its four times height district may be proved too 
optimistic. 

So far city planning and zoning have resulted almost universally 
in increased values, not only for the community as a whole, but 
also for the properties immediately affected. City planning has 
brought increased facilities at a reduced expense compared with 
what similar facilities would have cost under the old haphazard 
method. Zoning too has increased real values though it has curbed 
the imaginations of speculators. This curbing, especially as re- 
gards height limits, has caused acute pains, so acute in some cities 
that they could not be endured. Chicago, for example, raised its 
height limit from one hundred and thirty feet to two hundred and 
sixty-four. Then, foreseeing the congestion that would follow, 
reduced it to two hundred. But some enterprising builders had 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 79 

taken advantage of the greater height and others demanded an 
equal privilege. So the two hundred and sixty four foot limit was 
restored, and the country now awaits results. 

Zoning for use has not raised the same commotion because, lack- 
ing data, following antiquated rules which were the best they had, 
the drafters of zoning ordinances were so generous in assigning 
space for intensive use that few speculators could complain. Com- 
mercial property when used is more valuable than residential 
property. In the old horsedrawn days stores followed street car 
lines. So street-car streets were zoned commercial and in this way 
a frontage beyond the dreams of avarice was assigned to the theo- 
retically higher price classification. 

Then we began to get surprising reactions. Home owners de- 
manded, for the protection of their investments, that commercial 
areas be re-zoned residential. Owners of vacant lots, finding no 
market because there could not be enough stores to occupy the 
commercial frontage and because house-owners would not build 
in a commercial zone, asked for re-zoning. Certain businesses 
began to prefer streets on which there were no street cars because 
automobile patrons could reach them more easily. The increasing 
use of buses which doubled the frontage on common-carrier streets 
gave the last blow to the old theory that street car streets are 
potentially business streets. 

So we began to study this question of business frontage and are 
reaching some surprising results, such as that in the suburban cities 
and towns about Chicago where it was found that in nineteen com- 
munities varying in size from 3,000 to 55,000 population, business 
actually occupies only fifty front feet for every one hundred people. 
Yet one town which contains only 500 people had zoned 87,000 
front feet for stores enough, according to the figures, to supply a 
population of 174,000. Such extravagant zoning for business 
necessarily depressed property values by keeping property off 
the market. 

But there is another phase of city planning and zoning which is 
just beginning to appear and which will cause us some concern. 



80 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Largely because of the increase of automobile traffic we must pro- 
vide thoroughfares which will carry not only continuous streams of 
vehicles, but many heavy vehicles. These will have an increasing 
effect upon the use and the value of abutting property. So far the 
effect in the main has been to increase values. Especially is this 
true in industrial and commercial areas. But our new great arterial 
highways, stretching clear across the city, traverse great areas 
which can not be occupied by business, for there can not be enough 
business. The only use for these areas is residential. Already the 
more expensive homes along them are being abandoned. In some 
cases increased land value when there is reasonable hope for com- 
mercial use compensates for decreased building value. In some 
cases apartment houses are succeeding one-family houses, for the 
apartment house dweller seems able to endure more noise and vibra- 
tion than can the home owner. But these are expedients. They 
do not promise to occupy all the arterial highway frontage we are 
creating. 

There is a subdivision of this phase of our planning and zoning 
worthy of our attention. Because of the increase of traffic and the 
character of the traffic continuous streams of automobiles, large 
numbers of heavy trucks we shall be compelled to designate cer- 
tain streets for through traffic and for heavy vehicles, i.e., we shall 
by government regulation compel traffic to follow certain routes 
instead of following its own sweet will. By so doing our govern- 
ments will assume responsibility, just as they do when they pave 
streets, and consequently they may be held responsible for results 
which follow. Suits brought against the city are no novelty. At 
the same time zoning has now been in effect long enough for many 
present owners to claim that they bought their property because 
of the protection offered them by the zoning regulations. 

Consequently, if the city, having zoned a large area residential, 
now designates certain streets through that area as main traffic 
carriers, diverts to them all through traffic and all heavy vehicles, 
and thereby destroys its value for residential purposes, it may incur 
some unexpected expenses. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 81 

This problem of the effect of main or arterial traffic carriers upon 
the use and value of abutting property is one to whose existence we 
are just beginning to awaken. Conclusive data are not yet available, 
but indications there are in plenty. Now that the housing shortage 
for the well-to-do has been overcome, so they can make choices, 
they are moving off the arterial highways. Most of you have 
noted instances in your home communities, even though, as along 
Sheridan Road in the suburbs north of Chicago, the appeal of 
a Sheridan Road address still outweighs noise and vibration and 
danger. 

But the evidence is increasing. Prominent realtors in Syracuse, 
N. Y., Scranton, Pa., Omaha, Neb., Salt Lake City, as well as in 
the largest cities, have told me that while arterial highways with 
heavy traffic increase abutting property values in commercial and 
industrial districts, they are decreasing those in residential dis- 
tricts unless other use can be found for the property. Mr. Clifton 
R. Bechtel, of the Chicago Real Estate Board, after emphasizing 
that present conditions are too recent to afford a basis for final con- 
clusions, agrees with his fellow realtors on all three counts: demand 
for industrial and commercial frontage on arterial highways is 
increasing and values are rising, but demand in residential dis- 
tricts is decreasing and, while this frontage remains residential, the 
values are lower than on adjacent side streets where the traffic is 
lighter. 

This raises squarely the question of how much arterial highway 
frontage can be re-zoned from residential to other uses, and be 
occupied for those other uses. A hasty computation for half a 
dozen cities indicates that at the rate of fifty feet of business 
frontage (outside the downtown area) for each one hundred in- 
habitants, they are already more than generously supplied with an 
arterial highway frontage in terms of business needs. This is borne 
out by our personal observations as to the character of develop- 
ment which is already taking place along such highways and elo- 
quently referred to yesterday by Mr. Barker when he added the 
new word "hot-dog kennels" to our vocabulary. 



82 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Facing this fact we have presented to us a problem in highway 
design. We have heard the arguments for superhighways from 
the point of view of traffic specialists. I wish to add a word from 
the point of view of one interested in the value of abutting property. 
This added word will necessitate an added width for the highway. 
They have spoken of what the traffic needs. I speak of the screen 
the property needs in order to be protected from the traffic. This 
means, in residence districts, planted strips between the through 
traffic road and the local service roads, and it means generous set 
backs or front yards for the houses. Some of those who have con- 
sidered the subject think that one hundred feet will be enough set 
back. Others advocate three hundred. As has been said on 
another and less serious occasion, we shall let experience be our 
guide. 

One more factor in the effect of city planning upon property 
values must be considered, though here the evidence is still more 
scanty than in the case of arterial traffic carriers. Our cities all 
over the country are ardently seeking the establishment of airports. 
In this quest many of them pay little attention to anything more 
than a field which will serve for landing. It is inevitable, however, 
that with the development of commercial aviation, now near at 
hand, these air harbors will become analogous to railway stations 
and so affect the character of their neighborhood. But it is not to 
this, nor to the equally obvious fact that such air harbors must be 
served by an adequate street system, to which I would now call 
attention. Nor would I remind you that the aviators have an 
interest, sometimes a painful interest, in high buildings, and that 
structures erected around an air harbor will have to be kept low so 
that landings may be made safely. What I have in mind is that 
the routes to these air harbors across densely populated areas will 
have to be definitely determined. They may follow parks. Per- 
haps we in Washington, because of the multiplicity of army and 
navy fliers, are more conscious of this than you from cities where 
hope still takes the place of experience. The hazard of the air will 
supersede the hazard of the streets and the annoyance of airplane 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 83 

motors supersede that of trucks, unless we can apply the lessons 
we are learning from one to our dealings with the other. 

You will doubtless have noticed that in this paper I have used 
several statistics. I have done that because they enable us to give 
a sharper focus to the picture than we could get without them. But 
statistics, even if they are complete, do not make up the whole 
picture. They can at best describe only the material, the tangible 
factors in our city building. Beyond them lie essential intangibles. 

Time was when our municipal reformers had a slogan, " Give us a 
business administration." Sad experience has led us to modify 
this to "a business-//^ administration." For we have learned 
under business mayors that a city, while it carries on great enter- 
prises in which business methods are valuable, is more than a busi- 
ness enterprise. 

So in our city planning and city building it will be possible to 
give too exclusive attention to material needs. The pendulum 
can swing too far from the altruistic days of the city beautiful. A 
policy based upon profit alone tends to defeat itself. A dash of 
idealism, a little brave aspiration for something which can not be 
fully justified upon our present understanding of economics, may 
lead to discoveries of practical economic value, to a new and higher 
standard of living remembering that the cities we are building are 
cities to live in that will prove to be fully as solidly based upon 
sound economics as the old. 

We hear much praise of that virtue, perhaps somewhat anti- 
quated in these motorized days known as horse-sense. I believe 
that this phrase was based upon the observed fact that a horse 
knows the way to go home. We miss that virtue in an automobile. 
But nevertheless it can be rated too highly. 

Old time horse-sense led the old time merchant to resent having 
a competitor in his neighborhood. It was obvious to him and to his 
generation that the competitor took part of his trade. Modern 
automobile sense leads the present day merchant to welcome com- 
petitors who will create a shopping district. Old time horse-sense 
led tenement house builders to construct buildings that occupied 



84 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

every permitted foot of the lots. Modern investment sense is 
leading some of our more progressive builders to leave half of the 
lot vacant. Old time horse-sense led employers to pay the lowest 
wages possible. Modern business sense, which understands that 
one man's employees are another man's customers, has led to 
acceptance of the principle of higher wages. 

So with some of the horse-sense which has been put before you 
in the form of statistics. It may be perfectly true that a subway 
train carries more passengers per cubic foot than a private automo- 
bile. Having lived in much abused New York I am ready to admit 
it. It may be true, though I doubt it, that twenty stories is the 
economic height of a New York skyscraper. But what of it? 
Having established that fact if we do establish it we have still 
to note the effect of such skyscrapers upon the living conditions of 
the people. For, in the long run, we must make our cities places 
in which to live, or they will fail. 

So, after noting past, present and future effects of city planning 
and zoning upon property values, we have still to check up the 
results by noting their effects in terms of human values. 



HOW CITY PLANNING HAS AFFECTED LAND 
VALUES IN CHICAGO 

EUGENE S. TAYLOR, Director, Chicago Plan Commission 

The fact that city planning increases property values has been 
well established. In Chicago the increases that have followed our 
Chicago Plan improvements have been so great that it might be 
thought that such increased values form the basis of our arguments 
why other improvements should be carried out. This, however, 
is not the case. We do suggest that the increased value of property 
is one of the reasons for an improvement, and an important reason, 
but we advance this as an incidental rather than a major reason 
for making the betterment. 

In fact, so small a part does this particular feature play in our 
educational efforts to win public approval of the Plan of Chicago 
that when I was asked to cite specific instances of property value 
increases resulting from the Michigan Avenue widening, I found 
it necessary to obtain this information from one of the leading 
realtors of Chicago. 

Mr. Frederick M. Bowes, of the Bowes Realty Company, has 
specialized for the past twenty years in property in what we term 
the Michigan Avenue district. He was good enough to go back 
through his records for that period, and all the facts and figures 
with respect to specific increases in Michigan Avenue property 
values which I shall cite have been supplied by him. 

About all that we ordinarily say in our public talks and printed 
matter with reference to the increased values resulting from the 
Michigan Avenue improvement is that the improvement has paid 
for itself six times over, having cost sixteen million dollars and 
having increased surrounding property values upwards of one 
hundred million dollars. 

85 



86 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

The amount of this increase was obtained in this manner. A 
number of parcels of real estate both on Michigan Avenue itself 
and at various points throughout the assessed district were selected. 
The value of these properties before the improvement was ascer- 
tained from the records, and then their value at the time the com- 
putation was made, which was shortly after the improvement had 
been completed. 

These figures showed an increase in the value of Michigan 
Avenue frontage ranging all the way from one hundred percent to 
sixteen hundred percent, and an increase in the value of land 
fronting on parallel and intersecting streets ranging from one 
hundred to eight hundred percent. In the assessed district the 
largest increases naturally were those where the property was 
nearest to the improvement, and the smallest increases where it 
was farthest away. 

The difference in the percentage of increase of frontage values 
along the street itself was due largely to the previous values. Ob- 
viously land worth $1,000 per front foot and advancing to $2,000 
per front foot has doubled in value, whereas land worth $500 a 
front foot before an improvement and worth $2,000 per foot after- 
wards has quadrupled in value. 

One other thing concerning increased property values resulting 
from city planning is that from the information reaching us from 
many of the leading cities of this country, on the average the right 
kind of a city plan improvement, particularly in the case of street 
widenings, seems as a general thing to about double the value of 
abutting property. 

Now as to specific increases resulting from the Michigan Avenue 
widening, Mr. Bowes submitted a list of twenty-two properties, 
of which I have selected ten as being typical examples. For con- 
venience I have designed these examples as Parcels A, B, C and 
so forth. 

Mr. Bowes points out in this connection that while the increase 
in values was in a measure influenced by the general rise in real 
estate, yet the influence of the Michigan Avenue improvement is 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 87 

clearly shown by the difference in the amount of increase in the 
Michigan Avenue district in comparison with the increase in other 
sections of the city. 

Proof of the fact that before the improvement property values 
in the Michigan Avenue district were not materially greater than 
in other comparable sections of Chicago is shown in Mr. Bowes* 
statement that when his company began operations twenty years 
ago they, to use his own words, did a real "land office business'* 
in this district on the basis of property values of $65 per front foot 
or between sixty and sixty-five cents a square foot. 

Following is a list of the ten properties selected as good examples 
of the effect resulting from the Michigan Avenue widening: 

Parcel A Section 1, purchased a year before the improvement 
at $20 a square foot; now worth $200 per square foot. Section 2, 
offered for sale in 1912 at $150,000; sold in 1922 for $1,500,000. 
Section 3, purchased about 1890 for $50,000 and now leased for 
99 years at the rate of 5% on a value of $710,000. 

Parcel B offered at $30,000 during the construction of the 
Michigan Avenue improvement; today's price, $500,000. 

Parcel C 100 by 125 feet in area and corner property, was 
purchased in 1915 for $94,000 and sold in 1926 for $1,000,000. 

Parcel D almost entirely taken for the street widening, had 
been sold by Mr. Bowes in 1913 for $9 per square foot or $900 per 
front foot. You will recall that Mr. Bowes did a land office busi- 
ness in selling property in this district in the days before the 
improvement was suggested at 65 cents per square foot or $65 per 
front foot. 

Parcel E is an area which sold in 1915 for $105,000. Since 
half of this property was taken for the widening, the total invest- 
ment would be represented by $105,000 less the amount of award 
the owner received for land and building damage. This figure is 
not conveniently available, but the point of the illustration is that 
the remaining half of that property is now held in the neighbor- 
hood of $500,000. 

Parcel F This parcel was purchased in 1913. It is in two sec- 



88 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

tions, one of 30,000 square feet and the other of 15,000 square feet. 
The purchase price was $260,000 or less than $6 per square foot. 
Subsequently the 15,000 square foot section was sold for $170,000, 
making the net cost of the 30,000 square foot area $3 per square 
foot, plus some carrying charges. This is worth today in the 
neighborhood of $1,800,000, or $60 per square foot, twenty times 
as much as it was worth fourteen years ago at the time the Chicago 
city council passed the ordinance covering the widening of Michi- 
gan Avenue. 

Parcel G Mr. Bowes and his brother bought this piece for less 
than $2 per square foot and built some low buildings on it, making 
the total cost to them about $45,000. In 1912 they sold this 
property for $95,000 cash. The purchaser received about $45,000 
in awards for damages when the street was widened, so that his 
total investment was reduced to approximately $50,000. This 
property is now held at $600,000. 

Parcel H Comprising 9,000 square feet, was sold in 1910 for 
$40,000, or about $4.50 per square foot. Half of it was taken for 
the street widening, and awards for damages reduced the cost of 
the remaining portion of the lot to $15,000, or $3.33 per square 
foot. The owner recently refused $450,000, or $100 per square 
foot for the 4,500 square feet he still owns and has erected an 
eleven story office building upon it. 

Parcel I a lot 100 by 125 feet in area, which sold for $58,000 
about 1911, was reduced to 100 by 50 feet by the widening, and 
the investment was reduced to approximately $15,000 by the 
amount of award received for damages. The owner would not 
consider anything less than $500,000 for this 100 by 50 foot lot 
today, or $100 per square foot, although his net investment in it 
represents only $3 per square foot. 

Parcel J sold for $5 per square foot in 1912. When the city 
paid $5 per square foot for a portion of this land in the condemna- 
tion suit, a large majority of Chicagoans felt that the city had been 
cheated and had paid far more than the land was really worth. 
When it was resold a short time after the improvement had been 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 89 

completed, the price paid was $30 per square foot. To say that it 
is worth $80 per square foot today, is at the least a conservative 
statement. 

We admit that the increases just cited are exceptionally high, 
but if they are it is because the conditions surrounding the im- 
provement, and the character of Michigan Avenue itself, are 
exceptional. Before the improvement, the business center of the 
city was shut off from normal and direct access to a highly de- 
veloped and first-class residential section. After the improvement 
there was every encouragement to a remarkable development along 
the line of the improvement, and a building era began which is 
still going on. 

The second connection of a similar character which Chicago has 
planned is a street parallel to Michigan Avenue and six blocks 
west thereof. This second traffic artery is La Salle Street, which 
has failed to develop in a normal manner because there has been 
no bridge across the Chicago River at that point for twenty years 
or more. As a result, property values on La Salle Street south of 
the river were several thousand dollars per front foot but north of 
the river they had averaged $200 per front foot for several decades. 

The mere announcement that La Salle Street was to be widened 
as a Chicago Plan improvement sent the frontage values up almost 
overnight from $200 to $1,000 per front foot. That is the price 
today, but within five years after the completion of this improve- 
ment I have no doubt that the value will be double what it is today. 

It must be borne in mind, in endeavoring to forecast what effect 
city plan improvements will have upon surrounding property 
values, that the improvement itself is not the sole factor which 
enters into land values. The character of the territory; how it is 
zoned; what uses are possible; street access; transportation; rail 
and water facilities; class, color and nationality of inhabitants; 
how large the lots are, particularly those which are changed in 
area by the improvement; and a score of other factors all enter 
into the situation. 

As a generalization, however, and one that is presumably as 
7 



90 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

correct as any generalization ever is, it can be said that surrounding 
property will be worth more after an improvement than it was 
worth before the improvement was made. Substantiating this 
belief are many examples that could be cited from our Chicago 
Plan experience with respect to the effect of street improvements 
other than those already mentioned; and the effect of the new 
lake front development and of the system of forest preserves. 

And, speaking of the forest preserves, they would be sufficient 
of themselves to show how the right kind of city plan improvement 
enhances property values. The average cost per acre of our 30,000 
acres of Cook County forest preserves is $520. When the county 
began acquiring this outlying land it only had to pay in the neigh- 
borhood of $200 per acre for the finest wooded areas around 
Chicago. In 1926 the 800 acres which the preserve board acquired 
cost $1,100 per acre, or double the average cost per acre of the 
entire system. 

No doubt the general advance in property values is responsible 
for some of this increase, but by far the greatest proportion has 
been due solely to the fact that this sort of city planning activity 
is going forward. Sub-dividers who have used the nearness of the 
forest preserves as their main selling argument, have paid $4,000 
per acre for land near a forest preserve, essentially the same sort of 
property that had been acquired by the forest preserve board for 
several hundred dollars per acre, so that it is clear that this forest 
preserve land could be sold for equally high prices today, were it 
not for the fact that it is of even greater value to keep that land 
available for the health and happiness of all our people throughout 
all the years to come. 



HOW CITY PLANNING HAS AFFECTED LAND 
VALUES IN THE NEW YORK REGION 

LAWSON PURDY, New York, N. Y. 

The City of New York lies at the confluence of the Hudson River 
and the East River, and two-thirds of it is on Long Island. It 
stretches about fifteen miles from the Borough of Manhattan east- 
ward on Long Island, and next to the City of New York comes the 
County of Nassau, running from the Sound to the sea. The island 
is about fifteen to twenty miles wide; at some points less. Along 
the north shore there are hills. From many of those hills you may 
have a view of the Sound, a very charming prospect. And the 
City of New York ends where that beautiful country begins. 

Mr. Frank Munsey died recently and left the residue of his 
property to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the City of 
New York. Among his assets were 640 acres of that beautiful land 
lying in the hills on the north shore of Long Island, just a little way 
from the boundary line of the City of New York. 

Long Island is insufficiently supplied with east and west thor- 
oughfares both for trucks and for pleasure vehicles. Most of those 
east and west thoroughfares are too narrow to supply the space for 
all the traffic. Fortunately, some of them are narrow, because they 
discourage the trucks. There is immense need for proper planning 
there to conserve values and land values are the measure of 
desirability of that country for the people. Land values measure 
business opportunity; they measure home amenity. 

The executors of Mr. Munsey planned to sell this tract of 640 
acres and put in charge of the sale one of our most noted auc- 
tioneers. While he is a very clever man, ready to appreciate every- 
thing that can advance the interest of those he serves, I think he 
knows too little of city planning to appreciate what it could do for 
this tract. At all events, a suggestion was made to the executors 

91 



92 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

by the President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that they 
should procure the best possible plan. On one side of the tract 
runs a through highway, which serves the needs of the people lying 
to the east and must in time carry a heavy traffic. It must be 
arranged so as to injure as little as possible the land through which 
or by which it passes, and at the same time, it must serve the needs 
of all. 

The plan as worked out by Olmsted Brothers provides a 160 ft. 
highway along the southern edge of the tract, appropriately planted 
with trees and shrubs. The highway will be divided into various 
roadways or lanes to be used exclusively for specific kinds of traffic. 
Where the highway first meets the property coming from New 
York, a place will be reserved for stores enough to serve the needs 
of a community living on a square mile. From that business 
nucleus running along the western edge of the property is an eighty 
foot highway. At the other or eastern end of the property is 
another eighty foot highway. But all through this property at 
appropriate intervals run streets only fifty feet wide following the 
contour of the land. They are most inviting for one who would go 
and stay, but entirely uninviting for one who would travel through. 
They go nowhere. 

There is a hollow in part of the property, a beautiful valley 
wretched for building purposes, perfect for a park that is reserved 
as a park. At the head of it, on higher land, is reserved a place for 
a school. We all know that school children are getting run over 
by automobiles every day because they have to cross main thor- 
oughfares. From every part of this tract the school can be reached 
by these fifty foot roads on which the residences will be placed, and 
by footways connecting the various residence streets. From almost 
any part of the tract children can come to the school and only have 
to cross fifty foot roadways and walk along paths bordered with 
hedges. They will be brought up in safety and surrounded by 
beauty. Children brought up in such a community could never go 
anywhere without trying to reproduce that place in which they 
were born and bred. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 93 

What is the purpose of all this? To provide a place for homes 
with all the comfort and amenities and blessings of life and, in- 
cidentally, so that the Metropolitan Museum of Art will get more 
money. This is an example of city planning which enhances the 
value of land for all human uses. I feel confident that because of 
that plan, because of the protection that will be given to it by proper 
protective covenants in the deeds, it will bring twice the value that 
it would have brought if it had been laid out in twenty-foot lots in a 
gridiron pattern right through the hills. 

Man can do anything with land. He can take away a hill if he 
wants to, and he can put the hill into the hollow, and sometimes it 
pays to do it. I have often been amused at situations which per- 
haps no city planning could have avoided. In the Borough of 
Brooklyn, where the soil is sandy, with little hills and hollows, I 
have found hollows worth more than level land, and a hill worth 
less than a hollow. Because the man who owned the hole charged 
the man who owned the hill for the privilege of putting the hill into 
the hole. But when we go into the suburbs, hills and hollows are 
both assets, because they add to the beauty of the scene, and 
people pay for beauty. 

You have all seen the converse of that picture. You have seen 
blighted districts, usually blighted because of some failure of 
arrangement of public land or some failure to protect the use of 
private building land. Our city planning is first designed to plan 
public land so that it shall serve public needs to the very best 
advantage. Next, city planning is intended to protect the use of 
privately used building land so that all the possible value shall be 
conserved. 

One of the difficulties that we have had in dealing with our ordi- 
nary real estate friend has been that he was intent upon some par- 
ticular parcel, too small in size, that he wanted to sell or he wanted 
to use. When the real estate man developed on a large scale, as did 
J. C. Nichols at Kansas City, and when he happened to be a man 
of vision and brains like J. C. Nichols, he saw that it was to his own 
advantage and the advantage of those he served to look at the 



94 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

needs of all the people, and the uses of all the land over a consider- 
able area. That brought to him a completely different point of view. 

For temporary purposes it may be to the advantage of a particu- 
lar piece of property that it shall disregard the good of all neigh- 
boring owners. Not so when you are dealing with a square mile, 
and by so much the less when you are dealing with a whole city. 
When we were making a zoning ordinance for the City of New 
York, we tried to act on the principle that no building should be 
allowed in any zone that would not serve as an appropriate type or 
model for all the buildings to be erected in that zone. That meant 
that no use should be put to any building that was not for the good 
of all the zone, and on each plot there should be light and air enough 
for the building provided by itself. It meant further that no 
building should demand a use of highways in excess of its reasonable 
share. Of course, we didn't achieve any such perfect result as that. 
We dealt with a condition that was very, very bad indeed as to a 
small part of the area affected by our ordinance. 

Very often city planners in their zoning operations are so much 
concerned with a half-mile square center that they lose the sense of 
proportion as to all the miles that are not at the center. If the 
center has been spoiled already it is better not to worry too much 
about it, but attend to the rest. I don't say, do any less than you 
can, but don't forego having an ordinance at all because some of 
the people at the center will not submit to being benefited as much 
as you think they should be. 

If you were an audience of real estate men that really needed 
what I can tell you I should be disposed to go on and cite horrible 
examples of how land values can be destroyed by bad city planning 
and how land values can be increased by good city planning. There 
are very few here that need any such lesson as that. You know it 
already. 

Perhaps, however, you sometimes regret the fact that land rises 
in value. I often do. But it is a regret founded not upon the rise in 
value, but upon who gets it. If you do something very nice in one 
place and you want to continue the doing of something very nice 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 95 

right on, you find an obstacle. You have enhanced the value of 
land here, and you can't acquire land over there at the old price, 
because over there they see the value coming to them and value 
rises like a wave ahead of you. 

Consequently, we should look more and more to assessments for 
local improvement as the method of paying the bill. You can get 
many wonderful things by making the people who get the benefit, 
the financial benefit, pay for it which otherwise you couldn't have 
at all. Land values measure blessings. It is another question as to 
how you shall get for the community the advantages given by pub- 
lic authority. Land values in themselves are a measure of what 
city planners can do for a community. Not a very specially high 
value on one street, but a value spread over the whole community, 
the evidence of benefit conferred upon store owners, and factory 
owners, and best and last, on home owners. 

DISCUSSION 

FRED E. REED, Vice-President, National Association of Real 
Estate Boards: For years the real estate men of the country 
have given their best thought to getting a profit out of handling 
property. But the progress that has been made in recent years in 
the general conduct of all business has been so great that even real 
estate men have caught hold of a little of it, and there has come the 
desire to improve in the performance of our business. When a 
manufacturer makes an automobile, he looks first to the production 
end of the business, but no successful manufacturer gets very far 
unless he looks also to selling and service. 

To my mind city planning is the production end of the real 
estate business, and it is our selfish interest as representatives of 
property to see that the goods are produced with the greatest pos- 
sible initial advantage. That means successful technique in city 
planning. Like the automobile manufacturer, we are concerned 
with selling and with service or management. We must get the 
most income possible. We must keep expenses down as much as 
possible. It has been my good fortune to have the Chairmanship 
of the City Planning group of the Real Estate Association, and in 
order to carry out the work effectively, we have started, not from 
the nation down, but from the city up. In Oakland, California, 



96 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

where I live, we have started on the principle that the people who 
own property, who pay taxes, are most vitally interested in plan- 
ning, and we therefore organized a Property Owners' Council. 
This is not exactly city or regional planning, but it is on the way. 

I received a wire here this morning, announcing the first victory 
of the Tired Taxpayers' League of Oakland; a victory by a majority 
of 20,000 out of a total vote of 32,000 for a platform of fourteen 
words:-"THE TAXES MUST BE CUT: THE CITY MUST 
BE PLANNED; THE BOSSES MUST GO." Just a month be- 
fore this victory the politicians of Oakland who had been running 
the government for ten years had abolished the ordinance that 
made the City Planning Commission possible, and had thrown the 
city plan into the discard. One of our leading newspapers was 
lined up with them. Any organization that can, in such a short 
time, throw a group of powerful politicians out, will be heard from 
throughout the nation. It was a movement that started as a joke, 
and has been somewhat of a joke all the way through. At first we 
published a Tired Taxpayers' Protest, and proved by the com- 
ments in the two newspapers that favored the opposition can- 
didates, that they weren't fit to be on earth, let alone to hold office. 
Then we tried to be a little more dignified, and put out a very simple 
tabloid size newspaper with no cuts or illustrations. I have learned 
from this experience that success does not depend on any par- 
ticular method, but does everlastingly depend on organization. The 
real estate men of this nation represent organized real estate 
thought, and they are more interested in the success of city plan- 
ning than any other group that exists, because they are interested 
in the pocketbook, where it pleases, and in the expense account, 
where it hurts. 

The men who are the specialists in planning should not have to 
sell their services. The more successful they are, the less should 
they be of the type which can successfully sell. There should be a 
popular demand for such services. There will be when the mass of 
people know what city planning means in relation to city budgets 
and to taxation. This job of education most essentially needs 
organization. The National Association of Real Estate Boards 
means to tackle the job of forming a city plan group among the real 
estate men of every state and every city, in order to educate the 
owners of property and to team with the city planning officials and 
the city planning conferences. This organization will be at your 
service. 



THE ECONOMIC SPIRAL 

THE PROBLEM OF CONCENTRATED BUILDING CUBAGE IN 
OUR CITIES 

J. ROWLAND BIBBINS, Consulting Engineer, Washington, D. C. 

THE TRUE ECONOMIC HEIGHT OF A STRUCTURE is that height 
which will secure the maximum ultimate return on total investment 
(including land) within the reasonable useful life of the structure, 
under appropriate conditions of architectural design, efficiency of 
layout, light and air, "neighborly conduct," street approaches and 
utility services. The Balance Sheet and Income Account should 
cover all elements of revenue and expense including depreciation, 
obsolescence and/or amortization of structure (27 to 33 years), 
and also where involved, the cost-control of adjacent low buildings 
for insuring light and air. Appreciation of land, when owned, less 
cost of carrying the land, is properly part of the "net return" of 
the enterprise. Futurities must be estimated to find the proper 
earning-power value of the property, as of any year. 

THE FUTURE. Assuming that large city populations will double 
by 1950, office building cubage will increase within approximate 
limits of three to four times the present cubage. This growth ratio 
is geometric rather than arithmetic or expressed mathematically, 
increasing from the 1.5 to 2.0 power of the tributary population. 
The large economic question is where shall we locate four times 
the present building cubage? Shall we expand horizontally or 
vertically, constructing subterranean "hecatombs" served by 
"pulsing pretzels," as Mr. Curran calls subways, or, on the other 
hand, shall we recognize an economic cubage "ceiling" regardless 
of the fact that some few monuments or "flag poles" have thrust 
their head above this ceiling in apparent defiance of economic laws? 

97 



98 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

At the outset, rational consideration should be based upon the 
principle of the greatest good to the greatest number, i. e., the 
welfare of the city as a whole, which is identical with the interests 
of business supported by this population. No other viewpoint 
seems permissible in the development work of transportation, 
highways, utilities and building. 

Mass cubage and its distribution relative to population seem 
to me the important problem regardless of the temporary excite- 
ment over "flag poles." Looking down from an airplane, these 
" flag poles" are very small affairs indeed provided there are not too 
many of them in comparison with the mass cubage resting upon 
the land. 

The airplane also gives us a true perspective of the sky line 
or roof profile through and across the business district. It stands 
out as if traced by the hand of some master draftsman, and that is 
true the economic draftsman. But we almost upset or go into 
a tail-spin to think of the situation of doubled population and 
quadrupled cubage only 25 years hence. 

As we land at nightfall we get a new sensation why some 
land is so valuable and other land not. Then we realize that we 
are doing business on the mountain-tops instead of in the valleys, 
so much easier of access and where the people live. Most cities 
have about the same characteristics. While New York has a sharp 
peak profile of land values; Detroit is still sharper, Chicago a 
little flatter than New York and Cleveland still flatter, nearer to 
the ideal. These peak values run from two to ten times those at 
one-half mile radius and ten to one hundred times those at one 
mile radius. Will the mountains ever stop growing? 

Now comes an interesting discovery. 'It is impossible to sepa- 
rate cause and effect. With the continued growth in popula- 
tion, commerce, industry, wealth and social advancement, basic 
land values, the main source of revenue for all public enterprise or 
private for that matter, are constantly increasing by a definite 
law again geometric rather than arithmetic. Each city has its 
own index of growth, its own personality. Thus we have identi- 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 99 

fied the source of growth, in building cubage and height land 
value. Ergo, we have the starting point of our Economic Spiral. 

The study of this economic history shows that the so-called 
"vicious circle" is not a circle at all but first resolves itself into a 
spiral. Buildings, to pay, must be erected to justify the taxation 
and rentals. The assessor then boosts the valuation. The next 
buildings erected must go higher. Another boost in valuation and 
so on ad libitum. Will it ever stop? 

More detailed studies of the value history and development 
of a large number of typical blocks and frontages in large cities 
reveal this definite upward trend as the city grows. But as the 
airplane reaches its "ceiling" there seems to be a limit or "value 
ceiling" which has already arrived in New York and possibly 
Philadelphia. The heavy hand of economic law has reached out 
and said, "stop." This ceiling seems to approximate $25,000 per 
unit front foot assessed value (excluding the enhancement of cor- 
ner influence), perhaps $30,000 "free sale" or market value. 
Philadelphia has also reached this level. If this ceiling is true, it is 
one of the most hopeful discoveries in this absorbing study of 
building height and concentrated cubage. The "spiral" then 
recoils like a steel spring against a beam but the internal stresses 
tend to increase. This analogy seems to represent in a broad sense 
a cross-section of the development of the times. 

There are other evidences of this "ceiling effect" and when 
downtown rentals reach maxima of $4.00 $6.00 $8.00 per 
square foot, a vast amount of business is squeezed out into outlying 
territory for lower rentals in competitive developments. Thus 
decentralization becomes automatic and rentals, unlike measured 
utility rates, are found to be entirely empirical and independent 
of capital investment or operating expense. The building industry 
simply must adjust itself to the rentals demanded by business, 
regardless. New York shifted uptown to Times Square and Fifth 
Avenue apparently due to this ceiling, and already is moving still 
further to 57th Street for Fifth Avenue too is approaching the 
ceiling. In Montreal, retail business picked up its tents and 



100 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

bodily moved up the hill to St. Catherine's Street but without the 
slightest reconstruction of the new district for the additional 
traffic. Result the same congestion as of old. 

On the other hand some qualified observers of city realty have 
concluded that a permanent fixation of "Districts" (financial, 
retail, etc.) is the rule, citing Chicago as an example. Yet even 
here with the development of Michigan Avenue, business has 
already swept northward with tremendous increases in land value. 
Caught in the jam as it were and faced by these shifts in business 
location, the real estate man considers himself an aggrieved party, 
especially when rentals actually have to be lowered while taxation 
still clings to the old levels the time-lag of the Assessor's conscious- 
ness. But it is only a broad phase of economic adjustment based 
upon normal decentralization. 

The building industry naturally demands a reasonable return 
upon its investment, presumably made to meet the demand for 
building cubage. If it is economically sound, the industry should 
be able to make a clear 6% net return on both land and building 
for interest and dividends determined by the same accounting 
standards as any other "public utility." By net return I mean 
balance of total revenue after all operating expenses, taxes, insur- 
ance, maintenance, depreciation, obsolescence and/or amortization 
of the entire building investment within the period of useful life, 
variously estimated by far-sighted business men as 27 to 33 years. 
Apparently building accounting terminology differs from that of 
utility accounting. Thus 6% net return does not mean 6% 
"profit" after fixed charges and interest. To perpetuate a stable 
industry must not "economic height" rest upon some such figure of 
sufficient, fair return? 

Two accounting elements seem generally lost sight of, viz.: 
land appreciation and the cost of controlling adjacent low build- 
ings. Reginald P. Bolton,* who appears to have made the one 
outstanding contribution to economic height of buildings of public 
record, stresses the impropriety of balancing land appreciation 
* Building for Profit, 1911-1922; DeVinne Press. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 101 

against building depreciation. Net appreciation of land when 
owned, after deducting the equivalent cost of carrying the land, 
thus becomes part of the economic balance sheet properly classed 
as "net return " on the enterprise as a whole. To leave out the cost 
of carry ing land or to include gross appreciation is equally erroneous. 

The matter of "damage" inflicted upon neighboring property 
by a skyscraper is not as evident as recently stated by Mr. A. S. 
Bard,* for this situation is distinctly the result of enterprise which 
has made America what it is. Following the U. S. Supreme Court 
in a famous irrigation case between two states, whoever first puts 
the water to useful purpose has the prior right (i. e., a premium on 
enterprise). The fact that many tall buildings have already ac- 
quired control or constructed low buildings adjacent, to prevent 
competition, gives evidence of the intangible value of unrestricted 
light and air and therefore establishes this element as one of both 
investment and expense. Mr. Bard, as others, proposes a volume 
surtax on all high buildings erected above the "norm" (whatever 
that is) stating that the present laws "protect the fruits of un- 
neighborly social conduct so that bad planning and bad manage- 
ment have been permitted to escape their economic penalties." 
But can we change traditional economic conditions over night by 
legal fiat without introducing new injustices and without taking 
into account the results of taxation policies and perhaps even the 
old English doctrine of "ancient lights"? 

Taxation policy thus lies at the very root of our problem. 
Just what form it should take and the best distribution of levy as 
between central high value territory, the developing fringe just 
outside and the outlying low value territory to furnish an economic 
corrective for present tendencies, requires very serious study. 
It is easy to scold and perhaps punish the advocates of centraliza- 
tion. But while I favor decentralization as the most far-sighted 
and constructive policy in sight today, I cannot escape the fact 
that we are clamoring for a new building policy without having the 
courage to search deeper into economic causes and more equitable 
* National Municipal Review, April, 1927, "Tall Taxes." 



102 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

remedies. I fancy that is why Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit 
have not achieved practical zoning and why Chicago compromised 
on 264 feet height limit (four times a 66-foot street) only after 
bitter and prolonged controversy.* 

It appears a natural deduction from economic principles that 
in the end the question of sky-line and cubage will work itself 
out by economic necessity rather than arbitrary fiat. It is an in- 
structive fact that on the main downtown streets of Detroit the 
present "sky-line factor " (ratios between average cubage height 
and maximum height built) is practically uniform, over long 
stretches of frontage from five to twenty stories high. So the 
"hop, skip and jump" sky-line seems to have become definitely 
established and cubage height becomes the important point of 
control. The rapidly decreasing low efficiency (ratio of net to gross 
floorage) which a high building suffers must automatically result 
in flag pole architecture like the egocentric, relatively harmless. 
But intensified cubage means day population, concentrated traffic 
and transit sidewalk confusion, hazard of fire, public health, etc. 
and cubage rests upon land values and taxation. The question of 
greed for profits or exploitation of neighbors thus enters into the 
problem as incidentally as any other human endeavor, dramatic 
rather than fundamental. 

What is the true economic height of a building? Months of 
search has revealed little of authoritative nature except Bolton's 
elementary studies. Some individual studies are available but too 
general and full of impractical assumptions. The problem is com- 
plicated and must take into account varying units of cubage cost, 
building efficiency, cubage loading per square foot of land, type 
of structure, architectural treatment, construction methods, etc., 
which constantly change with increasing height. When all engi- 
neering, economic and accounting factors are considered, I strongly 
suspect that in the usual high value districts of our large cities the 
true economic height will be nearer ten stories than twenty. Later 
we may be able to prove this. 

* Chicago Building Height Hearings. Chicago Real Estate Board, 1925. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 103 

This economic height should be the starting point of a recon- 
sideration of height zoning. It is rather amazing that between 
25-30,000,000 people live under zoning ordinances by fiat limita- 
tions without this all important question having been determined. 
New light is needed and a better understanding of economic height 
will probably suffice to substitute understanding and co-operation 
for the present bitter contest. 

Finally, there are some important factors entirely outside of 
the control of the building industry. The question of sidewalk and 
street traffic attributable to a building should be measured by 
rush hour, not all day movement. Someone has stated that for 
the same originated street traffic an office building could be built 
fifteen stories high, loft buildings nine stories and department 
stores only three stories. But this does not tell the whole story. 
The real problem of mass traffic and transportation in our cities 
is in the peak loads, morning, noon and evening. Modern transit 
systems handle in the maximum rush hour perhaps 20% of the 
total traffic and at least the entire population once a day. The 
fifteen minute peaks run far higher. Department store traffic on the 
other hand fills up the non-rush period. 

It will also be vastly informing to know accurately what propor- 
tion of inter-office or customer business in a tall building is handled 
during non-rush hours without using the streets. Everybody of 
course travels during rush hours except shoppers. 

And at the end of our survey there arises the spectre of mount- 
ing cost of city and utility services due to this cubage concentra- 
tionelectricity, heat, car lines, buses, rapid transit, gas, sewerage, 
cartage, garaging, etc., also highway, street and sidewalk capacity, 
police and fire protection, etc., not to speak of the need of private 
automobile transportation. While the builder is not concerned, 
the city and utility companies must provide them. The final 
result appears in the city budget and congestion. New York's 
budget is increasing as the cube of the population, building cubage 
and traffic (rail and rubber), perhaps as the square, downtown land 
values only proportional to the population and then until they 



104 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

reach a ceiling. Thus economic height looms even larger than the 
individual building. But at least it is a good start. With doubled 
population and trebled or quadrupled traffic and cubage we have 
the real problem of city building. In the end, economic law will 
prevail regardless of all our theories and pet hobbies. 

This brief review has only touched the high spots. I hope the 
discussion will bring out more definite facts. 

As a basis of discussion I propose the following questions: 

1. The broader aspects. How shall the city budget be balanced 
against the needs of business and the Master Plan ? The proper 
balance of interests and objectives? 

2. Is there a basic relation between land value and population? 
What is the trend? Is a "value-ceiling" developing? Can tax 
assessment be adjusted to economic limitations? Is a height and/or 
density surtax equitable and practical? Should the "potential 
income basis" of tax assessment be based upon economic height? 

3. What is the general range in actual rate of return on the 
investment in modern office buildings (land and building), i. e., 
percent balance of revenue after all operating costs (both current 
and accrued as above noted) balance available for interest and 
dividends and contingent surplus reserves? What return should 
the general character of the business justify? Where does the shoe 
pinch? 

4. Should the cost of height-control of adjacent low buildings 
enter into the formula for economic height, in the form of insur- 
ance of light and air? 

5. What return on land investment is considered normal (owned 
or leased) ? What escape is there for realty between the two limits 
of (a) disproportionate taxation, (b) arbitrary height limitation? 
If taxation is readjusted, will realty accept correspondingly reduced 
cubage limits? How can the individual be controlled in the interest 
of all? 

6. Are there indications of future reduction in building construc- 
tion costs, i. e., construction index, labor and materials? Will this 
tend to encourage or discourage increased height and cubage? 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 105 

7. Does rapid transit actually congest or "degest" ? Can we ever 
catch up with capacity demand even with the aid of local-benefit 
assessment, except through decentralization? Is New York more 
congested than London? 

8. Relative cost and difficulty of providing proper utility ser- 
vices under centralization vs. decentralization, e. g., electricity, 
heat, transit, water, gas, sewerage, cartage, garaging, etc.? Also 
highway, street and sidewalk capacity? 

9. Conclusions of United States Chamber of Commerce on height 
and cubage limitations of tall buildings? 

10. Have any factors been left out of our economic balance 
sheet ? Effect of future dollar index ? Cost of future money ? Rel- 
ative return on investment? 

11. CITY EXPERIENCES. Why New York trekked uptown? 
New York height and street capacity studies? Why Chicago went 
skyward? Does 150 feet pay in Los Angeles? Why Philadelphia, 
Cleveland, Detroit, etc., are not zoned? 

12. SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS. What is known as to relative 
volume of pedestrian traffic originated by various types of build- 
ings, (a) rush hours, (b) non-rush hours? Which period is con- 
trolling ? The average does not tell the story. 

13. What proportion of inter-office or customer business in a 
tall building is handled during non-rush hours without using the 
streets? 

14. Is the reservation of one to three floors of an office building 
for a garage, economically justifiable except to meet the present 
high building situation and the absence of adequate outside 
garaging? 

15. Can building architecture be reasonably adapted to eco- 
nomic height limitations to encourage and preserve a normal 
return ? New York combination store-office building, Fifth Avenue 
development? 

16. Is economic-height zoning applicable as a reasonable interim 
solution? Can cubage justly be limited by legal fiat without 
measurable adjustment of other underlying factors, e. g., taxation? 

8 



106 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

DISCUSSION 
THE BROADER ASPECT FREDERIC A. DELANO, Washington, D.C.: 

There seem to be three questions closely inter-related; cubage 
of buildings, traffic or transit capacity of the streets, and taxation. 
Transit and taxation operate in a "vicious circle" with the building 
question. We build high structures and then in order to increase 
the traffic capacity of the street we build a subway. Instead of 
relieving congestion, we find that the traffic increases by leaps and 
bounds, and congestion is worse than before. 

Rapid transit must have delivery points at rare intervals. The 
stations thus create nerve centers, demanding high buildings, high 
rentals and high tax values around these nerve centers, with much 
lower values and cubage in between. This is evident in New York 
City. Washington is at present also struggling with the problem 
of 16th Street, where taxation, traffic, and use of land have not 
been co-ordinated. 

TAXATION AND "VALUE-CEILING" LA WSON PURDY, New York 
City: 

Many people do not yet realize that land value is due to the 
productivity of the population. This depends not only on the 
number of people, but their intelligence and industry, the climate, 
the location and efficiency of the site on which they work. If the 
city is so planned that people are working at their maximum effi- 
ciency, there will follow a maximum of land values. 

The economic height is controlled by the cost of the building, 
and the relation between cubage and rentable area, which rentable 
area decreases rapidly above a certain height. It costs more per 
cubic foot to build a structure thirty stories high than to build one 
ten stories high, and there is a greater charge for elevators since 
the average haul increases with the height of the building. I 
have come to the conclusion that economic cubage height for com- 
mercial buildings does not exceed sixty cubic feet per square foot 
of lot. On this cubage basis I am not concerned whether a builder 
goes up twenty stories or stays at six. 

Proper land assessment is not arbitrary. It follows very defi- 
nitely the value of the land which is the net rental capitalized 
at a figure appropriate at the time for market conditions of the 
particular location. Net rental is the yield of the land after allow- 
ing an appropriate rate of return on the capital invested in the 
building, and all operating costs and taxes. In the Wall Street 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 107 

District the capitalization rate used to be about three percent, 
reflecting belief in stability of investment. This produced tre- 
mendous values. In other parts of New York City and in most 
cities the rate rises to five to six percent and in some cities higher. 
It is the business of the assessor to follow those values which he has 
nothing to do with fixing. 

New York experienced a period of serious over-building, result- 
ing in high vacancies and large equity losses. Buildings twenty 
stones or higher paid very well until blanketed by another building 
of equal height. Then mortgages were foreclosed and equities 
wiped out. Many of these buildings paid so long as they had 
exclusive light and air above their neighbors. Thus the south 
wing of the Trinity Building practically carries the north wing, 
which does not justify itself as an economic addition. 

This economic loss in equity or rate does nobody any good. The 
farmer or a manufacturer can readjust his production annually, 
but an economic monstrosity lasts twenty-five to fifty years, and 
there is no relief for it. No buildings should be allowed anywhere 
that are not suitable as a type for the complete development of 
the zone in which they are to be placed. 

I find that a street can carry no more people than the inhabitants 
of the abutting office buildings where the buildings are no higher 
than the street width, and the lots are no deeper than two hun- 
dred feet from street to street, allowing about one hundred square 
feet per office worker or building inhabitant. Thus a building ten 
stories high has ten persons per foot of building frontage, and it 
takes five square feet per person for comfortable walking in the 
same direction and in pretty close rank. With greater density 
than this the streets won't hold the people at a rush hour, and it 
would be impossible to empty the building on the street at once. 

THE PREVAILING RATE OF RETURN ON BUILDINGS Louis O. 

HONIG, St. Louis, Mo.: 

The Committee on Building Heights of the National Association 
of Building Owners and Managers, which comprises some sixteen 
hundred office buildings, has been studying height limitation. This 
Association is not opposed to city zoning or planning, but believes 
that height limitation should be separated from zoning to facilitate 
the adoption of zoning laws and their better administration. No 
answer to the question "What is the economic height of buildings?" 
has yet been found. 



108 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Since the right to acquire and hold property is most fundamental 
and is the bulwark of our taxation system, any limitation on the 
right to build is of concern when it creates an economical restraint 
upon the development of business areas. As population creates 
land values, these would continue to rise indefinitely, but these 
values must yield an adequate return. The building industry 
figures the rate of return in terms of "net profit" after operation, 
fixed charges including interest, are deducted, but with no deduc- 
tion for dividends. Today the average net profit of office buildings 
throughout the United States is from three to three and one-half 
percent. We ourselves are responsible for this low rate of return. 
Competition, over-building, lack of economic design and improper 
financing plans are some of the reasons. Office buildings ought to 
earn at least six percent net profit. This is somewhat less than 
twelve percent total rate because the interest rate will not be the 
same through the life of the property. If building heights are 
limited too greatly, rents are going to be increased. 

NORMAL RATE OF RETURN ON LAND AND DISPROPORTIONATE 
TAXATION FRED E. REED, Oakland, California: 

The rate is determined entirely by prevailing interest rates in 
various sections of the country, and the relative stability of the 
property. It varies in large and small cities. Normally six percent 
net is considered the proper rate of interest. But, in my judgment, 
there should be taken into consideration the increase in value 
(appreciation) as a part of the rate on the investment because real 
estate investment is frozen, and not liquid like stocks and bonds. 
At present six percent seems a fair general average, disregarding 
appreciation. 

As to the question of height taxation, excessively tall buildings 
should be punished and not licensed, i. e., should be prohibited. 
The man who steals his neighbor's light and air ought not to be 
punished if the law permits him to steal. The thing to do is cor- 
rect the law. 

No building height is economical that does not balance the 
building height with the street width. The value comes from 
accessibility which requires proportioned street capacity. Eco- 
nomic height of buildings should be studied from the viewpoint 
of the people as a whole and not of the individual. In New York 
the over-building and crowding together of tall buildings produced 
a loss of $186,000,000 in the district ten or twelve blocks around 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 109 

Twenty-third Street and in only two years. This does not sound 
economic. One block, Twenty-second to Twenty-third and Fourth 
to Fifth Avenues, dropped in value from $4,550,000 to $2,000,000 
in one and one-half years, a loss of forty-six percent. We must 
have more permanency in realty values. Subways, elevated and 
sub-subways did not cure the trouble. They simply widened the 
"vicious circle." 

Three things thus enter into value income, taxation and perma- 
nency. Tall buildings should be condemned as uneconomic. They 
are unprofitable. Over twenty stories high they are monuments, 
advertisements or failures, increase taxation beyond endurance, 
create congestion and shifting of value which can be overcome for 
the benefit of the few only through taxation of the many. The 
height of buildings should be limited to the width of the streets, 
and after reaching that height should be set back forty-five degrees 
and this limitation should be imposed now. By spreading business 
around and avoiding waste, the total values of the city would be 
increased while the rate of taxation would be lowered. Decen- 
tralization is the remedy and then rapid transit will not be needed. 

DOES A HEIGHT OF ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FEET PAY IN Los 

ANGELES? GORDON WHITNALL, Los Angeles, California: 
It does not any more than a sixty mile automobile with a thirty- 
five mile speed limit. Even with one hundred and fifty feet, Los 
Angeles cubage has not reached anywhere near the limit. Decen- 
tralization is progressing and one bank alone has fifty-two branches. 
Los Angeles has not, yet, submitted to the major civic operations 
of blood transfusions or subways. 

NEW YORK BUILDING STUDIES E. P. GOODRICH, New York City: 
The New York Regional Plan Staff has been studying three 
special problems. The first is the relation of building height to 
street capacity. Our studies of Manhattan show approximately 
that the same total of people in the streets would be caused by an 
office building of sixteen stories, as by a loft building of nine stories 
and a department store of three stories. The streets are assumed 
to be sixty feet with avenues of greater width, eighty to one 
hundred feet, seven hundred feet apart. This assumes half of the 
traffic through and half local, the local traffic being measured by 
the number of vehicles and persons who visit these buildings during 
the maximum hour. Excluding through street traffic, this rela- 
tionship would be thirty-two, eighteen and six stories respectively. 
As to daylight, an angle of twenty-three and one-half degrees 



110 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

should be employed to insure natural light during the winter, and 
this average from top to bottom results in a forty-five degree light 
angle, or the proposed 1 :1 ratio, building height to street width. 

As to economic height, our studies, taking into account building 
costs, ratio of building to land costs, operating ratio, carrying 
charges and gross return, show that it is very much lower than is 
usually thought by builders. It worked out in an actual case of an 
eighteen story building that the economic height was eight stories. 
In such an analysis, the costs of easements for light and air over 
abutting properties, necessary to make a high building profitable, 
should be taken into account. 

In a normal office building our studies show that there is com- 
paratively little interflow of traffic. I should put it at about twenty 
percent. This is of course not true in a building completely occupied 
by one organization such as the Standard Oil Building on lower 
Broadway. 

U. S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DISCUSSION ON HIGH BUILDINGS. 
JOHN IHLDER, Washington, D. C.: 

First of all there were no conclusions reached as a result of the 
debate between Mr. Corbett and Mr. Curran, and the discussion 
thereafter. Mr. Corbett gave us his picture of tall skyscrapers 
supplemented by tiers of subways and double-deck streets, but 
from that time on the argument was all against the skyscraper. 
They did not speak so much against height, but what they had in 
mind was cubage. They were thinking of congestion and of light 
and air. They had no objection to tower buildings. 

The keynote of the meeting, and incidently Mr. Reed sounded 
that note as he has done here, was that in the opinion of a group of 
business men, the final measure would not be a material or economic 
one, but a spiritual one; that business may be the foundation of 
prosperity but our cities are essentially places in which to live. 

DOES RAPID TRANSIT CONGEST OR DEGEST JOHN HANNA, 

Vice-President, American Electric Railway Association: 
Undoubtedly the question of transit and therefore the laying out 
of the city and the street system, has much influence on the ques- 
tion of high buildings, since they are without value if they are 
without accessibility. New York, a peninsula, has not been able 
to keep up with the growth of high buildings even with three 
level transportations. Chicago, with one hundred and eighty 
degrees spread, is certainly no worse off than New York, although 
largely limited to surface transportation. 



PUBLIC SERVICES WHICH REQUIRE REGIONAL 
PLANNING AND CONTROL 

NICHOLAS S. HILL, JR., Consulting Engineer, New York City 

It is common practice in the United States to regard water and 
sewerage works as municipal undertakings. This has resulted in 
the multiplication of small local plants which are in close proximity 
in the more congested sections of the country. The practice is not 
alone uneconomical because of the greater expense of operating a 
number of plants where one or a few would do, but also because 
political subdivision lines have little or no bearing on the question 
of water supply or sewage disposal. 

With water works it frequently occurs that local sources, which 
may be overburdened or unsuitable for potable uses, are utilized be- 
cause the expense of going far afield is too great for a single com- 
munity, whereas it would be perfectly feasible, by uniting with 
adjacent communities, to secure an adequate and satisfactory 
supply for all without undue burden or expense. 

There are many situations where from the engineering view- 
point the provision of additional water to satisfy the needs of a 
number of communities is not difficult and where, from a financial 
viewpoint, an adequate supply may be secured without unduly 
burdening the municipalities which benefit, although no single 
community could undertake a project which would satisfy the 
needs of all. 

Sewers and sewage disposal works should be designed to accord 
with natural drainage areas and not with arbitrary political sub- 
divisions. It frequently happens that parts of two adjacent com- 
munities lie within a common drainage area. Under these circum- 
stances, the economical thing is to install a sewerage system within 
this drainage area and carry the sewage by gravity to a common 
disposal plant rather than to build two systems or to force the sew- 
age of one from its natural outlet into other drainage areas. 

Ill 



112 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

There are also many sections containing a number of municipal- 
ities in which the sewage problem can be treated as a whole to 
great advantage, and the depreciation of property which usually 
results from the installation of sewage disposal plants may be con- 
fined, if not to one, to a comparatively few areas, whereas if each 
municipality attacks the problem individually the sources of nui- 
sance are multiplied. 

The first step in securing joint co-operative action on either 
water supply or sewage disposal is to create a board or commission, 
having broad powers, including the right to acquire existing water 
plants and sources of supply, to acquire existing sewers if necessary, 
or sewage disposal plants, to condemn lands and rights for addi- 
tional sources of water supply or for sewage disposal sites, to sell 
water at wholesale to the communities at interest and to make an 
equitable charge for the cost of sewage disposal, to levy taxes and 
assess cost upon the communities benefited, and to issue the 
necessary securities to pay for the works which are required to be 
built. Such a commission must have proper control, not only 
of existing sources of water supply but of sources which may be 
acquired, as well as of all existing sewers or sewage disposal works, 
and those which must be built. 

The function of these boards or commissions should not be to 
retail water, but to deliver it to central distributing points at the 
boundary of each civil subdivision taking its supply from the 
metropolitan system, and to control sewage disposal plants and 
exercise engineering supervision of the design of local sewer sys- 
tems so that the work in each municipality will be in accordance 
with a general sewer plan. 

Where it becomes necessary or is expedient to acquire the local 
distributing reservoirs, pumping stations, distributing mains and 
appurtenances from privately owned water companies in order to 
secure sources required by the water district, then the board or 
commission should acquire such property upon the understanding 
that the title thereto will be transferred to the municipality which 
it serves, and the board or commission should have the authority 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 113 

to assess the municipality for the amount necessary to repay the 
board or commission for its outlay for the property. 

If it should also be necessary to acquire privately owned sewers 
and sewage disposal works, the commission or board should turn 
the collecting sewers over to the municipalities, assessing them as 
before, and retain only those parts of the system which will be 
jointly used. 

The increased attention which has recently been given to sanita- 
tion, and particularly to pure water supplies and clean waterways, 
has resulted in the formation of numerous boards, commissions 
and districts, empowered to provide facilities for two or more civil 
subdivisions acting together. The effort to create boards or com- 
missions has grown out of the difficulty of co-operation without 
joint responsibility, as well as from the increasing knowledge that 
better service may be rendered by a plant designed to serve a 
natural water or sewerage district than one designed to suit the 
political boundaries of individual towns or villages. 

The tendency to group boards or commissions empowered to 
serve several communities having common interests arose in Eng- 
land with the formation of river boards, such as the Birmingham, 
Tame and Rea Drainage Board, which was created to control the 
collection and disposal of the sewage of Birmingham and sur- 
rounding territory. 

In the United States the tendency was originally towards the 
formation of commissions, organized and empowered by the State 
to carry out specific work. Among the earlier commissions were 
the Metropolitan Sewerage Board and Metropolitan Water Board 
in Massachusetts, serving the Boston Metropolitan District. In 
Illinois the formation of sanitary districts received an early start 
with the Enabling Act of 1889 which formed the Sanitary District 
of Chicago. This is in reality a separate municipal corporation 
overlying other municipalities and having a particular purpose and 
indefinite life. 

In New Jersey, the formation of the Passaic Valley Sewerage 
Commission and such joint projects as the Plainfield-North Plain- 



114 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

field-Dunellen Sewerage District has added to the list of commis- 
sion controlled municipal works. In Westchester County, New 
York, this form of handling public improvements was resorted to 
in the case of the Bronx Valley Sewer Commission. In Maryland, 
the recently created Metropolitan District in Baltimore County 
contiguous to Baltimore City is an excellent example. 

Such commissions have been created in various ways and their 
powers have varied greatly in scope in different localities. Ar- 
ranged according to the degree of authority given, they appear 
to fall into four groups: 

1. Commissions or boards formed by city councils for the specific 
purpose of building public works within the limits of one munic- 
ipality. 

These commissions hardly come within the definition of a metro- 
politan commission at the head of a district serving two or more 
municipalities, but they should be mentioned as it is common 
practice in many cities to turn over public works of importance to 
such bodies, as, for example, the Board of Additional Water 
Supply of the City of New York which had complete control of 
the design and development of the Catskill Water Supply, and 
the Public Improvement Commission of Baltimore which has had 
charge of the expenditure of large blocks of public funds for water 
improvements, increased school facilities, harbor development, 
and the like. 

2. Commissions or boards appointed by elective officers of a 
city, county or state, to which are given resources, either limited 
by specific acts or by the action of the municipal, county or state 
authorities governing the municipalities composing the district. 
Under this classification might be placed such boards as the 
Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board of Boston, the Passaic 
Valley Sewerage Commission in New Jersey, and others. 

3. Commissions or boards in charge of sanitary or water supply 
districts which have all of the elements of a complete municipality, 
with powers of taxation but with bonding powers dependent upon 
referendum, and composed of members appointed by county or 
state officers or elected by the popular vote of those residing within 
the district. Under this classification would come the smaller 
Sanitary Districts of Illinois. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 115 

4. Commissions or boards in charge of districts organized as 
municipalities with powers of taxation and the authority to issue 
bonds without referendum, and composed of members appointed 
or elected as above. Under this classification would come the 
Sanitary District of Chicago and the Baltimore County Metro- 
politan District. 

The commissions above classified have had authority only in 
districts lying within the boundaries of one state. For a complete 
classification there should be added joint commissions acting for 
two or more states and having powers more or less broad which 
are conferred jointly by the states at interest. Under this classifi- 
cation would come the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Com- 
mission and New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission. 

To finance the work proposed to be carried out on the com- 
mission plan money must be raised. This is usually done by 
issuing bonds or by special assessment. Occasionally, a part of 
the general taxes is also designated. Operation and maintenance 
costs, as well as the payments of interest and sinking fund charges 
to retire bonds when issued are sometimes met from general 
taxation, sometimes by special assessments, and sometimes by 
rates based upon service. 

Where the power to issue bonds is given, the maximum amount 
which may be issued is usually fixed, sometimes at a definite 
figure, but generally as a per cent of the assessed valuation of 
taxable property. In some states this amount is fixed by the con- 
stitution. Generally speaking, the acts creating such boards or 
commissions specify the maximum rate of interest at which securi- 
ties may be issued. The term for which bonds may be issued is 
frequently stated and definite provision is usually made for creat- 
ing and maintaining sinking funds for the retirement of bonds. 

There is no doubt that each of the several methods of pro- 
viding funds and meeting expenditures will find its proponents, 
but any act creating a water or sewer district should be drawn on 
broad lines and give the board or commission in charge ample 
powers to enable it to execute proposed work in a prompt and 
efficient manner. 



PUBLIC SERVICES WHICH REQUIRE REGIONAL 
PLANNING AND CONTROL 

THE TELEPHONE 

H. L. BADGER, General Manager, Bell Telephone Company of 
Pennsylvania 

The topic assigned to me for discussion may be paraphrased 
"A Public Service where the regional planning principle has 
been practiced and found valuable." 

I approach the discussion with hesitancy because of the magni- 
tude of the project which this conference is considering and the 
fact that communication service is only one of the elements in the 
over-all problem. However, a general statement of our experience, 
after many years' application of the principle to the communication 
problem, may contribute something toward a better understanding 
of the larger problem with which you are dealing. 

The value of communication service as one of the contributing 
factors for improved modern life lies in the number of users that 
can be reached for intercommunication either in a given local area 
or in the adjoining areas, or in the same state or the adjoining 
states, or in fact the entire United States a universal service. 

This brief statement of the scope of communication service 
directs attention to the interdependence and interrelation of 
communities, and illustrates the need of considering the problem 
of design for large geographic areas. In this respect the telephone 
service differs from many other kinds of service, and it is apparent 
that the regional planning principle as a fundamental of telephone 
plant design is and has been with us for many years. 

It is also obvious that an enormous economic burden and prob- 
able limitation would be imposed on the telephone service if 
arbitrary decisions were made without knowledge and meticulous 
consideration of the available facts. Such a situation would bring 

116 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 117 

about higher costs and tend to limit the number of users of the 
service, thus decreasing its general value because the service is 
valuable more or less in proportion to the possibilities of its use. 
The importance of wider use of telephone service increases as our 
modern industrial and social life becomes more complex. There- 
fore, it is a duty to reduce limitations and waste as far as practicable 
by a forward look and sound engineering. 

Any enterprise involving large amounts of fixed capital must 
be developed on the basis of estimates of future requirements. 
Based upon such estimates the physical property is designed and 
constructed. In the telephone business the necessity for advance 
fundamental planning of operations and very careful coordination 
of the engineering and requirements for service becomes increas- 
ingly important as the size and complexity of plant increase, as the 
ratio of the growth of the business to the amount of business which 
we now have changes, and as the character of the plant and equip- 
ment becomes less susceptible to rapid changes. These are all 
tendencies which are constantly being experienced and, I believe, 
are analogous to the broader problems of planning with which this 
conference is concerned. 

Estimates upon which to base plans years in advance are re- 
quired in order that the aforementioned conditions can be pro- 
vided for at each stage of development as efficiently and effectively 
as the circumstances will permit. Some will question the degree of 
precision that may be attained in this process, and I will venture 
to answer by stating that only by endeavoring to visualize the 
future and having courage to judge tendencies as we see them 
will costly haphazard and piecemeal methods be prevented. 

Many social and industrial problems, particularly of the type 
here discussed, are a direct result of increasing population. There- 
fore, a study of this factor appears to be a good start. 

A complete commercial survey which is the term applied to 
the technical analysis of the future possibilities for telephone re- 
quirementconsists of three steps: 

1. An analysis of the existing telephone requirement. 



118 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

2. A forecast of what future telephone requirement is going to 
be at a definite date or dates, say 15 or 20 years hence. 

(To determine this is to attempt to determine what the total 
number of families and firms in an area is going to be, for the reason 
that every family and firm is a possible telephone user, and is, 
therefore, the best basic unit for our purposes.) 

3. After estimating what the future population is going to be, 
the next step is to determine how much telephone service will be 
required at the particular date or dates under consideration. 

The extent of an area for study depends on many variables. 

A community may be entirely included within the corporate 
limits of a city, but in general large communities include in addition 
to the city all suburban areas which socially and economically are 
closely allied to the city and are a part of it. 

The changing customs, habits and mode of life brought about 
by improved transportation and communication frequently extend 
the problem beyond well-established political sub-divisions. 

Conditions at the future date for which the study is being made 
should be the controlling factors in determining the complete 
survey area for a community. For this reason the area should 
probably include certain suburban areas which are rural in charac- 
ter at the present time but which, with the growth and spread of 
the community, will gradually become a part of it. 

Experience has taught that in an area as large as that which is 
usually selected for planning purposes there are wide differences in 
economic conditions. The area, therefore, should be divided into 
sections which display the same economic characteristics and 
should be, as nearly as possible, homogeneous in character. 

The analysis is predicated on basic information obtained in the 
field by inspection, where all the data necessary are collected first 
hand. These data include records of the type of dwellings and the 
rents or values for both users and non-users, a record of the unim- 
proved property, and notation of probable changes in character of 
improved or unimproved property. 

Having completed the field record of the existing situation, we 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 119 

are ready to proceed with the estimates for the future. Forecasting 
the future telephone requirement is to endeavor to determine the 
population which is expected in the area at the future date, as the 
demands for communication service in a given community depend 
upon the number, character and distribution of people living or 
working in that community. 

A community which will double its population in five years must 
have a different treatment from one which would scarcely change in 
a generation. The rural district which has a great influx of popula- 
tion is a different problem from the one which is slowly declining. 

It is apparent that accuracy will be effected by a study of 
isolated communities. Whatever the past growth of a community 
may have been, whatever its unutilized natural advantages are, or 
however bright its prospects are, its probable future growth can 
be determined only by balancing its advantages with those of other 
communities of similar type. For example, a community may have 
abundant water-power for industrial purposes but its advantages 
would be outweighed by those of a community whose water-power 
is less abundant but more easily harnessed and whose situation is 
such that it is nearer markets and raw materials and whose labor 
conditions are better. Similarly, even the community with the 
brightest prospects will grow but slowly if for any reason the 
growth of the whole country is hindered. Changes in population 
are caused by births, deaths, immigration and emigration. If, 
therefore, immigration is restricted; if a series of epidemics should 
increase the death rate; or if the birth rate is lowered, some com- 
munities cannot grow as fast as they otherwise would. 

Satisfactory estimates of the future population of any com- 
munity, therefore, necessitate a comparison of the community's 
prospects with the prospects of other communities and the esti- 
mated growth of the nation as a whole insofar as this will affect 
the growth of the community studied. In other words, population 
estimates are best approached from a country-wide point of view. 
An interesting phase of the population study of the country is the 
native migration, a factor not properly weighed in many pre- 



120 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

vious investigations and an appreciation of which focuses attention 
on the need for national consideration, at least for some aspects of 
this problem. 

One of the chief problems in forecasting population of a particu- 
lar community is that of carefully analyzing and understanding 
its past growth. The part played by natural increase and by net 
immigration must be carefully determined. The reason why the 
community has been able to attract outsiders, or how it has been 
able to supply its labor demands from its natural increases, the 
relative contribution of growth in the trading territory and indus- 
trial expansion must be investigated, together with institutional, 
political and social considerations. The rate of increase in popula- 
tion recorded in the official census and the rate of growth between 
census dates must be determined. 

A careful analysis of the present and potential advantages of 
the community is an important aspect of a population estimate. 
What advantages has the community, or is it likely to have, which 
will attract industrial or trade population? Are there industrial 
sites available at a reasonable price and are they satisfactorily 
located with respect to transportation facilities? Will there be a 
supply of labor and under what working conditions? How do the 
present advantages compare with those which caused the past 
growth in population? Have any new features been added which 
would make for a more rapid increase than in the past? What do 
business men outside of the community think of it? Are their 
opinions becoming more or less favorable? 

Equally important is the comparison of the present and potential 
advantages of the community with those of other competing com- 
munities and of establishing the relation of its growth to that of 
the nation and of the state of which it is a part. Here the emphasis 
should be on any changes in its standing relative to other com- 
munities, especially competing communities. If the changing con- 
ditions are tending to favor the relative position of the com- 
munity it should attract a larger proportion of the total growth. 
This condition has prompted state-wide economic studies. 






PLANNING PROBLEMS 121 

Having determined the population for the future period, usually 
about twenty years ahead, it is distributed by the minor civil 
divisions which comprise the area being studied. To do this there 
must be taken into consideration the influences which have caused 
the increase in population in various divisions of the area in the 
past. In addition we must determine what the effect of these in- 
fluences is going to be in the future and whether additional influ- 
ences may change the distribution. With these factors in mind 
the future population is distributed on the basis of the number of 
people which it is possible to house in various areas, consideration 
being given to the desirability of various sections for home sites, 
present and proposed transit facilities, locations of various types 
of industries, and present or proposed zoning ordinances. The fact 
that in practically every community there are certain areas which 
are unavailable for home sites, such as cemeteries, public parks, 
factory areas, etc., must be considered as well as the fact that the 
expansion of the business section into residential sections means 
the shifting of certain population into other parts of the area. 

Having distributed the population to the minor divisions, the 
next step is to forecast the number of families, for as previously 
mentioned every family rather than every individual is a prospect 
for telephone service. Past data on the number of persons per 
family are available, and from an analysis of this trend and a 
knowledge of influences which it is expected will affect population 
the number of persons per family is projected to the future date. 

An economic classification of the estimated families in each area 
is made by dividing them into rental classes. This is done after 
carefully studying the present character and the expected changes 
in each area. 

The future business telephone requirement is also based on 
population. It has been found that there is a close relation existing 
between population and the number of firms, so that on the basis 
of an analysis of present conditions a ratio of the number of firms 
per 1,000 population is established, and we have found that this 
ratio varies but slightly over considerable periods of time for 
9 



122 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the same area. The estimated number of firms at the future date 
is then distributed throughout the area after considering the types 
of firms that are likely to locate in different sections. For example, 
we would expect to find office buildings and department stores in 
the downtown business section, a preponderance of small retail 
stores in neighborhood business areas, and manufacturing plants 
near railroad rights of way. 

When the distribution of the future telephone requirement has 
been completed by the smaller areas the information is ready for 
the preparation of the fundamental plan of the physical property 
as it will look x years ahead. 

When an estimate of this character and the resulting plan (which 
it will be remembered is usually for about twenty years in advance) 
have been prepared, it is necessary to observe constantly every 
consideration which was used as a basis. Whenever the develop- 
ment of the area is not following the considerations used modifi- 
cations should be made so that the information is constantly kept 
up to date and the fundamental plan rearranged in accordance 
with these changes. 

The need for such comprehensive surveys can be demonstrated 
by the following brief description of the basic telephone engineering 
problem. 

Telephone instruments must be located in the residence or the 
office of user. 

A connection between the user's residence or office and a central 
office must be established. 

Buildings in which to house the central offices for establishing 
intercommunication must be located. 

Trunk lines between central offices in the same city and toll and 
long distance lines to distant towns and cities must be provided. 

In one of our large cities over 1,500,000 calls are originated 
daily, more than half of which pass over the trunk lines between 
exchanges in the city, and thousands of calls pass over toll and 
long distance lines to distant cities and towns. 

It is apparent that we must have some knowledge of the location 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 123 

of the originators of this telephone traffic in order that suitable 
paths and channels spread over the cities, towns and adjacent 
country can be economically provided and designed in such a way 
that a uniformly high grade of intercommunication can be obtained 
between any one station and each and every one of the other sta- 
tions, not only in the city and contiguous country involved in the 
survey but in cities and towns in adjoining areas within a state or 
in other states. 

As an example of the effect of a definite change in economic con- 
ditions, it is interesting to note certain circumstances in connection 
with the recent development in Florida. The influx of large num- 
bers of people was a migration consisting of elements largely from 
the higher economic strata. This resulted in extraordinary de- 
mands on the local, toll and long distance telephone plant. As a 
result of the early over-taxing of the existing telephone facilities, 
unusual efforts were made to build up the plant to meet the require- 
ment imposed by the rapid development of that section of the 
country. In addition to the largely increased demand for local 
service, the long distance traffic, particularly between Florida and 
northern points, increased tremendously, with the result that a 
plant which had been planned as an integral part of a program 
some years hence is today being constructed in order to meet 
immediate requirement. 

There are two points in connection with this illustration that 
should be stressed; first, the definite reaction that occurs as the 
result of changing economic conditions; and second, the fact that 
if plans are made for definite extensions some years hence they 
can be utilized as a basis for the provision of facilities to serve 
immediate requirement when such cases arise. 

Reverting to the problem of the municipality which with its 
suburbs we sometimes define as a metropolitan area, it is evident 
that in order not to be extravagant the plans developed for future 
use must in themselves include thorough consideration of the 
existing plant. In the case of the telephone business, the commer- 
cial surveys and estimates previously described are the basis for 



124 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

studies of all pertinent variations of methods of handling the total 
development indicated. Consideration is also given to the possible 
use of various improvements in the art which may be definitely ex- 
pected as a result of development or research at present under way. 

One of the most interesting examples of how these data are used 
is that of determining the location for a new central office building. 
Assuming that we know the limits of the area which the proposed 
office is to serve and that we also know the distribution of the ulti- 
mate users within these boundaries, it may be said that the theoreti- 
cal location for the central office, technically known as the wire 
center, is the center of gravity of the telephone exchange plant at 
the time that office is filled to capacity. 

The wire center so determined is in reality the center of the 
economic distribution for the ultimate telephone development. 
It is important to bear in mind this definition of the wire center 
for the reason that its determination has been one of the principal 
objectives resulting from the use of the data developed by the 
estimates of the future telephone requirement. 

It follows then that, should the development of the community 
be such that radical changes occur either through natural causes 
or by reason of legislation, these will tend to invalidate the basic 
factors which predetermine the office location, thereby increasing 
the cost of service. It is apparent, therefore, that regional plan- 
ning, by tending to crystallize the development of communities, 
would be a distinct aid as a factor in permitting construction of 
telephone plant along economic lines. 

This general procedure for planning for the future development 
of the telephone plant has been the practice of the Bell System for 
about thirty years. It has been our experience that such plans 
provide definite objectives which change in magnitude and time of 
completion due to certain areas forging ahead faster or others 
reaching their estimated development more slowly than was 
expected. This, in general, is not particularly disturbing since the 
primary commercial survey is under constant review, and, there- 
fore, allowances can be made for such changes, as a rule, in time to 
compensate for them. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 125 

For example, the plant costing upwards of $100,000,000 in a 
typical large city has been constructed along lines determined from 
such a plan, which is being continually revised to maintain pace 
with the changing economic situation in order that we may have 
an intelligent picture of our future program. In the plan for 
this city are included prospective offices the location and size of 
which are more or less definitely known today and have been for 
several years past, and which, despite frequent revisions in the 
planning data, are expected to be built eight or ten years hence at 
the predetermined location. This affords some light on the stability 
of such plans with regard to the attainment of future objectives. 

From what has been said, there is perhaps reason to believe that 
the telephone planning problem is largely regional planning for the 
benefit of a single utility in order to enable that utility to give 
service to its subscribers at reasonable cost. This in itself is dis- 
tinctly analogous to the procedure which I conceive may be fol- 
lowed with benefit by city or regional planning bodies in order 
that the municipality may obtain the best that can be had in the 
way of civic development without high cost and waste, which are 
reasonably sure to be the result of any procedure not based on 
comprehensive planning. 

In conclusion 

These fundamental data primarily collected and used for eco- 
nomic telephone plant design have been made available and have 
proved to be useful for other purposes, such as 

(a) Location and size of schools. 

(b) Location of recreation centers. 

(c) Location of supply distribution points, and 

(d) Determining the volume and flow of traffic on highways. 

In fact the family unit seems to be the basic factor in so many of 
our industrial and social problems that it appears to me that the 
collection of such information for the use of all by some govern- 
mental agency, if practicable, would be a very valuable contribu- 
tion to industrial and social progress. 



THE EXPERIENCE IN THE LOS ANGELES REGION 

GORDON WHITNALL, Director, Los Angeles City Plan Commission 

The metropolitan district of Los Angeles is distinctive as com- 
pared to most metropolitan areas in that it is very inflexible. Our 
ultimate limits are definitely known, they can never expand be- 
yond the mountains or the sea. The area thus bounded contains 
about 1200 square miles of which approximately one-third comes 
under the original jurisdiction of the Los Angeles City Planning 
Commission. We had not gone far in our city planning work be- 
fore realizing that its effectiveness would be greatly reduced un- 
less it could be projected outside of the city limits where, in an area 
of about 900 square miles, forty odd municipalities were develop- 
ing both internally and externally so rapidly that one could almost 
see a regional structure produced. 

The limiting factor in our regional work is the water supply. 
We estimate the maximum population that can be supplied with 
water at 12,000,000. Reduced to an acreage basis, this gives us an 
ultimate average density of population not to exceed 16 to the 
acre as compared with the present average in Manhattan Island 
of 164. Our goal is so to control the process of development that 
undue density of population will be prevented in any given area. 

In November of 1923 a conference of citizens and officials was 
called in Pasadena and out of that conference came what I believe 
to be the first official regional planning commission in this country. 
It was followed by four other conferences, each three months 
apart. The purpose of them all was to create in the official mind 
of the county the necessity for official regional planning activity 
which would take up the threads of the work at the boundary of 
the city of Los Angeles and make a good planning program into 
which the local schemes of the forty odd municipalities could fit. 

126 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 127 

The regional planning commission created in January, 1924 con- 
sisted of five members, it now consists of seven. Again, we are 
quite fortunate in that the entire Region as bounded by nature is 
within the confines of one single county in one single state. 

It will be difficult for you who are not familiar with the terrific 
speed with which the land development is going on to understand 
our actual problem, but I will use this one illustration. During the 
last seven years the city of Los Angeles has been confronted with 
the practical problem of assimilating a population greater than the 
whole city of San Francisco. San Francisco is no mean city of 
600,000 people. You will see, therefore, that we have not devoted 
the time to plans that we might have; the avalanche of development 
has been on us in such a degree that we have barely kept our heads 
above water. The task of merging socially, commercially, and in 
every other way so gigantic a population in so short a time is prob- 
ably unprecedented. In addition, there has been accomplished in a 
period of about five years a physical program that might formerly 
have required from twenty to twenty-five years, and it had to be 
done on the basis of an earning power of five years. The result has 
been a terrific burden on the community. 

Just at that point the advantage of planning began to be appar- 
ent to the citizens not only of the city but of the whole Region. 
A highway program was worked out by a Major Traffic Com- 
mission, with the help of Mr. Bartholomew, Mr. Olmsted and Mr. 
Cheney. This is an unofficial self-constituted and self-financed 
association assisting the official bodies in the Region in every way. 
Out of their work has evolved our major traffic street plan which 
was confined in the first instance within the corporate limits of 
Los Angeles but has since been extended by the Regional Planning 
Commission to cover the entire metropolitan area. 

The street program alone will cost just the city of Los Angeles 
$300,000,000. We have adopted the first unit in the program 
and spent on it $35,000,000. Last November the voters of the 
City adopted the second unit which called for expenditures of 
$75,000,000 more. I mention this merely because it is a sad 



128 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

confession for any community to say that it must pay the penalty 
of $110,000,000 merely because ten or fifteen years ago it did not 
know of any such thing as planning. In this lies the big reason 
why planning has taken hold of our people, why it is generally 
understood not only by the leaders but in the schools and the 
clubs. 

We have, among many projects now definitely under way, the 
creation of a new thoroughfare which will extend from the limit 
of urban expansion on the east to the western limit of the city, a 
total distance of approximately 10 miles. Merely to secure the 
additional rights of way for widening, straightening and connecting 
in order to make a continuous thoroughfare, will cost $10,000,000. 
The cost of improving the way is not included. In other words, a 
million dollars a mile, and the job has taken five years. It happens to 
coincide with the time in which both our city planning and regional 
planning programs have been definitely under way and in which we 
have come to that stage in our planning for major and secondary 
highways where we can with some intelligence guide the process of 
land subdividing. 

In one year alone over 1400 subdivision plans were recorded, 
most of which we have passed upon. This year the number will 
be less, but will average at least 20 subdivisions a week. In the 
process of controlling this subdivision development we have se- 
cured without expense to the city, in addition to what would other- 
wise reasonably have been secured without cost, over 200 miles of 
major thoroughfares, 100 feet wide. Assuming that we had 
not exercised this control and had permitted the mistakes of the 
past to dictate the policy of the future, we would have been forced 
to adopt a reconstruction program fifteen years from now which, 
based on a million dollars a mile, would have cost $200,000,000. 
The saving of $200,000,000 on highways alone convinces any com- 
munity as to the merit of planning. When you add to this great 
item many smaller items which have been saved by the securing of 
rights of way for 80-foot thoroughfares, by securing in advance acre- 
age for school sites, park sites and public buildings, all without 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 129 

cost, by the preparation for the installation of public utilities, the 
amount staggers the imagination. 

The topography of the Los Angeles Region is extremely broken, 
ranging from extreme elevations along one side to the sea level, 
with all kinds of variations in height between these limits. If we 
were to function quickly and correctly we had to have a correct 
topographical survey, because our only maps were old geodetic 
sheets. With the wonderful help of the United States Army there 
has now been completed, in three years' time, a complete survey 
of the 1 200 miles on 5 foot intervals except in extreme contours where 
it jumps to 15 feet. The base work was done by aerial photography 
and was financed by the Region. 

DRAINAGE 

We have drainage of two types, sanitary and flood. The flood 
is seasonal, very short in duration, but ruinous when it happens. 
No one municipality could alone cope with this problem, because 
the flood which damages several towns on the way to the sea origi- 
nates outside the limits of any of them. To meet this situation the 
state law created a new political unit known as the Los Angeles 
Flood Control District, somewhat less than the whole county, 
yet greater than all of the municipalities. The single physical 
engineering problem of flood origin and flood control was handled 
by one commission throughout the entire district. The same 
scheme has been applied to the problem of sanitary drainage. 

RECREATION AND ZONING 

Recently we have taken up the problem of open spaces on quite 
a comprehensive scale and have secured, by way of reservation 
and dedication, many miles of old drainage channels, commercially 
the least valuable to the owners, but which constitute a great asset 
both for recreation purposes and as a factor of safety. 

The last great experiment is the extension of zoning into the 
metropolitan district. Los Angeles has been zoned on quite a com- 
prehensive scale for over six years, but just outside the city there 



130 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

is nothing of the kind, although there is an urban density of popu- 
lation exceeding anything in the city of Los Angeles. In some 
places, because of the entire lack of urban regulations, the infant 
mortality has exceeded 100 percent over the normal in every other 
part of the country. The gigantic task of zoning a whole county, 
co-ordinating this work with that which has already been done in 
the larger cities, is progressing. 

At least we feel that we have in Los Angeles County interesting 
laboratory conditions for regional planning, largely because, in 
spite of everything that has happened, the communities are still 
flexible. We shall hope to continue successful experiments which 
may be of some advantage to you in the east. 

DISCUSSION 

ARTHUR C. COMEY, Cambridge, Mass. : May I askMr.Whitnall 
how he knows the available water supply for the Los Angeles 
Region will take care of 12,000,000 people and why he thinks that 
the engineers may not be able to provide an additional supply ade- 
quate for many millions more? 

MR. WHITNALL: The water supply for the Los Angeles District 
comes from two sources. There is a local source which, for a period 
of fifty years, has given a very constant maximum supply. More 
recently we have imported a supply from a distance of 238 miles. 
In searching for an additional source, we find that to the north all 
the water is appropriated for the needs of the people in that re- 
gion, to the west is the ocean, to the south is the ocean, and 
there remains only the east where the only possible source is the 
Colorado River, the great desert intervening between us and it. 
We are now constructing an aqueduct from this source which will 
take care of three and one-quarter times our present supply. 

Taking these three sources and applying the present per capita 
consumption and allowing for a conservative increase of that per 
capita consumption, we find that 12,000,000 is the maximum popu- 
lation which can be supplied with potable water. It is possible to 
utilize the ocean water supply as is now done in San Francisco, and 
we are planning to use that for fire and flushing purposes. But un- 
less we can find some present unforeseen means to use ocean water 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 131 

for potable purposes, I believe that the figure of 12,000,000 will 
stand as the maximum. 

One other question that has been put to me is directed particu- 
larly to the zoning work that I referred to at the end of my re- 
marks. We have found in the Los Angeles Region, and I suppose 
it is true of other regions, that our cities are not alike. I can best 
illustrate this by reference to the automobile. A Ford is not like a 
Rolls Royce and yet they are mechanically alike. Each has its 
internal combustion, its engine, its connecting rod, transmission, 
wheels, carburetor, gas tank, sometimes a head light and a tail 
light. They may be different in design but mechanically they are 
the same. With cities this is not so. One city may be wholly a 
carburetor or wholly a transmission, and another may be wholly 
upholstery. In our region Beverly Hills and Pasadena are essen- 
tially bedrooms. Vernon, on our southeast is essentially a garage. 
Where we have left each of these individual cities to its own devices 
it has attempted to become a complete Ford, each one wanted its 
carburetor, its wheels, its upholstery, etc., but we find that that 
is economic waste, and by emphasizing the elements of regional 
zoning we are actually accomplishing a setting aside of whole com- 
munities for one type of activity. So, plans which suit a com- 
munity essentially industrial will not be marred by including in 
them pepper and salt city lots for bungalow construction. By fit- 
ting the plan to the best function of the community, we are bringing 
about one of the greatest accomplishments in our regional planning 
movement. 

EDWARD M. BASSETT, New York City: There are two points that 
I would like to speak on very briefly, first, regarding the expres- 
sion "master plan." Mr Whitnall uses the expression to cover the 
plan which is still being worked out in the office of the plan com- 
mission. The Department of Commerce uses the expression to 
cover a plan which has an official standing and is therefore quite 
different from the master plan as Mr. Whitnall defines it. In the 
Cincinnati law the expression "official plan" is used to cover the 
plan as adopted by the city authorities which can be departed from 
only by a vote of more than a majority of the city council. In the 
recent planning and platting legislation in New York State the 
expression "master plan" does not occur but there has already 
grown up in the practice of several villages and cities the use of 
the expression in exactly the same sense as Mr. Whitnall uses it. 



132 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

I wish we could be uniform in our use of these words throughout 
the country. I think it may be wiser for the states which adopt 
the Department of Commerce enabling act to use the expression 
"official plan" rather than "master plan." 

My other comment refers to an important element in regional 
planning work. During the last eight years I have been strongly 
impressed by the fact that where two cities grow toward each 
other there is almost always a depressed, if not a blighted district 
where they meet. I could name a good many. I have noticed it 
in the growing together of the municipalities that now make up 
the great Borough of Brooklyn; I have noticed it in several New 
England places that have grown together. This brings us to the 
importance of establishing open districts between communities. 
In the development of the Niagara Frontier, for instance, I am 
convinced that there is not only a need of open places or parks 
along the Niagara River, but even more that there is a need of 
open development strips between Buffalo and Tonawanda and 
between Tonawanda and Niagara Falls. This open area, whether 
park or some other kind of reservation, should be from one-half 
mile to three-quarters of a mile wide. I prophesy that inside of 
three generations if something of this sort is not planned there will 
result at least two blighted districts in the Buffalo-Niagara 
Falls Region. 

GEORGE B. FORD, New York City: Mr. Bassett's remarks about 
the necessity of drawing a distinction between a master plan and 
an official plan bring up the question of how regional plans are be- 
ing made. I think we will find very few made by regional planning 
commissions composed of members representing the different com- 
munities in the region. I can think of a number of instances where 
regional plans are being made by the central city which will affect 
land outside of that city's limits, and in each of these cases the 
money for plan making is being appropriated out of the treasury 
of the central city. Obviously, the title "official plan" cannot be 
used to define that part of the plan which covers land outside of 
the central city limits. Therefore in Cincinnati and in other cities 
that have adopted city plans to a greater or lesser degree the word 
"official" really applies to the portion of the plan within the city 
limits. The part outside the city limits is still a master plan and 
will continue to be a master plan until it receives some sort of offi- 
cial sanction. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 133 

That brings up the question of how to carry out regional plan- 
ning suggestions. In a county north of New York City a county 
planning commission has recently been appointed. There are a 
certain number of property owners there who realize that state 
highways and county highways are going to be built through the 
county, that new parks, state and county, will be located within 
the county's limits, and that the water supply system of New York 
City may require more of the county's areas. They are really look- 
ing for a method of protecting their property and the property of 
their friends against untoward action on the part of these all-en- 
gulfing state bodies. The complexion of the commission is obvi- 
ously one which will favor the interests of those who are on the 
inside and those of their friends. For this reason in addition to 
others, the composition of the regional planning commission must 
be a matter of especial concern. 

One of the most obvious ways of approach to the subject of the 
execution of a regional plan is through the method of annexation. 
Usually annexation arouses the hostility of the communities whose 
lands are to be joined to the annexing city. If we believe that 
annexation is wise we must disarm this opposition by a scientific 
investigation of the whole subject of annexation, to see what ad- 
vantages and disadvantages there are both to the central city and 
to the territory to be annexed. It would be well to have this study 
conducted by a non-political group not too closely related either 
to the government of the central city or to that of the outside 
territory. The study should be given wide publicity so that the 
interest of all citizens will be secured, and the question receive a 
sound answer from the point of view of community advantage. 

MR. COMEY: I think we have three names for three different 
kinds of planning situations. We have the master plan which has 
either no authority or very little, which can be turned into ac- 
complishment only if the support of the agency which carries out 
public improvements is secured. The master plan is really a 
guide, a program. Then we have the official plan which can be 
overturned by the city council by vote of more than a majority. 
This is, I believe, the situation in Cincinnati and it is the situation 
under the Hoover Standard Act. It gives the plan a certain 
amount of legal sanction. Finally, we have the official map which 
is not referred to particularly in the Hoover Act and which Mr. 
Bassett (I think I am quoting him correctly) considers the essence 



134 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

of city planning, that is, the placing upon the land of certain legal 
qualities. Such an official map covering at least a street system 
is found in New York, in Baltimore, in Philadelphia and certain 
other Pennsylvania communities. I believe that if we could agree 
that these three terms cover the situations that I have described, 
we would avoid all confusion. 

It seems to me that often communities in a region have interests 
diametrically opposed to the central city. Suburban towns which 
are used chiefly as residential places might prefer to base their 
future needs for thoroughfares, playgrounds and school sites upon 
the normal growth of such communities rather than to provide 
great thoroughfares for through traffic, and to acquire school sites 
and playgrounds commensurate with their intensive growth caused 
by the extension of the central city. What would Mr. Whitnall 
do with such communities ? 

MR. WHITNALL: We have annexed many such communities in the 
past, but the latchstring of Los Angeles is no longer out. I think 
I can say of communities which may have the ideals referred to by 
Mr. Comey that they see the necessity for fitting their local plans 
into the regional scheme. It does not mean the blotting out of the 
individuality of a community and forcing it to conform to a stand- 
ard, but we have shown to the satisfaction of the communities in 
the Region that there are certain regional highways necessary to 
all and the topography in our Region limits pretty closely the lo- 
cation of these highways. I believe we will always have distinctive 
communities. Hollywood, Pasadena and Beverly Hills differ from 
each other as they all differ from Los Angeles. 

JOHN NOLEN, Cambridge, Mass. : I'd like to refer just a moment 
to a memo on this subject which I started to make some time ago 
as a suggestion of what we might possibly do in the matter of 
definitions, scope, etc., as applied to regional planning. For ex- 
ample, at that time I attempted classification of planning in this 
manner. There is town planning, city planning, metropolitan 
planning, county planning, state planning, national planning, con- 
tinent planning, hemisphere planning and world planning. Those 
are all fairly clear words and terms that might be used. 

There is also inter-city planning, or inter-county planning, or 
inter-state planning, or international planning. 

Then there is the question of attempting to define in some way 
the scope of regional planning. It is a question of (1) area; (2) 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 135 

jurisdiction; (3) subjects that we count under the scope of regional 
planning; (4) time or period as distinguished in regional planning 
perhaps from city planning; and (5) certain assumptions or 
principles connected with regional planning which have been 
formulated in connection with the New York Sage Foundation 
regional planning enterprise. 

Then the question of what constitutes a region whether there 
isn't always some kind of unity. There might be industrial, agri- 
cultural, economic, geographic or topographic unity; resort or 
recreation; financial; social, political or legal; historical; or unity 
dependent upon ownership. For example, I know one region of 
about 60,000 acres which is being planned simply because it is in a 
single private ownership. 

I have also some miscellaneous notes and definitions. Here was 
one definition: "We may say, then, that any area, whatever its 
size, throughout which easy communication is desirable, and 
throughout which there is to be service intended to reach all people, 
and throughout which single governmental administration extends, 
should be taken as a unit for a general plan, indicating the best 
physical development of that whole area." Here is another, which 
I think was in "Land Planning": "The public control through 
planning in advance of the physical treatment of public and pri- 
vate land and the resources in the interest of the country, state, or 
region as a whole." A definition of community is this: "A com- 
munity emphasizes or suggests political and social relationship. 
Region suggests physical environment." 

These suggestions are quite fragmentary, but are offered as a 
classification that might be helpful now when we are just entering 
into the field that regional planning represents. 



GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION TO PROMOTE 
REGIONAL PLANNING AND EXECUTION 

FRANK H. SOMMER, Dean, New York University Law School 

If I were to present as my contribution to the Conference the 
results of my own researches, the time that I have been given would 
be ample. The task of indicating within the same period the re- 
sults of studies by others requires a power of compact presentation 
which I cannot claim. Therefore I shall attempt to effect a com- 
promise in my presentation of the subject, and in so doing I adopt 
a course which it is my conviction that those who desire to secure 
the setting up of governmental organization to promote regional 
planning and its execution must be prepared to take. 

Compromise is not in itself an evil. It may well be the handmaid 
of progress. The road toward the ideal is strewn with the wrecks 
of "No compromise!" The way toward the ideal in planning is 
ofttimes obstructed by barriers of practical considerations. Com- 
promise between the ideal and the practical is necessary if these 
barriers are to be removed without protracted and wasteful delay. 
Fundamental principles cannot, however, be subjected to com- 
promise. In this statement there lurks a danger. Too many in 
determining what principles are fundamental tend to the attitude 
that my doxy is orthodoxy and that your doxy is heterodoxy. The 
subject of governmental organization for regional planning is one 
that affords ground for reasoned difference of opinion and one that 
offers a wide field in which compromise is a legitimate means to 
progress toward the ultimate goal. 

Reading the growing volume of literature relating to govern- 
mental organization for planning one feels that less light than heat 
has been contributed and one is reminded of Cotton Mather's com- 
parison of Roger Williams to "a certain windmill in the Low Coun- 

136 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 137 

tries, which in a brisk gale first fired itself and then set a whole 
town in flames." 

Drawing upon the same basic material, sharply clashing con- 
clusions have been reached. The perplexed state of mind of the 
reader resembles that of the traveller at the cross-roads confronted 
by varying direction, distance and condition signs posted in con- 
fusing profusion by state and county authorities and by rival 
municipalities and competing merchants. For one I rise from the 
intellectual repast unconvinced that there is one universally best 
form of governmental organization to promote regional planning. 

One fact stands out. Regions differ radically. They differ in 
immediate regional needs and in such needs projected reasonably 
into the future. In one, the providing of regional highways may 
be the pressing need. In another transportation may be of most 
immediate concern. In still another sewage disposal may occupy 
the place of paramount importance; or flood control; or an ade- 
quate supply of potable water. Again in another, zoning upon a 
regional basis may occupy first place in order of importance if the 
results of independent and unrelated efforts at municipal zoning are 
not to be nullified. In others several or all of these problems may 
be equally pressing in the need for solution. 

They differ in the extent to which private and public enterprises 
are the agencies employed in providing public services; they differ 
in the extent of urban, suburban and agricultural territory; they 
differ in the number and forms of government of municipalities 
and unincorporated areas within their limits; they differ in their 
financial ability and the evenness of the spread of financial ability; 
they differ in political, social and economic conditions; their people 
differ in tenacity to the old and their reactions to the new; they 
differ in traditions. These variant factors, of which the last three 
are not the least important, must be weighed and balanced when 
the question arises in a given region as to the form of governmental 
organization that will with the greatest advantage promote plan- 
ning and its execution in such region. 

This statement of varying regional conditions may readily be 
10 



138 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

enlarged upon. As it stands it indicates sufficiently the basis upon 
which the conviction rests that there is no one universally best 
form of governmental organization to accomplish the purpose con- 
sidered. Hope based upon a form claimed to be so operative is as 
certainly doomed to disappointment as is the hope raised by the 
Indian Medicine Man hawking a panacea stentoriously guaranteed 
to cure all the ills that flesh is heir to. 

Any form of governmental organization that opens the way to 
officially ascertaining regional requirements, and planning to meet 
such requirements, is better than no organization. Any form will at 
least give regional planning legal status and give point to the effort 
to create an informed body of public opinion on the subject. With- 
out a substantially preponderating supporting body of public opin- 
ion any form of governmental organization, however excellently its 
structure may be devised, will prove but a broken reed. In the end 
the fate of regional planning and the effort to give it effect will 
depend upon the extent to which conviction of its practical utility 
is carried to those who plenish and replenish the public purse. 

" Best" is, after all, a relative term when used in relation to forms 
of governmental organization. With reference to a particular 
region at a given time that form is best which, from the standpoint 
of meeting regional needs, is the best that can be made effective 
without enervating delay and without engendering excessive fric- 
tion. In this view I have some measure of confidence in the prac- 
tical utility of an omnibus act or acts making available various 
methods of providing for regional planning and giving effect to the 
results of such planning an act or acts that will permit such plan- 
ning to go forward and expand as rapidly as public opinion develops 
and follow the direction of such opinion. 

Such an act or acts would be comprehensive in scope and would : 
(a) confer authority upon any two or more municipalities or 
counties to act jointly through contract in planning, providing and 
maintaining public works, improvements and services; (b) provide 
for voluntary consolidation of municipalities, conferring upon the 
consolidated municipality comprehensive planning powers; (c) pro- 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 139 

vide for an appropriate broadening of the powers of the existing 
county governing bodies; (d) provide for the consolidation of 
municipalities within a county upon "the principles of federal 
government," vesting in a central authority comprehensively power 
to plan and act to meet the county as distinguished from local 
requirements; (e) provide for the consolidation on like principles of 
municipalities regionally, disregarding county lines; (f) provide for 
creating regional planning commissions or boards with power to 
plan for and act with respect to one or more particularly specified 
regional works, improvements or services, or with reference to all 
such enterprises as the region may determine. 

This sketch of an omnibus bill is incomplete in its listing; lacking 
details, it is vague. Its purpose will, however, be served if it indi- 
cates in a general way what is in mind and points to some of the 
avenues such a bill might open, which planning on a regional basis 
may with varying strides under differing conditions move forward. 

In outlining the provisions of the omnibus act or acts I designedly 
omitted provision for consolidation of municipalities through so- 
called "forced" annexation. This omission is owing to the belief 
that the inclusion of such a provision would unnecessarily inject 
into the act or acts matter of a highly explosive controversial na- 
ture. I would not, however, be taken to believe that consolidation 
through so-called "forced" annexation is never justifiable. On the 
contrary, I believe that there are extreme instances in which such 
means to the end are not only justifiable but offer the "only 
practicable way." 

My active sympathy, however, is with those who man the out- 
posts of the forces that would maintain the right to local self- 
government at all hazards. The right to local self-government is a 
matter of tradition a right with respect to which the nerve of 
public opinion is peculiarly sensitive a right not lightly to be 
invaded. Yet the content of the right depends upon the scope to be 
given, and the content to be assigned, to the words "local" and 
"self-government." Conditions change. With change, matters at 
one stage of development solely local in consequences and therefore 



140 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

of merely local concern, reach out in their effect, produce extra- 
local consequences and pass out of the class of matters solely of 
local concern and into the class of matters of inter-community or 
regional interest. In these changed conditions the matters referred 
to have become "local" to the communities the interests of which 
are commonly involved, that is, to the region. Neither the spirit 
nor the letter of the doctrine of local self-government is violated if 
with respect to these matters the governmental base is broadened 
and the governmental unit enlarged. In such a situation considera- 
tions of inter-community and regional interests must prevail and be 
given effect. Existing municipal lines ought not to be permitted to 
bar progress in meeting common requirements effectively. 

Important as it is, even the movement to promote regional plan- 
ning must respect tradition. I cannot escape the feeling, however, 
that the movement in its development will find it necessary to 
create tradition. 



THE PLANNING ORGANIZATION OF THE 
NIAGARA FRONTIER REGION 

HOWARD E. LONG, Secretary, Niagara Frontier Planning Board 

Planning and execution should go hand in hand, their co-ordina- 
tion being effected by proper organization. It is a fact that many 
plans of paramount excellence are dead or dormant for lack of 
executive control. Whether this is due to inefficient organization 
or to lack of selling ability on the part of the planner depends upon 
local conditions. To any one familiar with city planning matters it 
is not difficult to recall specific instances where proper executive 
methods would have saved the day for the planner. 

The general public the mass of tax-paying citizens is un- 
familiar with the technique of planning, and particularly where 
public funds are appropriated to cover the cost of the work, 
tangible physical results are expected and required or the appro- 
priations cease for lack of accomplishment to justify the expendi- 
ture. A wonderful plan in the mind of the designer or its beautiful 
illustration on paper is useless to all practical intents and purposes 
until it begins to take actual physical form. 

A planning commission with strictly advisory planning powers 
and with no executive or administrative authority as regards con- 
struction, but with an influential association to assist in furthering 
its purposes, seems to be the logical form of organization. A most 
important feature of the activities of both bodies should be the 
establishment of local planning and zoning committees in the cities, 
towns and villages of the region, whose authority is final in all local 
planning, but whose plans and efforts at execution thereof should 
be co-ordinated with the comprehensive regional plan by co-opera- 
tion with each other through the regional planning commission. 

Elected officials have a tendency to insist, and rightly so, upon 

141 



142 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the established policy of home rule, and the latent objection or 
active antagonism on the part of governmental authorities due to 
overlap of executive powers or infringement of their legal or tradi- 
tional prerogatives seems to indicate the importance of the advisory 
method in dealing with the regional plan. While this may be 
asserted to be following the line of least resistance, nevertheless the 
objection is not serious provided the end in view namely, the 
execution of the plan is accomplished. 

If we remember our psychology we recognize the fact that the 
desire for leadership is inherent, that in some this instinct is more 
pronounced than in others, and that among those in whom it is 
most pronounced are those who seek and are elected to public 
office. We recognize also that in those of keen desire for leadership 
the fighting instinct is usually pronounced, so that it appears 
obvious that any form of organization which seeks to attain its ends 
by assuming for itself powers which tend to submerge in any degree 
the authority of men of this type is but inviting at the outset the 
antagonism of the very officials whose co-operation, readily ob- 
tained by other means, would be most useful in securing the even- 
tual execution of the comprehensive plan. 

As Mr. Arthur A. Shurtleff has said in an issue of "City Plan- 
ning," which appeared some time ago: "Advisory powers exercised 
by able planning boards with competent advice have accomplished 
work of vast importance in the cities of this country. The thing 
most urgently needed at present is to awaken the public to a much 
fuller appreciation of the valuable work which planning boards can 
accomplish, and thus strengthen the powers of all the boards whose 
co-operation is needed to carry desirable public improvements 
through to the end." 

This is fundamentally the method employed in the Niagara 
Frontier Region, where the ideas of the planning board are first 
"sold" to the public through various forms of publicity. As a 
result public interest in and public sentiment in favor of specific 
projects are aroused, requests for their execution by duly consti- 
tuted political authorities are presented at the proper time and 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 143 

supported by the public, and finally their construction is con- 
summated. 

The special act of the Legislature which created the Niagara 
Frontier Planning Board was copied practically verbatim in a 
blanket enabling act which was passed in the same session of the 
New York State Legislature, making it permissive for any region in 
the state to follow the same method. 

The idea behind the blanket enabling act was apparently to clear 
the way for the establishment of a statewide series of co-operating 
regional planning boards with the idea of eventually accomplishing 
the tremendous scheme advocated by Governor Smith. In his 
address to the delegates attending the first New York State Con- 
ference on Regional Planning in 1924 the Governor said, "How is 
the state of the future to be planned ? Is it to be just an accidental 
growth ? Is it to grow in such a way as to serve the best interest 
of small groups ? Or is it to be planned so as to make the life of 
every man, woman and child a fuller and finer life ? The planning 
of communities and the planning of the state is probably the great- 
est undertaking we have before us. It is the making of the mould 
in which future generations will be formed. We, the people of the 
State of New York, can fix this mould. We can in great part decide 
what the physical framework of the future state will be." 

At a subsequent conference held in the Niagara Region in 
September, 1924, Mr. Clarence S. Stein, then Chairman of the New 
York State Commission on Housing and Regional Planning, em- 
phasized the need of regional co-operation. He said, "The points 
tieing communities together are not only highways, roads, canals 
these are very apparent. There are also questions of water supply, 
of the generation and use of power, of smoke, of health. There are 
one thousand and one ways in which a place is affected by neighbor- 
ing regions. It is practically impossible to plan a city without con- 
sidering the surrounding country. . . . 

"The interest of the Commission in the Niagara Region is a part 
of the broader plan of the state. It sounds big to speak of planning 
the state, but it is very apparent that we cannot plan this region 



144 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

without planning the state, without going beyond the state border. 
To start planning a region brings up border problems, problems 
of roads and zoning, and all are affected by matters outside. 

"The Commission has taken upon itself a very big problem that 
will grow with time. It has no hope of solving this problem in any- 
thing but a long time for it is planning for the physical growth of 
the state. No commission can do this thing alone. The only way 
it can be done is by starting a series of regional plans and by co- 
ordinating those plans. Work has already been started by the 
Russell Sage Foundation in the New York Region. Now, the 
Russell Sage Foundation faces the difficulty of not representing any 
political or governmental body. You can start off here with the 
advantage of really representing the people of the region. We hope 
to follow this plan in various other sections of the state, but the 
keypoint in the state should be started first. The key to Atlantic 
transportation in New York is this whole region of the Great Lakes; 
it is the key to the power of the state." 

The powers conferred on the Regional Planning Board by this 
act are so tersely and yet so adequately stated therein that it seems 
desirable to quote it practically in full: 

CHAPTER 267 

AN ACT to establish the Niagara Frontier Planning Board and to 
authorize local appropriations therefor. 

Section 1. There is hereby established "The Niagara Frontier 
Planning Board" to consist of thirteen members. The mayors of 
the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, Lockport, Niagara Falls, North 
Tonawanda and Tonawanda, three members of the board of super- 
visors of Niagara county and three members of the board of super- 
visors of Erie county shall be ex-officio members of such board. 
The three representatives from each board of supervisors shall be 
appointed annually by the chairman of the respective board of 
supervisors, subject to the approval of their respective boards. 
The thirteenth member shall be elected annually by the ex-officio 
members and shall serve until his successor is elected. He shall be 
chairman of the board. 

2. The county of Erie and the county of Niagara and all cities, 
towns and villages in such counties, may in their discretion expend 
out of the public moneys, funds to defray the expenses of the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 145 

board and to further its purposes and may raise by taxation such 
funds so expended. 

3. The members of the board shall receive no salary or com- 
pensation for their services as members of such board. 

4. (1) The board is hereby empowered to and shall study the 
needs and conditions of regional and community planning in Erie 
and Niagara counties and prepare plans adapted to meet such 
needs and conditions, and shall, through such agencies as it may 
designate, collect and distribute information relative to regional 
and community planning and zoning in Erie and Niagara counties, 
and the same is hereby declared to be a public purpose and all 
moneys expended for such purposes are declared to be for a 
municipal use. . . . 

It will be noted that the personnel of the Niagara Frontier 
Planning Board as laid down in the act is fundamentally co- 
operative, being composed of the mayors of the six cities in the 
region, together with three members of the county board of super- 
visors from Erie and three members of the county board of super- 
visors from Niagara,. Again, after their organization as a board, 
these ex-officio members co-operate in the selection of a chairman 
outside of their own number. 

In the provision as to financing the work of the board co-opera- 
tion is again called into action, since the counties of Erie and 
Niagara and all of the cities, towns and villages in such counties 
may in their discretion expend out of public moneys funds to defray 
the expenses of the board and to further its purposes. These ex- 
penditures being discretionary are in the fullest sense co-operative, 
since in the last analysis co-operation is purely voluntary. 

Not only is the board empowered to study the needs and condi- 
tions of regional and community planning in the two counties, but 
by the act it is made mandatory that the board engage in such 
studies and prepare plans adapted to meet such needs and condi- 
tions. The board, therefore, through its technical staff and through 
the co-operation of its ex-officio members who hail from various 
parts of the region, prepares detailed and assembled studies and 
plans. By the very nature of the personnel of the board these plans 



146 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

and studies, during their preparation, receive the attention and 
suggestions of duly-elected political authorities from all parts of the 
region, so that upon their tentative completion they may be said to 
represent the wishes of the majority of the legally constituted 
political executives of the region. 

The board is also empowered to appoint such agencies as it may 
designate to collect and distribute information relative to regional 
and community planning and zoning in the two counties, and these 
activities are by the act declared to be a public purpose and moneys 
expended for such purposes are declared to be for municipal use. 
Under this clause the board has officially designated, as such ad- 
visory and publicity agent, the unofficial and voluntary Niagara 
Frontier Planning Association. This association is composed of 
active representatives appointed by such of the authorities of the 
various cities, villages and townships of the region as may wish to 
do so, and of similar representatives from civic organizations, busi- 
ness men's clubs and organizations of a like nature, so that the 
association membership may well be said to consist of key-men in 
the various communities throughout the region. In order to effect 
close co-operation between the Niagara Frontier Planning Associa- 
tion and the Niagara Frontier Planning Board all of the members 
of the official planning board are ex-officio members of the direc- 
torate of the Planning Association by specific provisions in the 
Constitution and By-Laws of the latter .organization. 

The cities, towns and villages which, through their duly consti- 
tuted authorities, have voluntarily named active members to 
represent them in the association comprise approximately 95 per 
cent of the total population of the two counties, or in the neighbor- 
hood of 780,000 people. The list of political units so affiliated, 
which in the majority of instances are appropriating nominal 
amounts yearly toward the support of the association, includes all 
of the six cities, twenty-seven of the thirty-seven townships and 
fifteen of the twenty-two incorporated villages in the region. 

While such extensive co-operation frankly was unexpected at the 
time the association was organized, nevertheless, in view of the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 147 

remarkable success which has attended its efforts during the two 
years of the association's existence, it is now confidently hoped and 
fully expected that in the near future practically 100 per cent of the 
political area of the region will be so co-operating. Obviously this 
success has been achieved only by unremitting effort. Indepen- 
dently of the affiliation by the political units just referred to, local 
planning bodies, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, busi- 
ness men's clubs and public-spirited individuals to the number of 
100 or more are members of the association and actively assisting, 
not only in a financial way, but by co-operation in the formulation 
and execution of the plans of the official board. 

Whether or not the method employed in the Niagara Region to 
secure general co-operation throughout its territory would be 
feasible in every locality requires demonstration. Speaking in the 
large, however, human nature varies little in different regions, so 
that what has been achieved in one region can (with some slight 
changes in method) be accomplished equally well in another region. 

Under its powers the board, with the assistance and co-operation 
of the association, has found it necessary and advisable to give 
attention to certain "community" needs and conditions which to 
the casual observer may bear the aspects of strictly local improve- 
ments, but which in fact are integral parts of the regional study. 
In the furtherance of such matters and in the desire to advance as 
rapidly as possible the ultimate construction of these planned 
improvements the association has, in many instances, exercised its 
influence and prestige with executive authorities in the counties, 
cities, towns and villages, looking to the development of means for 
their consummation. The majority of these projects have been 
treated by tentative preliminary studies and suggestions which 
have been brought to the attention of various authorities and con- 
sidered, and which they, in turn, by the exercise of their administra- 
tive and executive powers, have brought to final construction in 
several instances. 

Naturally some information will be desirable as to the extent to 
which this plan of organization has brought about the execution of 



148 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

various portions of the physical plan, and while in the main these 
are projects of primary interest in the Niagara Region only, never- 
theless by virtue of the international interest in Niagara Falls and 
in the tremendous power development there, a brief reference to 
some of the accomplishments may be of interest. 

At the suggestion of the regional planning commission and 
through the co-operation of state and county authorities, several 
important thoroughfares have been added to the state or county 
highway map. 

The planning commission's project for the establishment of a 
state park upon the northerly end of Grand Island and a state park- 
way along the west shore of Grand Island has been adopted as part 
of its program by the New York State Council of Parks, and about 
400 acres, which will form a part of the park site, have already been 
acquired. In its consideration of the park phase of regional plan- 
ning the Niagara Frontier Planning Board has been greatly aided 
by the co-operation of the Erie County Park Commission, but has 
been handicapped by the lack of any park commission in Niagara 
County. Finally, at the request of the planning board, the super- 
visors of Niagara County established, under the laws of the state, a 
park commission. 

The board has also had its share in developing a program for the 
location of various state buildings. It introduced into the 1927 
session of the state Legislature a bill, part of which became a law, 
creating a temporary commission to make a study and report as to 
the desirability of creating a Buffalo and Niagara Frontier Port 
Authority. 

Very considerable impetus has been given to city, town and 
village planning and zoning through the efforts of the board and 
association, there being now organized in the region local planning 
and zoning bodies in five of the six cities, in five of the townships 
and in nine of the incorporated villages. With the exception of the 
Buffalo and Niagara Falls City Committees, these have been or- 
ganized as a result of the suggestions and in most instances with the 
advice of the regional planning organizations. It is hoped that 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 149 

before long every one of the governmental agencies cities, towns 
and villages in the region will have set up official planning and 
zoning bodies under the authority of state legislation, which the 
regional organizations in part have been instrumental in securing. 
The continuing function of the regional organizations will be to 
furnish opportunities and facilities for co-operation between these 
localized planning and zoning bodies and to advise them in co- 
ordinating their local plans and regulations with the plan of the 
region as a whole. 



SUPERHIGHWAYS AND REGIONAL PLANNING 

COLONEL SIDNEY D. WALDON, Chairman, Detroit Rapid Transit 
Commission 

Wherever there are concentrations of human beings there is need 
of regional planning to meet their transportation requirements. 
Growth of population increases the need. The larger the number 
that are congregated together and the more rapid the growth the 
greater will be the saving in cost and the benefit to all, through wise 
forethought continuously given to the planning of future regional 
transportation requirements. 

GROWTH OF UNITED STATES 

America is a comparatively young country. It is growing at a 
rapid rate. It has already passed through its first phase of develop- 
ment during which the majority of its people were engaged in 
agriculture, and into a new era in which industry and business 
predominate. Both industry and business require and produce 
concentrations. They are the foundation of great cities. The 
bulk of the present steady increase in population in this country is 
due to industrial and business activity and is manifest in the rapidly 
mounting census figures of our large centers. Consequently the 
need of regional planning is greatest in large and growing cities. 

Two HUNDRED AND TEN MILLIONS 

We had a total population of 105 millions in 1920. During the 
five decades prior to that date the lowest addition in any one 
decade was 11>^ millions and the highest 16 millions. The estimate 
of the Census Bureau for the present decade is 18 millions. On the 
conservative basis of an average of 15 millions per decade (or less 
than our present rate of increase) applied to the next seven decades, 
there will be another 105 millions, or the equivalent of the entire 

150 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 151 

population as of 1920, added to what we already had on that date. 
In other words, it is reasonable to expect that during the lifetime 
of many of the children of today, the number of people in this 
country will be 210 millions, or twice what it was at the last 
decennial census. 

FUTURE GROWTH IN CITIES 

The great bulk of this increase will attach itself to our cities 
large and small. While the population of the country as a whole is 
doubling, it is reasonable to expect that some of our more active 
centers of population will treble and perhaps quadruple. There 
will inevitably be much larger areas covered with industrial, busi- 
ness and residential structures. New industries and new home 
owners seeking the outlying cheaper lands tend to spread the popu- 
lation. The grouping together of facilities for business, shopping, 
recreation and amusement tend to concentrate it. These opposing 
tendencies mean that in cities with greater aggregate population 
and resultant greater area, will come greater average travel dis- 
tance. All of the people must either spend increasing time travel- 
ing the increasing distances, or else the facilities for transportation 
must be constantly improved to neutralize the handicap of greater 
average travel distance. 

INCREASING TRAVEL DISTANCE 

Thirty years ago the average factory worker walked to his place 
of employment because he could not afford to ride. He worked 
ten hours and spent another hour covering, on foot, the distance 
between home and work. Shorter hours, higher wages and low 
fares on the electric street car came together. He could now afford 
to ride and had more time to cover a greater distance without 
being any longer away from home than formerly. But he had to 
choose his home near the street car line. 

Then came still shorter hours, still higher wages and with them 
the low priced automobile to open up vast and formerly remote 
and inaccessible areas to his use. Instead of being obliged to live 



152 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

within sound of the factory whistle, he could, under favorable con- 
ditions, be as much as eighteen or twenty miles away and still have 
more of the twenty-four hours to spend with his family than he 
had originally. 

What was impossible thirty years ago has become the common- 
place today. From being tied down to a very limited area in close 
proximity to his work, his range of territory for the choice of home 
site and employment has been so enormously increased and this 
new ability so universally taken advantage of that adequate facili- 
ties for transportation, both individual and collective, have stepped 
into the very front rank of governmental necessities. The average 
travel distance of all of our people has been increased from five to 
ten times during the past 30 years. Having sensed the advantages 
accruing from this enlarged radius of action, the public will never 
return to the old conditions but demands a continuing program of 
improvement that will ensure continuing and increasing benefits. 
The one and a quarter billions spent last year upon the nation's 
highway program is only one form of recognition of the new order. 

PROBLEMS REGIONAL, NOT LOCAL 

This new mobility of the people has shown conclusively that no 
section can consider its transportation situation and problems as 
wholly belonging to itself and capable of proper solution without 
regard for or relation to those of its neighbors. This new mobility 
overruns all political boundaries and makes the transportation 
problem a regional one. The formerly isolated village or town is 
now burdened with the traffic of the neighboring great city and 
shares with that city the responsibility for providing adequate 
travel ways. Properly co-ordinated regional planning must take 
precedence over and guide the development of included villages, 
towns and cities if all are to obtain the greatest benefit. 

INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE TRANSPORTATION 
From a regional planning standpoint transportation may be 
considered as either individual or collective. Individual means 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 153 

the privately owned automobile, while collective represents the 
motorbus, street car and rapid transit train. Transportation, in 
proportion to its relative speed and capacity, builds up the terri- 
tory that it serves. Other things being equal the territory that has 
the most improved facilities for fast mass transportation will 
develop most rapidly. It becomes a favored location. The pur- 
pose of regional planning is to give equal service to all sections and 
not to favor one at the expense of others. 

Collective transportation follows fixed routes and its influence is 
confined to zones that parallel those routes. These zones vary in 
width depending upon the excellence or otherwise of the service 
given. 

Individual transportation pioneers and fills in the gaps. It 
follows no fixed route but gives service at the will of the owner, to 
areas not reached by any other form of public conveyance and 
helps to build them up to the point where collective transportation 
is justified. The automobile is also used in areas where collective 
transportation exists, generally as a means of saving time over the 
motorbus or street car and also as a matter of personal convenience. 

While the motorcar reigns supreme in the open country and has 
literally worked miracles in the development of formerly inaccessi- 
ble areas, its extravagant use of street space per passenger carried 
produces such congestion in the centers of large cities as to not 
only lessen its own usefulness but, what is far more important, to 
seriously depreciate the service of the large passenger capacity 
street car and motorbus. 

SEVENTY MILLION AUTOMOBILES 

We have one automobile to each five persons in this country 
today and we will probably have not less than one to each three 
persons when our population is 210 millions. There will conse- 
quently be at least 70 million motor vehicles in this country where 
we are now congested with only 22 millions. There is not street 
space enough now in any of our large cities to permit every one to 
use his own motorcar for all his own and his family's transportation 
ii 



154 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

needs. It is certain that the space available will be hopelessly in- 
adequate when the nation's population is doubled and that of our 
more actively growing cities is trebled and quadrupled. Certain 
reasonable standards of street and highway width must be estab- 
lished and the steadily increasing traffic streams of humanity must 
be made to use thoroughfares of those widths in the manner that is 
most efficient and beneficial to the community as a whole. 

THREE-HUNDRED-AND-TEN-FOOT STREET 

In general terms a pedestrian occupies ten square feet of side- 
walk. The average passenger upon street car or motorbus occupies 
about the same area of roadway. Consequently if all persons 
either walk or use street car or motor bus then the capacity of a 
20-foot sidewalk will balance twenty feet of roadway space. The 
average automobile passenger, however, uses 135 square feet of 
street space, or 13>4 times as much area as either pedestrian, street 
car or motorbus user. 

Assuming that every one used motor cars then to balance the full 
pedestrian capacity of two 20-foot sidewalks with an equal street 
capacity in automobiles would require 270 feet of travel way. 
With the addition of two 8-foot parking lanes and the two 20-foot 
sidewalks, this would represent a total right of way width of 
326 feet. Of course this is uneconomic and impracticable in cities. 
The crystallized conditions in our business centers prevent its 
accomplishment even if it were desirable. 

Where there is as yet no rapid transit to offer a superior service, 
growth of automobile traffic has steadily interfered more and more 
with the free running of street cars. This in turn has forced more 
individuals to adopt the motor car to save time, adding to the con- 
gestion and still further slowing down our collective transportation 
mediums. Stop and Go regulation has had to be introduced to 
determine priority of movement at intersections and this still 
further reduces average speeds. The cumulative effect of this 
situation will be apparent from the following figures. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 155 

RIDING HABIT 

In 1916 the street car riding habit in Detroit was 349 rides per 
person per year. Adding the motorbus figures for 1925 to those of 
the street railway lines, and the riding habit is found to be 289 
rides per person. In other words, since the automobile really came 
into its own the street car and motorbus riding habit of our total 
population has been going steadily downward. This condition is 
not by any means confined to Detroit. For instance, between the 
years 1920 and 1924 the street car riding habit in the seven cities 
listed below decreased as follows : 



Cincinnati 


1920 
238 t 


1924 
o201 

248 
290 
184 
231 
284 
269 


Rides Lost 
37 
41 
43 
45 
60 
82 
92 


Kansas City 


289 


Baltimore 


333 


Toledo 


229 


Columbus 


291 


Minneapolis-St. Paul 


366 


Cleveland.. 


. 361 



These decreases are attributed almost entirely to the inroad of 
the private passenger automobile, which is being used by the 
individual to provide his own rapid transit on rubber tires. 

RIDING HABIT DECREASING IN DETROIT 

In order to comprehend what this change actually means, as- 
sume that Detroit's population is 1,500,000. The difference be- 
tween 349 and 289, or 60, is the loss in riding habit of this popula- 
tion due to the private automobile. Sixty times 1,500,000 equals 
90,000,000, which is the approximate number of passengers that are 
being lost this year by Detroit's collective transportation systems, 
namely, street car and motorbus, and being carried by the privately 
owned automobile to the disadvantage of collective transportation 
in reduced revenue and reduced speed. 

RIDING HABIT INCREASING IN NEW YORK 

During the same period of time the riding habit in New York 
increased from 346 to 498, or a difference of 152 rides per person. 
Assuming a total population of 5^2 millions, this means that New 



156 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

York has reached an annual gain of 836 million rides where Detroit 
has sustained an annual loss of 90 millions. The lesson to be 
drawn from this comparison is that in Detroit more and more of 
the public are forsaking the street car and motorbus because they 
can make better time by means of the private automobile, while 
in New York they leave the automobile at home because they can 
make faster time by means of rapid transit trains. 

STREET CAPACITIES 

The American Electric Railway Association in their report of 
October 8, 1926, published figures representing the working capacity 
of privately owned motor vehicles, street cars and rapid transit 
trains operating in one direction in a street 100 feet in width. They 
did not include in that report any comparable figure for the motor- 
bus. In answer to an inquiry they gave the maximum recorded 
performance of buses on Fifth Avenue, New York. This maximum 
performance for the motorbus with the working capacity for the 
other mediums makes a table as follows: 

MAXIMUM CAPACITY 100-Fr. STREET 

Automobiles, Motorbuses, Street Cars, Subways 

Total passengers carried in one-half of the street in one direction only 

in one hour 

Number of 
Vehicles Passengers 

Automobiles only, one direction only 4,100 

Motorbuses, Fifth Avenue, one direction only 7,305 

Two-track street cars, one lane, one direction only 13,500 

Two-track subways, one track, one direction only 60,000 

Four-track rapid transit, two tracks, one direction only 

100,000 to 120,000 

The above figures indicate that motorbuses as used on Fifth 
Avenue in New York can carry almost twice as many passengers 
as if the street was used exclusively by motorcars. It shows that 
street cars can carry 3>^ times as many passengers; that a single 
track of local rapid transit can carry 14> times, while one local 
and one express rapid transit track can handle from 24 to 30 times 
as many passengers. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 157 

TRANSPORTATION TIME Loss VERSUS TIME GAIN 

All of these figures are based upon the total capacity in passengers 
carried and do not indicate the relative speeds at which the pas- 
senger movement is made. Pedestrians, motorcars, buses, street 
cars and other vehicles all compete with each other for space upon 
the surface. The greatest interference and slowest speeds occur 
during the peak hours when there is the largest number to be served. 
The loss in time is consequently at the maximum because it must be 
multiplied by the maximum number of individuals suffering that loss. 

The two examples of rapid transit capacity given above are not 
affected by the congestion that may exist upon the surface of the 
streets under which the electric trains are operated. Thus they 
not only have greater capacity but, running at a higher speed, 
produce a gain in time saved which in its turn must be multiplied 
by the total number of passengers carried in order to determine the 
overall benefit. 

There finally comes a time when the public loss occasioned by an 
exclusively surface system of transportation becomes greater than 
the carrying charges upon the more expensive rapid transit system. 
This overall difference between the loss in time on the one hand 
and the saving in time on the other is the fundamental reason why 
great cities having adequate rapid transit service also have an in- 
creasing riding habit, while cities that have only street car and 
motorbus on the surface have a decreasing riding habit. Each 
reflects the public's reaction to the kind of collective transportation 
that is provided for it. 

Rapid transit, through superior service, actually creates a new 
traffic of its own. In effect it turns the loss suffered by surface 
transportation into a gain for itself. Having recaptured the long 
distance travel it proceeds to build up a new short haul business 
for its partners the street car and motorbus. 

AUTOS 92 PERCENT OF PEAK HOUR VEHICLES 
Figures for Detroit's peak hour traffic (1925) show that motor- 
cars (individual transportation) represent 92% of the vehicles 



158 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

moving but carry only one-third as many passengers as the remain- 
ing 7.8% representing the collective transportation units. Double 
the population and the traffic to be handled but leave the street of 
the same width, and the nature of the problem is manifest. 

SATURATION OF STREET SPACES 

We are far from the saturation point in the ownership and use 
of the motor car in this country as a whole, but we have already 
passed the saturation point of surface traffic ways of the business 
and shopping centers of our great cities. More and more of the 
people must be brought to use collective transportation, namely, 
the street car, motor bus and rapid transit, through our solidly 
built up areas. Something has to change and it seems equitable 
that the special privilege of the individual motorist to park his 
vehicle and to use it at will in the centers of greatest population 
and traffic density, must gradually give way before the absolute 
necessity of giving service to the mass that will use collective trans- 
portation. This cannot be accomplished simply by argument or 
ordinance. It must be brought about through so improving the 
service of collective transportation that it will be to the interest of 
more and more people to use it. 

THREE ZONES 

Taking Detroit as an illustration we find the metropolitan area 
embraced, within approximately a 15-mile circle drawn about the 
City Hall and covering almost 400 square miles. This region may 
be divided into three more or less distinct parts as follows: 

(1) A central business district covering about 2 square miles in 
which development is of the most expensive type and in which 
conditions are so crystallized that they are not readily susceptible 
of change. 

(2) An intermediate zone extending roughly to the 5-mile circle 
(embracing 42 square miles) that is almost solidly covered with 
buildings, but representing on the average only the first stage of 
building development. Within or touching this intermediate zone 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 159 

are practically all of the great industries of our city. The street 
system is still susceptible of revision within a reasonable period 
and at a reasonable cost. 

(3) An outer area between the 5- and the 15-mile circles (351 
square miles) having a few scattered municipalities and with a 
great deal of undeveloped land, the street system of which is sus- 
ceptible of change at relatively low cost. 

The accompanying illustration (Fig. 1) presents a graphic picture 
of the above. The outer area is eight times greater than the other 
two put together. The former has less than one-half the popula- 
tion, the relation being approximately 485,000 to 1,085,000. 

AREAS OF ACCESSIBILITY 

There are three areas of accessibility when measured by a total 
travel time of 45 minutes including a short walk at each end of 
the route: 

Street cars and buses 5 miles 

Local service rapid transit 10 

Express service rapid transit 15 

FACTORY AND WHITE COLLAR WORKERS 

If the sole purpose of every one within the intermediate zone 
was to reach the business center, then our transportation problem 
would be much simpler than it is. But we have almost five times 
as many factory workers employed in plants that are scattered 
across the intermediate zone and into the edge of the outer area, 
as we have white collar workers in the central district. These 
industrial workers are interested in many different and widely 
separated objectives, and the fact that 17 of Detroit's 26 street 
car lines pass through the business center is a distinct loss to the 
majority who would not go there at all if more direct routes to 
work were available. Many of them have to travel ten or more 
miles from one side of the city to the other and not only are delayed 
by the extra mileage down into and through the business center, 
but by their presence where they don't belong and don't want to 
be they seriously interfere with the normal traffic of that area. 



160 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Superimposing the transfer load of factory employees on top of 
the rush hour burden legitimate to the business district creates an 
unnecessary congestion. This result is largely the cumulative 
result of many years of city development with no planning au- 
thority to guide regional growth. Our radial arteries focus their 
traffic loads upon the center while there is not a single continuous 
crosstown thoroughfare to relieve these radials and the center, 
through providing the more direct routes so urgently needed. Only 
in recent years has there been a serious attempt made to get at the 
root of the evil and to correct some of the most haphazard and 
misfit sections of checkerboard street system by the selection and 
widening of certain potential travelways to standards adopted in 
conjunction with a Master Plan. The accompanying map illus- 
trates one of the legacies from a plan-less period of the past. 

THIRTY MILES ACROSS THE CITY 

The Detroit city limits already extend almost to the 15-mile 
circle in one direction. The greatest distance from city limits to 
city limits at present is 19 miles. Within a few years it is reason- 
able to expect that it will be 25 to 30 miles from the easterly to the 
westerly borders. Such distances coupled with the almost two 
million population in the metropolitan area, and with the scattered 
location of our great industries and of the business center, spells 
the present need of rapid transit beginning with two-track lines 
serving the intermediate zone, to be later followed with four tracks 
as the system is extended into the outer area. If we determine 
that four tracks of rapid transit is a reasonable requirement in the 
further development of our own and other large cities, and can 
establish a standard of street width adequate to receive it, then we 
will have one of the basic standards necessary to the central area 
of our Master Plan. 

ONE-HUNDRED-AND-TWENTY-FOOT STREET 

Assuming underground construction in the solidly built-up sec- 
tions, then 120 feet will permit the placing of the four rapid transit 



FOREST 



HIGH 




FOREST 



BREAK IN CONTINUITY OR WIDTH OF STREET 



TYPICAL INSTANCE OF 
UNREGULATED STREET PLANNING 

SHOWING HOW WIDE AVENUES OF CASS FARM ADDITION 
WERE RENDERED VALUELESS BY FAILURE OF ADJACENT SUBDIVISIONS 
TO CONFORM TO STREET LINES AND WIDTHS ESTABLISHED 

RAPID TRANSIT COMMtSSION UETROIT MICH. 
OCT 1924 



Fig. 2. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 161 

tracks side by side together with main sewers and other sub-surface 
utilities without touching the foundations of adjacent buildings. 
This is highly desirable, for underpinning benefits no one but is like 
pouring money down a rat hole. The same cost applied to street 
widening, however, is a permanent asset and continues to pay 
dividends in sunlight and air and increased street capacity through- 
out all time. 

One hundred and twenty feet also makes possible upon the sur- 
face two 20-foot sidewalks and 80 feet of roadway, or two 15-foot 
sidewalks and 90 feet of pavement. The latter spacing allows two 
street cars in the center and on each side three lanes of moving and 
one of parked vehicles, which is practically the safe limit for a 
single width pavement. Rights of way in excess of 120 feet should 
have center islands for the segregation of opposing streams of 
traffic, thus providing necessary safety zones for pedestrians to 
use while crossing, as well as facilitating turns around without 
clogging intersections and also providing other aids to traffic 
handling. 

BASIC STANDARD 

One hundred and twenty feet was consequently adopted as the 
basic standard for all of those routes within the city that by reason 
of strategical location and relation to each other were selected as 
being of major importance and made part of the Master Plan. It 
represents the reasonable requirements of the fully developed and 
most highly concentrated mass traffic movement below the sur- 
face. Such facilities will only be constructed in great cities, both 
because of their cost and because of the large population necessary 
to justify that cost. But the necessary width must be established 
long before such intensive use is required. In many places it must 
be adopted without thought of its ultimate use for rapid transit 
purposes. To be acquired at the least cost to the community it 
must be obtained before any development takes place at all, and 
of course this necessitates the creation of a competent regional 
authority and of a Master Plan. 



162 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FEET MORE NECESSARY IN OUTER 

AREAS 

If thoroughfares of this width (120 feet) are required through 
the centers of great concentration in order to provide adequate 
space for the most highly concentrated and efficient form of high 
speed collective transportation, how much more necessary it is in 
the outer area and in remote villages and towns where the much 
more extravagant space-using automobile has its legitimate sphere 
and is so universally used. 

What was open country a few years ago is today the site of a 
factory equipped to employ one hundred thousand men. This 
may happen again anywhere within the outer area. It is impossible 
to foretell what the future may hold in store for any particular 
section. The plan should aim to provide equal facilities to all 
sections. And so in our Master Plan we made every section line 
road 120 feet except where it has been selected for superhighway 
width. 

If we assume that during the next seventy years Detroit will 
continue to grow at the composite rate of New York, Chicago and 
Philadelphia after they passed the million mark, then it will reach 
a population of five millions within the next seven decades. Such 
a development will require rapid transit lines giving service uni- 
formly over the whole 400 square miles within the 15-mile circle. 
It would be uneconomical to build all of them underground if a 
cheaper form could be made available. The least costly method 
would be to lay the rails upon the surface of the ground within a 
private right of way just the same as steam railroads do. 

SUPERHIGHWAYS 

Through built-up areas this necessitates grade separations but 
even with this expense at each half mile station, the saving over 
subway costs, at present prices, would be nearly 2> millions per 
mile of two-track line. This in itself justifies an unusual effort 
upon our part to obtain these surface rapid transit reservations 
now. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 163 

This conclusion led to the design of the superhighway which is 
made up of the elements of the 120-foot street only arranged in a 
different manner. If we regard it as a two-level thoroughfare with 
the four rapid transit tracks underground and 120 feet of street 
space above, then we may better understand the superhighway 
as a single level main artery in which the four rapid transit tracks 
are to be placed in a central reservation of 84 feet, while the 120 
feet of street space is to be split into two parts and 60 feet placed on 
each side. Sixty plus 84 plus 60 equals 204 feet, which is the 
standard adopted for all of our superhighways. If we are ever 
blamed by future generations for this part of our work it will be 
for not having adopted more generous standards. Already we can 
see the superhighway as saturated with motor vehicle traffic in 
the outer area as is the 120-foot street at the center. 

Grade separations made necessary for rapid transit purposes at 
half-mile intervals also make it possible (and very much less 
expensive than if done solely for motor vehicles only) to carry the 
through vehicular traffic over the intersecting street at the same 
level as the rapid transit facility. 

Vehicular traffic upon one side of the superhighway desiring to 
get to the other side would use the grade separations, while subway 
passages for pedestrians to cross would be provided at as frequent 
intervals as the requirements of the territory demanded. 

It will be apparent from study of this form of developing the 
superhighway that no vehicle or pedestrian would ever have occa- 
sion to cross the express roadway. With through traffic carried 
over all grade separations at rapid transit stations along a ten or 
fifteen mile route, then it would be possible to give a rubber-tired 
transportation facility not now available anywhere in the world. 
Vehicles using it would travel continuously at whatever maximum 
speed was allowed by law. They would swing into the express 
roadway between intersecting streets, and they would swing out 
just before reaching their destination or point of departure from 
the route. The operation of the express roadway may be likened 
to that of a circular saw which cuts continuously so long as any 



164 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

material is fed to it. A stop and go street, on the other hand, is 
like a hand saw which cuts less than half the time. The express 
roadway will give a new and unique transportation facility. 

SUPERHIGHWAY INTERSECTIONS 

Wherever two superhighways, fully developed in accordance 
with the rapid transit plan, cross each other, the tracks and ex- 
press roadways of one would be carried above, and of the other 
below the former street level. The local roadways from both super- 
highways would meet at the intersection at normal grade. The 
rapid transit station would be in the center of the intersection. 
Transfer from upper to lower transit lines would be through this 
central station. 

Passengers taking or leaving the transit lines would not come in 
contact with express motor vehicle traffic in either direction because 
that would be segregated and traveling above or below the inter- 
section upon its own exclusive right of way, and at the maximum 
speed provided by law. Transit passengers would only have to 
consider the purely local vehicular traffic having legitimate business 
at that particular intersection. 

OTHER USES OF SUPERHIGHWAYS 

While designed primarily as a combination rapid transit and 
surface vehicle route, it is not necessarily confined to this develop- 
ment. Woodward Avenue, when completed as at present planned, 
will consist of two 45-foot concrete roadways 13.2 miles long, with 
two interurban tracks in the central park strip. Woodward Avenue 
will be finished complete as a State project 13.2 miles long. 

Michigan Avenue Superhighway will likewise have two inter- 
urban tracks in the center, but is utilizing the old 18-foot roadway 
for one-way traffic on one side, and a new 27-foot concrete roadway 
on the other side. The new surface has been laid in its correct 
relation to sidewalk and property lines, and so that further addi- 
tions in width will be made toward the center. When the old 18- 
foot pavement is replaced the new surface will be brought to grade 




SUPER-HIGHWAYS 

AND MAJOR THOROUGHFARES 

IN VICINITY OF 'DETROIT 

RAPID TRANSIT COMMISSION 
DETROIT NOV-II-IO25 

? i T-^r . ? * 

JOHN P. HALUHAN tNGtNEEB IN CHARGE 

REVISED TO NOV l25 
REVISED TO MAR i26 
REVISED TO JULY IZ6 



Fig. 4. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 165 

and alignment, as traffic needs demand. Six miles from Dearborn 
to Wayne are in daily use. 

Stephenson Superhighway has two car tracks in the center, 
and will begin its life with one-way, 20-foot concrete strips on each 
side, commencing at the curb, and with future additions working 
toward the center. 

Southfield Superhighway has no tracks at present, or contem- 
plated, but will in all probability develop through its earlier stages 
as a bus route. At the moment it consists of a comparatively new, 
20-foot concrete road, with the 204-foot right of way divided 
equally on each side. This may develop into a three-strip roadway, 
or follow the standard design. 

If another great industry like the Ford Rouge plant springs up 
within the plan of superhighway routes and adjacent to one of 
them, then it is reasonable to expect that the central reservation 
would be occupied by trains capable of carrying the maximum 
number of passengers per foot of right of way space used. If, 
however, some other section develops exclusively as a residential 
area without enough density of population to justify train-operated 
rapid transit, but with a very large number of space-using motor 
vehicles per capita, then it is reasonable to expect that the super- 
highway right of way would be developed with a view to providing 
roadway space adequate for more vehicular traffic, and with more 
than the ordinary regard for tree planting, shrubbery and other 
landscape settings so desirable in residential areas. 

In other words, the undeniable fact that Detroit is going to grow 
in area, population, industrial concentrations and in motor vehicle 
ownership points to the inevitable requirement for wide rights of 
way of the superhighway type, regardless of how the space con- 
tained in them may be developed and used. 

GET RIGHT OF WAY Now 

The actual improvement of these rights of way, while important 
enough, is not so vital to Detroit and the metropolitan area at this 
moment as is the acquisition of the land itself. What can be 
obtained now largely through the existence of the Plan and the 



REGIONAL HIGHWAYS 

HENRY AMES BARKER, Chairman, Plan Commission, Providence, R. I. 

Regional highways, I take it, are those major thoroughfares that 
form the basic plan and skeleton of the Metropolitan District, out 
of which they are generally prolonged, more or less fan-wise or like 
wheel spokes, by the ancient turnpikes and postroads, and these, 
by the conversion of the American people into a race of motor 
travellers, are rapidly regaining, or adding to, their pristine glory. 
Until the advent of the auto, all the neighbors had forgotten that 
Main Street of Babbittville was originally started for just the pur- 
pose that is now so prominent again. Generally it leads beyond 
the town to somewhat distant places to which people originally 
were obliged to travel, by horseback or stagecoach, before railroads 
put the turnpikes out of business except as local roads from village 
to village or from the farm to the crossroads store. 

Long before that, the earlier citizens who lived in wigwams and 
travelled single file, had established many such routes along ways 
of least resistance. The trails led to the crossings of the river or 
from the head of the cove up the valleys by the easiest grades. 
Unfortunately for modern convenience, the dusky engineers were 
not accustomed to march in company front, or to provide for fleets 
of speeding autos. 

"Transportation is Civilization" I think that it was Mr. 
Carlisle who made that remark; and the late Mr. Nelson P. Lewis, 
who like other modern experts, considered circulation the basic 
element in city planning, put "interurban transportation" first in 
his list of civic requirements. Just now, this interurban traffic 
originating in distant cities or other states, immensely complicates 
all the local difficulties of every town in America. 

City Planning was once described by Mr. Lewis as the "exercise 
of such foresight as will promote the orderly and sightly develop- 

167 



168 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

ment of a city and its environs along rational lines," but I submit 
that no foresight or rational endeavor can violate in any great de- 
gree the principles adopted by our dusky predecessors in the estab- 
lishment of their main highways of communication. Even in the 
newer states of flat prairies and right angled land boundaries, where 
towns have been created with more definite intent, the engineers 
have almost always been a bit too late to provide an absolutely 
perfect checker board. 

Thus happily, most cities of America appear to have been either 
superimposed upon or fitted into some original skeleton of main 
streets, radiating from somewhere near a common center, just as in 
the foreign towns they radiated from the various city gates, but 
unfortunately the American towns never had any city walls or 
moats that could be converted into rings of useful boulevards to 
surround their present congested central areas. 

THE TRANSFORMATION OF MAPLE AVENUE 

In the early nineties, with the popularity of the bicycle, there 
started a great inter-urbanizing process. Soon the enterprising 
electric cars pushed far out and expanded the suburbs. The advent 
of the all-conquering auto, which nearly banished the bicycle and 
later demoralized the franchise values of the trolley corporations, 
completed the conversion of the American nation into a race of 
nomads. 

This was the beginning of the end for any residential comfort on 
such of the streets as fitted into the scheme of " Blue Book Routes " 
or city entrances, and devastation immediately attacked the fine 
old "Show Streets" like West Main and Maple Avenue, not to 
mention Woodward and Euclid. 

Even the "Country Districts," as we used to call them, have 
ceased to be refreshingly rural in the more populous states. As the 
old turnpike resumes its ancient prominence and is duly banded as 
"National Highway No. 23", the landscape becomes bordered by 
wayside shacks, suggestive of Donnybrook Fair. 

We have clipped the curves, blasted the hills and bridged the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 169 

valleys to produce speedways such as the world never saw before, 
but beauty, individuality, picturesqueness, and charm have too 
little part in their making. Perhaps for most of us it doesn't matter 
if the route is as unromantic as a motorcycle track, for we annihil- 
ate distance in perfect luxury and go whizzing by so rapidly in our 
carefully closed cars that we have little chance to be either bored or 
annoyed by the landscape. But on many of the roads we can no 
longer go whizzing at all on the particular days we are most likely 
to want to. On week-ends and holidays, we simply take our place 
in an endless line that crawls monotonously along, and hawklike 
watch out every moment for any halt in the procession, lest we 
become the center of a grand telescopic crash. 

RAPID TRANSIT VERSUS NATURAL BEAUTY 
If automobiling is to retain its supremacy as a real recreation, 
the dismal quality of sordid barrenness that has come to so many 
of our state highways must be relieved by more generous regard 
for the aspect of things. Considered commercially, even if we can 
think only in terms of immediate dollars, beauty and charm are 
assets of enormous value, and the tourist industry is one well worth 
fostering. Desecration of the pleasant scenes, the historic land- 
marks, the fine old tree-lined avenues, merely for the purpose of 
making a speedway, defeats in great measure the very purposes of 
the enterprise. 

Undoubtedly, the shabbiest transformations have been taking 
place in the country towns, and very likely zoning has become 
almost as necessary in the rural places as in the urban ones. Surely 
there is no valid reason for the disfigurement or destruction of old 
residential districts merely for the accommodation of those who are 
engaged in rapid transit, and recognize no obligation or pay any 
penalty to others whose property and comfort is thus despoiled. A 
railroad may be quite as important for public service as the State 
Highway can be, but railroads are no longer allowed to do such 
ruthless things as our State Highway Boards often undertake in 
the name of "improvement." 

12 



170 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

No moral right or business intelligence can justify the destruc- 
tion of famous avenues, upon the beauty of which the especial 
values of extensive neighborhoods often depend, merely to make 
wider roadbeds for interstate traffic. If need for such relief exists, 
as it usually does, why not lay out a new parallel route through some 
territory that may be helped by it? 

VALLEY PARKWAYS AND REGIONAL HIGHWAYS 

If we are looking for new regional routes, there are many alluring 
possibilities almost everywhere in the undeveloped or badly devel- 
oped stream valleys. The railroads long ago discovered that the 
easiest grades led through the stream valleys, and along the water- 
fronts. They provided scientifically for long distance transporta- 
tion, and direct entrances to towns, just as we should do with our 
regional highways. 

But we scorn the possibilities of the watersides, whether they be 
brook banks, river edges, bay shores or lake fronts. We don't 
like to exhibit them. Our towns turn their backs upon them. In 
this lamentable peculiarity, we find perhaps the most striking of 
the many conspicuous differences between the average American 
and the average foreign town. With us a river edge is seldom re- 
spected except for its shipping value or its possible water power, 
though striking exceptions may of course be cited, like the Boston 
Charlesbank; the river front of Harrisburg; the splendid Lake 
Shore of Chicago; and the new embankment drive at Bridgeport. 

The very features that retard building operations present especial 
values in other ways, for these are the places of scenes that are 
fairest, and where foliage and trees are most opulent; where 
pleasant drives may be built with least hindrance into the heart of 
the community, and where parks and playgrounds may be most 
attractively provided, with slightest loss to other productive uses 
or taxable land valuations. 

Thus we may find most favorable opportunities for miles of 
regional highways adapted for freedom of movement; avoiding 
high land values and costly buildings; comparatively free from 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 171 

cross traffic of intersecting streets, and sometimes leading into, and 
sometimes around, the districts of greater congestion. As a famous 
example, hundreds of cities may study with much profit the story 
of the Boston Fenway, which now brings distinction and prodigious 
values to all the neighborhoods through which it passes, instead of 
the blighting influence that formerly radiated from the malodorous 
and shabby valley of "Muddy Brook." Let us consider, also, the 
more recent transformation of the Bronx River Valley. 

The principle of the bordering boulevard may also be observed in 
the platting of a table land, beyond the edge of the bluffs, or along 
a bay shore or harbor edge. We enjoy the outlook and we require 
a convenient outlet for the cross streets to save them from ignomin- 
ious termination at the jumping-off place. For a residential dis- 
trict that overlooks a waterfront, any possible separation of grades 
that permits a "buffer highway" is a great good fortune. Some- 
times we can provide for Prospect Avenue on the top, and Com- 
mercial Street at the bottom, with an open hillside between, as at 
the "Hoe" Promenade in Plymouth, England. Along the busiest 
of harbor edges, as at Marseilles or Algiers, we may generally have 
a two-level street or a double decked one; the lower level provid- 
ing for the commercial activities of trucking and cargo handling and 
rail connection with the near-by ships, and the upper deck or 
boulevard furnishing more unobstructed way for lighter travel. 
Like a city wall, it acts as a buffer and defense for the residential 
or retail business district that is on the other side. It invites 
promenade above the interesting scenes of harbor activity and 
facilitates movement through the city. In most European towns, 
the boulevards along the water fronts are among the finest that 
they possess. 

URBAN THOROUGHFARES 

The most serious difficulty about the old arterial streets is gen- 
erally that they have become pitifully inadequate for their modern 
burden, of which local traffic is sometimes but a minor part. And 
usually, being the oldest established ways, their property values 
and leasehold complications have become more formidable than 



172 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

elsewhere in the territory. At times it may be more feasible to pro- 
vide a wholly new thoroughfare, through backyards or cheaper dis- 
tricts, thereby adding an avenue of one hundred percent gain in 
efficiency, instead of merely a gain of possibly fifty percent to the 
usefulness of the old one, and creating new values for undeveloped 
land, while relieving concentration in over-congested areas. 

If the old thoroughfares must be widened, how shall this be 
accomplished without an orgy of destruction of all the qualities for 
which they have been beloved ? How, for instance, can the trees on 
Maple Avenue be saved? In many cases the method extensively 
adopted in Liverpool may well be copied. The road or street is 
preserved practically as it is but upon its least valuable side, an 
additional roadway is provided, making a boulevard of the whole 
and giving chance for right and left hand driveways. Or perhaps 
our purpose may be accomplished by the method used on Elmwood 
Avenue in Providence back in the early nineties, when the street car 
tracks were moved to the places where the sidewalks had been and 
new sidewalk spaces were taken from the bordering lots. Most of 
the buildings, being detached residences, could be readily moved 
back upon their own lots when necessary. The result was that 
though the roadway is no wider than before, the removal of the cars 
from the very narrow street has quickened and accommodated 
other traffic, so that now, though more than thirty years have 
passed and Elmwood Avenue has changed from its character as a 
local residential avenue, to more degraded prominence as a part of 
"National Highway No. 1 ", traffic conditions are even now not as 
bad as they seemed when the work was proposed. 

Comparison may be of value between Elmwood Avenue and its 
parallel neighbor, Broad Street, which leads to the same places and 
is of almost exactly corresponding widths at different parts of its 
course, i. e., from sixty-six to eighty feet. Broad Street is laid out 
upon the conventional plan, but motorists who are going very far 
almost always choose Elmwood Avenue. The Elmwood Avenue 
trolley cars make better time, and simultaneous traffic counts show 
Elmwood Avenue as carrying 8,099 vehicles other than street cars, 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 173 

and Broad Street 6,783, for "typical" ten hour periods of ordinary 
days. As for relative safety, the records of the Providence Safety 
Council show that during three years, on corresponding stretches 
over two miles long, Elmwood Avenue had but 52.7 percent as 
many accidents as Broad Street (107 to 203) and the accidents to 
pedestrians were only 43.3 percent as numerous (68 to 150). 

THE SUPERHIGHWAY PLAN 

We are now approaching a new era of the major highway and the 
super-street. The time has come for more heroic methods than any 
we have known in the past. Beauty is to be combined with utility. 
The waste of time and human effort, by indirect travel and by 
traffic delay in the inadequate streets of a big city, has been cal- 
culated for a day, and multiplied by 365, and that again multiplied 
by the years of a lifetime, and then by the numbers of human life- 
times in the future years of the city. The result is so appalling that 
the expenditure of a few millions or tens of millions seems trivial by 
comparison. And so we have bold conceptions and complete new 
patterns of great streets with four separate traffic ways and parkway 
spaces between them, and grade separation at all the important 
crossings. Colonel Waldon has described in detail the ones devised for 
Detroit where our swarms of autos are annually hatched, and they 
are very similar to the ones that Mr. Robert Whitten proposes to 
spread all over the map of Providence. By his comprehensive 
"Thorofare Plan," about 22 miles of such great Major Highways, 
besides various others of secondary magnitude, are to be within the 
city boundaries. Outside of that unusually restricted area, proposed 
Metropolitan projects are planned to extend for about 30 miles 
more. The very suggestion might seem chimerical in such a staid 
old country as New England is sometimes supposed to be, but the 
project, so far as Providence itself is concerned, has already been 
accepted by the City Council, the State Legislature and the people 
in general, with scarcely a dissenting voice. 

His belt-line thoroughfares, most of which are classed among the 
"Metropolitan Projects," curving as parkways through river 



174 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

valleys or along the waterfronts, "by-pass*' the more congested 
districts. They connect all of the main routes radiating from the 
Civic Centre at the head of Narragansett Bay toward all the points 
of the southern New England compass, and incidentally, they join 
all of the scattered Metropolitan Parks so that these become at last 
parts of a real "System." A serious attempt has been made to 
estimate the annual saving of effort and delay that such highways 
would provide, in terms of dollars, and this, at the appraised value 
of a man and a vehicle of 3.5 cents per minute, amounts to over 
$12,000,000 for the city projects and $2,000,000 more, for the 
Metropolitan ones; a pretty fair rate of interest in itself alone, 
upon sixty millions or so that the work will cost. 

So much for present values. It is for the future city that projects 
like this are most vital, for a city is presumably the most perma- 
nent, and perhaps important, of man-made institutions. Its plan 
or lack of plan affects not only a few hundred thousand individuals 
for a generation or two, but it concerns almost every detail of the 
daily lives of hundreds of thousands; perhaps hundreds of mil- 
lions, through untold generations. 

These highway enterprises, and the various other projects nec- 
essary to a complete city plan may be arranged as items in a pro- 
gressive improvement programme, undertaken in what may appear 
to be their relative "order of urgency," and with such rapidity as 
the financial conditions will allow. But at any rate, we hope to 
have the entire list pretty well completed as a fitting celebration of 
the City's 300th birthday in 1936. 



REGIONAL HIGHWAYS AND PARKWAYS IN 
RELATION TO REGIONAL PARKS 

THOMAS ADAMS, General Director, Regional Plan of New York 
and Its Environs 

I once had an answer given to me on an examination paper on 
the subject of zoning which was to this effect, that the best solution 
of the problem of city congestion was to reduce the height, bulk and 
area of the people. I have got to reduce the height, bulk and area 
of my address, and will endeavor to get through the points as well 
as I can in the space allotted, but I hope you will permit me to 
generalize where I might otherwise go into particulars and to illus- 
trate what I have to say with some reference to the situation that 
confronts us in New York. 

From what was said about New York last night, it would appear 
that it is the only city on this continent that has skyscrapers. It 
was quoted as a vile example of overcrowding and high buildings. 
It is true that New York has high buildings, but it does not have 
more of them in proportion to population than smaller cities in the 
country. New York is peculiar in size and in the degree of central 
concentration. In character its problems are the same as those of 
other cities, except to the extent that they are influenced by two 
unique conditions first, its unequalled population, and second, 
the peculiarly difficult topography of its site. If the attractions of 
New York continue to increase the population and industries, any 
plan of New York must be based on the facts as they are. It is 
useless to prepare plans in accordance with an idealistic conception 
that ignores practical conditions. 

We are compelled to deal with a situation in which the main 
center of the city is hemmed in by waterways. These waterways 
have been the foundation of the prosperity of the New York Region 
but they present the greatest difficulty in controlling or preventing 

175 



176 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

vertical growth in Manhattan. It should be remembered, to the 
credit of New York, that it was the first city in this country, under 
the able leadership of our Chairman, Mr. Bassett, to lead the way 
in zoning, and has done as much as most cities to control heights 
and densities of buildings. 

The New York Region is 5,528 square miles in extent, or about 
five times the size of the state represented by Mr. Barker. It has a 
population of about 10,000,000 people. In some parts of it there 
are 140 people to the acre; in other parts about one-twelfth of one 
person to the acre. We have sufficient space within 25 miles of the 
center of that region to house 20,000,000 people at the rate of 30 
people or 6 houses to the acre on land which is adaptable for build- 
ing purposes. There is no need for congestion. Nor is there any 
reason why ample areas should not be provided for parks and park- 
ways, or why we should restrict the means of access to buildings 
because of lack of space for streets of adequate width to serve all 
purposes. 

Thus it is not a question, even in the largest and most congested 
city in the world, of not having enough space. What New York 
suffers from is lack of proper balance between space and buildings, 
in other words, defective distribution of space. New York is 
better off in regard to parks and parkways than is generally 
realized. There are 89,897 acres of public parks in the New York 
Region, of which 79,356 acres are in the metropolitan area, and 
10,541 acres in New York City. There is, in other words, an area 
of open space equivalent to over six times the size of Manhattan in 
the region, and an area of open space equivalent to three-quarters 
the size of Manhattan in the City of New York. That means in 
the whole area one acre to every 111 persons. In the city it varies 
from one acre to 1,251 people in Manhattan, to one acre to 195 
people in the Borough of the Bronx, and in Westchester County, 
just over the border of the city there is one acre to about 28 people. 

The areas of bathing beaches in the city are much too limited. 
Eighty thousand people bathe at Coney Island on two and a 
quarter miles of beach on a hot day. Of 200 miles of waterfront, 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 177 

25 miles are publicly owned and 70 miles are vacant or sparsely 
built on or are occupied by shacks and other defective structures. 

Inside the city there are 632 acres of park and school athletic 
fields, and 443 acres of park and school playgrounds of which 213 
playgrounds are operated after school. 

In the region, outside the City of New York, there are over 400 
incorporated and unincorporated units of administration. Among 
these 66 cities have playgrounds and trained leadership. 

One of the difficulties confronting us today is the procuring of 
playgrounds in situations that are not only near to the homes of 
the children, but accessible to them without crossing main streams 
of travel. In Manhattan we find that 54 per cent of the children 
who play in a playground come from the block adjacent to the 
playground, and 5 per cent from the fourth block and 13 per cent 
beyond. We find that traffic streets impede the use of the play- 
ground, and that many mothers would rather run the risk of their 
children playing in the street in front of their homes than to let 
them go along the street or cross the street to a nearby playground. 

These figures illustrate the need of combining and relating the 
traffic plan to the plan of recreation facilities and show the situa- 
tion in regard to the need of open space. 

It is well known that the highest land values in cities arise where 
there is accessibility of an area to the largest population. Accessi- 
bility may be destroyed by congestion. Concentration to a certain 
point is beneficial; beyond that point it may be injurious. The 
paralysis which is afflicting business centers in great cities is the 
result of over-concentration; that is congestion. When we congest 
we destroy the very thing that creates the greatest land values. 
One-way streets, restrictions of parking, restraint of the use of the 
street surface in order to get room to move, are all forms of reducing 
accessibility, and therefore land values. 

Outside the City of New York there is an important example 
of the development of parks and parkways. I hope those from New 
Jersey will not think that because I am going to refer to West- 
chester that I am not cognizant of the great value of the work that 



178 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

they have been doing, for example, in Union and Essex Counties, in 
developing a splendid system of parks and parkways. I haven't 
time to do more than to give one illustration. 

In 1921 I happened to meet the Westchester Chamber of Com- 
merce when they were wondering to what extent they should lend 
support to the policy of developing a park system in that county. 
That was the end of a period of many years of hard striving to get 
the City of New York to assist the County of Westchester to com- 
plete the Bronx Parkway, sixteen miles long, on the banks of the 
Bronx River. After the parkway was completed, there was little 
difficulty in getting more parkways. A plan will convince few 
people as to what needs to be done. They need to be shown by 
means of an object lesson and it is a slow process getting the first 
object lesson created. 

The Westchester Park Commissioners* report for 1925 gives the 
figures showing the accomplishments in Westchester during the 
previous three years. In that short time they had acquired 10,815 
acres of land for parks. They had started to build 122 miles of 
parkway. They had acquired 9 miles of shore front on the two 
sides of the county, which border respectively the Hudson River 
and Long Island Sound. They had appropriated $21,789,000 for 
the purchase of land and the development of a park system. They 
bought one area of about 3,000 acres for about $100 an acre. And 
they had done all this as a result of their practical experience and of 
the conviction they had brought home to the people of the county 
and the state as a result of developing the Bronx River Parkway in 
co-operation with New York City. In other words, not as the 
result of a plan, but as the result of a practical object lesson which 
proved to them the advantage of carrying on this system through- 
out the whole county. 

Mr. Jay Downer, who is present, has been largely responsible for 
that magnificent piece of work in Westchester, and he will tell you 
if you ask him that what his county has done in creating parks and 
parkways and relating them to their highway system, has been one 
of the best investments it has ever made. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 179 

In preparing the Regional Plan for New York we do not need to 
put on our plan any higher standard of open space for the remainder 
of the region than is already provided in the county of Westchester. 
In other words, all that the regional planner has to do is to try and 
get the other counties in the region to follow that example. We 
do not have to ask people to do anything that has not already been 
done and proved to be profitable. 

The work in Westchester illustrates in a very significant way the 
connection between the highway, the parkway, and the park. 

When Colonel Waldon was speaking I felt that the superhigh- 
ways of Detroit will be either too wide or too narrow. They will 
be too wide as highways and too narrow as parkways. To my 
mind, four lanes of traffic should be regarded as the maximum for a 
speedway. With a speed of 35 miles an hour on the Bronx Park- 
way the road is as wide as you want to have it with four lanes. 
The width of these highways should be planned in relation to the 
cross-traffic. There should be separation of grades at every impor- 
tant intersection. The separation of the grades in Bronx Parkway 
varies according to topography. In one place, Mount Vernon, you 
go underneath the adjacent railroad and cross the river and the 
parkway by bridge. Another place, at Fleetwood, you go across the 
railroad, the river, and the parkway on one high bridge connecting 
two high levels on the boundaries of the park. In another place you 
dip underneath the railroad as at Bronxville and connect with the 
parkway by a ramp; and so on, according to the topographical 
conditions, you vary your methods of separating grades. Through- 
out the whole of the Bronx Parkway this separation has been or is 
being made. It permits traffic to move rapidly and protects the 
park for public enjoyment. 

We learn from the Bronx Parkway how to develop new arterial 
highways on the most profitable lines. Many hundreds of miles of 
new arterial roads are being built all over the country without re- 
gard to what is going to happen along the frontages of these roads. 
In the old days there was an economic relation between the land 
values created along both frontages of a road, and the cost of build- 
ing the road. Before the motor car came people built their resi- 



180 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

dences on these frontages; today there is a growing tendency to 
keep away from them for residential purposes except where the road 
has a wide park strip on both sides. 

Bronx Parkway is an example of the kind of highway that should 
be developed for the purpose of maintaining residential growth 
near the main highways. It is as necessary today as ever it was to 
create land values on the frontages of highways in order to obtain 
the revenues necessary to construct the highway improvements. 
Real estate must bear its share of the cost of making main high- 
ways, but it can only be expected to do so if it derives benefit from 
the improvements for which it pays. 

The connection between the problem of getting adequate open 
areas and the problem of taxation is not fully realized. To get ade- 
quate lung space in the average city or town without excessive cost 
being incurred by the local council in purchasing land, would in- 
volve having large private estates, golf courses, etc., permanently 
maintained. Golf clubs and owners of large estates are forced to 
subdivide and develop their property before it is ripe for building 
merely because of high taxes due to the proximity of the land to the 
large city. 

A plan of recreation spaces, including forest reserves, parks, and 
children's playgrounds should be prepared at the same time as the 
zoning plan of a city or region. The highway plan should be made 
at the same time as the zoning plan, or should be made after the 
zoning plan. If highway plans are made without first determining 
the uses of the land for industry, for business, for residences, and for 
recreation, a great many hundreds of millions of dollars will be 
wasted on developing highways in the coming locations of the 
wrong widths and of unsuitable design. The character of the devel- 
opment that is going to occur in the district served by highways 
needs to be known, as far as practicable, before the highways are 
planned. There is of course only one ideal method and that is to 
make a comprehensive plan dealing with zoning, park systems, and 
highways simultaneously. All three are too much interwoven to be 
capable of separate treatment without great financial waste and 
social injury. 



HOW TO ACQUIRE PARKS AND OTHER OPEN 

SPACES 

ALFRED BETTMAN, Attorney, Member Cincinnati Plan Commission 

"Buy them" would seem to be the obvious and easy answer to 
the question, how to acquire land for parks and other open spaces. 
The answer is, however, much too easy to give and much too diffi- 
cult and costly to carry out. The intention implied in the assign- 
ment to me is a discussion of the ways and means whereby the 
community may acquire adequate recreational and other open 
spaces, without having to meet excessive or prohibitive costs and 
difficulties. 

From the nature of the subject, as well as from the nature of my 
own profession, I judge this intention to be that this paper deal 
with the legal aspects of the problem, and that it discuss law while 
avoiding, so far as practicable, the lawyer's specialized or technical 
patois. 

Laymen, especially those with engineering minds, may believe 
it possible or at least would like to have propositions of law laid 
down and affirmed with the definiteness and certainty of, for in- 
stance, an engineering formula. There is a sort of ease and com- 
fort about definiteness and certainty. That twelve inches make a 
foot beyond all argument for amendments, is a very comfortable posi- 
tion from which to start making plans. The law, however, is not 
amenable to any such comfortable definiteness and positiveness. 
In the United States we have forty-nine law-making and law- 
interpreting sovereignties; so that complete uniformity is unattain- 
able even if it were desirable. The difficulty is, however, more 
fundamental than this. Law, by its very nature, is a growth 
through a constant process of trial and error, of experimentation. 
Law is simply the embodiment, in rules of conduct enforced by 

181 



182 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the courts and the executive authorities, of the prevailing public 
morality or sentiment regarding conduct. Law is and should be a 
growth. Standardization and uniformity should be the culmina- 
tion and not the beginning of experience. Model laws should 
furnish education and assistance in formulating ideas and princi- 
ples and phraseology; but they should not be rigidly and slavishly 
followed, resulting in an over-rigidity, in increasing the difficulty 
of adaptation of legislative and administrative practices to the 
lessons of experience and experimentation. 

Furthermore, there is great and permanent value in each com- 
munity's thinking out its own problems and evolving its own 
legislation and methods. A law produced merely by imitation of 
some model or the legislation of some other state has no very 
deep roots in the community and is apt, for that reason, to be 
easily uprooted or to have a diminished effectiveness. By doing its 
own thinking and having its own experience, each community will 
strike roots deeper into the subject and serve as a laboratory both 
for itself and other communities. The education in methods, the 
self-education in methods which comes from experimentation, try- 
ing this, modifying it, trying that, modifying it; gradually build- 
ing up legislative standards through experience, is the only way 
whereby our city planning methods and legislation may become 
deep-rooted and lasting. 

By virtue of this inherent necessity of the processes of growth 
and experimentation, the principles of law on any question, such 
as that of how to acquire parks and other open spaces, should not 
be stated dogmatically or in any form claimed to be final and 
authoritative. In this as in any other new field, we are at the stage 
of suggesting, feeling our way, groping; so that anything regard- 
ing the acquisition of open spaces at this stage of American ex- 
perience can be but the presentation of one or more possible lines 
of constructive effort rather than any authoritative or dogmatic 
only way. 

Laws relating to the subject fall within the two great classi- 
fications of legislative power known as eminent domain and police 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 183 

power. Eminent domain is simply that type of power which takes 
property for public use and then and there pays for it in cash. 
The police power is the general power of regulating private prop- 
erty and private conduct in the interest of community welfare. 
In the nature of this police power, it cannot have any definitely 
statable limits. It necessarily changes with the needs with which 
it deals and the changes in public opinion and morality as to the 
limitations which the community is justified in imposing upon pri- 
vate conduct. Any definite statement that such and such is or is 
not constitutional is at best a piece of prophecy as to what the 
courts will decide when the question next reaches them. 

One principle that the courts habitually apply to the validity 
of exercise of the police power is that it shall be reasonable. 
" Reasonable " in constitutional law is in centra-distinction to arbi- 
trary, to decisions which represent mere guess work or haphazard 
conclusions or bias or favoritism or prejudice or emotionalism. 
Reasonable means that the legislation is the result of a thorough 
and conscientious study and statement of the problem to be solved 
or the need to be supplied by the legislation, and an intellectually 
and morally thorough and conscientious solution of that problem 
or supply of that need. It means the honest and painstaking exer- 
cise of the reasoning faculties upon the ascertainment and state- 
ment of the problem and the solution. It is the opposite of emotional 
or prejudiced or biased or corrupt or careless approaches and 
solutions. 

Even if the community is going to buy a piece of land or take 
it by eminent domain, the decision as to the land to be acquired 
or taken ought be a reasonable one, that is, ought represent a care- 
ful and conscientious consideration of just what property should be 
acquired for the purpose at hand. This test of reasonableness is 
not applied by the courts in eminent domain cases, because the pro- 
tection against unreasonableness in the exercise of the power of 
eminent domain is furnished only by political sanctions, whereas, 
in the case of police power exercises, under the principles of Ameri- 
can constitutional law the sanction is furnished by constitutional 



184 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

law as administered by the American courts. For instance, if the 
city authorities be engaged in purchasing a tract of land for a con- 
tagious hospital, they are engaged in an act which has relation to 
the public health. They ought not select a tract through any cor- 
rupt motive or carelessly, but ought conscientiously think through 
the problem of the logical location of the proposed contagious 
hospital. If they do not do so, however, if they select the land in 
a haphazard or arbitrary way, the only protection that the com- 
munity has is the pressure of public opinion or to put the existing 
officials out of office and to put into office new men whom the 
community can better trust. If, however, the city council, exer- 
cising the police power, passes a quarantine ordinance or an or- 
dinance specifying vaccination in the schools, the purpose is the 
same, namely, public health; but the reasonableness of the meas- 
ure can be tested and decided in and by the courts in a contest be- 
tween the community and an individual against whom the measure 
is being enforced. In either case, however, the act of the public 
authorities ought be reasonable. 

This requirement of reasonableness, as thus defined, shows the 
intimate relationship between city planning and the validity of the 
taking and acquisition of open spaces. If the locating of the open 
space to be acquired, whether by eminent domain or the police 
power or both, be the result of a thorough and conscientious piece 
of planning, then the plan, thus designating the open spaces to be 
acquired, furnishes strong and often convincing demonstration of 
the reasonableness of the act of acquisition. The factor of reason- 
ableness is wholly or partly supplied by the plan. Consequently, 
the very first step or at least one step in the acquisition of any 
open space by the public should be the making of the plan upon 
which the open space is designated and located as a result of a 
thorough and conscientious piece of planning. 

The subject matter of parks and other open spaces may be 
classified, for purposes of this discussion, in two ways, firstly, as to 
the size, that is, large tracts and small ones, and, secondly, as to the 
locations with reference to political boundaries, as tracts within the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 185 

city limits and tracts without the city limits. Examples of these 
larger tracts are large parks, forest reservations, aviation fields, 
parkways, large playfields, shore ways and the like. In the case of 
these larger tracts, there can be no doubt that the only feasible 
method of acquisition is that of purchase for cash or condemnation 
for cash. As the moral and political justification for the selection 
of any particular tract for purchase is derivable from a plan, the 
planning should precede the acquisition. The planning will have 
another material advantage, in that it will furnish an early indi- 
cation to the public of where the future large parks and open spaces 
should be located, and a wise and prudent community will acquire 
these tracts early, that is, while land values are still low. 

Whether the cost of the acquisition can be financed to any ex- 
tent by special assessments, will of course largely depend upon the 
assessment statutes and practices of the various jurisdictions. 
Probably the planning itself will create new land values; but it is 
doubtful whether, under American conditions, special assessments 
upon the values created by the plan, as distinguished from values 
created by the actual acquisition and improvement of the land, are 
practicable and advisable. Probably in most states, the statutes 
will permit special assessments which include the cost of the ac- 
quisition of the land, even though that acquisition may have taken 
place many years before the improvement is made or the assess- 
ment levied. For instance, if there be a plan showing a park and 
if the land is acquired early and held for many years unimproved 
and later improved as a park, there is nothing inherently uncon- 
stitutional in assessing a surrounding district for such part of the 
cost of acquisition and improvement as is represented by the special 
benefits created by the improvement, even though the acquisition 
may have been made and paid for many years before the improve- 
ment and the assessment. 

If the community fails to acquire a large open space designated 
on the plan previous to the time when the owner of the land de- 
cides to subdivide and sell for building development, fairness 
dictates that at such time, the community should choose between 
13 



186 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

acquiring the property and paying for it, on the one hand, or per- 
mitting the property to be subdivided and sold for private uses, 
on the other. 

Zoning is an exercise of the police power. It should be used for 
regulation of private use and not for acquisition for public use. 
Even though a particular zoning regulation of a particular tract of 
land may have, as its by-product, the facilitating of the ultimate 
acquisition of the land by the public for public use, such acquisition 
should not be the motive of the zoning; otherwise the zoning would 
not be honest zoning. Perfectly honest zoning, however, may have 
as a motive the preservation of open spaces, just as the bulk or area 
regulation of a typical zoning ordinance specifies the open building 
spaces between building lines or between buildings. It is no doubt 
perfectly constitutional, as a means of preventing scattered instead 
of concentrated business and industrial development, to include 
large open development zones in a regional zoning plan, including 
agricultural zones. In any zoning plan which attempts to do this, 
it might prove fair and reasonable to provide, that when the owner 
of such an open space genuinely desires to develop and subdivide 
it for building uses, he may submit a development plan on the basis 
of which a re-zoning would be worked out. This paper is not the 
place in which to go into detail as to this phase of the matter, and 
the object of the mention of zoning is to indicate, in passing, the 
validity of zoning which would include large open development 
zones. 

Coming to the geographical classifications of the subject under 
discussion, namely, land within the city boundaries and land lying 
outside, there would probably be nothing inherently unconsti- 
tutional in giving the city the same planning, eminent domain, 
police and assessment powers over land outside its boundaries as 
over land within its boundaries. In any particular state the question 
would be governed by the specific provisions of the constitution of 
that state. Any constitution is subject to amendment. However, 
approaching this phase of the subject from the point of view of that 
which is practicable and easily obtainable, as distinguished from 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 187 

the point of view of that which is theoretically justifiable or possi- 
ble, cities will probably not be granted adequate powers to exercise, 
for great distances beyond their own boundaries, either police 
powers, such as zoning, or eminent domain powers or the power of 
special assessment and, for the effective development of adequate 
open space programs, all of these types of powers will be requisite. 
This indicates that in this matter of open spaces, as in all other 
phases of planning, there is need of developing both regional plan- 
ning and regional government, in other words, first the making of 
regional plans and, second, the creation of regional legislative and 
executive organs for carrying them out. When these regional plans 
come to be made and these regional organs come to be created, the 
same principles of reasonableness and scope of powers will apply to 
regional legislation and acts as have been discussed above. 

Coming to the subdivision of our subject which deals with small 
recreational areas and small neighborhood parks and small neigh- 
borhood playgrounds, what are the available methods whereby 
these open spaces can be acquired for general public or neighbor- 
hood use without excessive or prohibitive costs ? 

One suggestion that is frequently made is that the principle of 
the mapped streets be applied. By this is meant that when a 
street is placed upon the plan or map, the city will either acquire 
by eminent domain the right to keep the location of the mapped 
street free of buildings or the mapped street will be kept free of 
buildings by the exercise of the police power, that is by forbidding 
building in mapped streets subject to the rights of the property 
owner to appeal or review. Forms of legislation on the police 
power basis will be found in the New York statutes framed by 
Messrs. Bassett & Williams and in the notes of the Standard City 
Planning Act issued by the United States Department of Com- 
merce, and forms of the eminent domain legislation for mapped 
streets have been incorporated into the said Standard City Plan- 
ning Act. 

Whether the preservation of mapped streets through the eminent 
domain method will prove practicable remains for experience to 



188 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

answer. Whether the preservation of mapped streets through the 
police power method is constitutional still remains for the courts to 
answer. Some day they will probably answer in the affirmative. 
The difference in policy or constitutionality between mapped streets 
and mapped small parks or playgrounds is one of degree and not of 
kind. Streets are mainly for public convenience and, to a lesser 
degree, for safety and health. They are open spaces. The small 
park is primarily for public health, though also a factor in conveni- 
ence and safety. They are open spaces. Chronologically we are 
at a greater distance from the validity of police power method ap- 
plied to mapped parks than to mapped streets, and, in view of the 
fact that the mapped streets police power method has not yet 
established itself through experience or adjudications of its validity, 
we can only say at this time that the availability of this method 
for acquiring small parks and playgrounds and recreational spaces 
is still somewhat in the future. 

We are, chronologically speaking, and as a matter of experience, 
nearer to the availability of acquisition of these small recreational 
spaces through the exercise of the control over the subdivision and 
platting of land. Is it constitutionally valid for the public, in the 
exercise of its subdivision control, to insist upon the contribution 
of these small open spaces by the private land-owner? Of one 
thing we can be sure and that is that such action cannot succeed 
if taken arbitrarily. The procedure of the acquisition as well as 
the determination of the location and extent of the acquisition 
must be reasonable. This means, in the first place, that the open 
space to be acquired should be located by means of a plan, for the 
reasons which have been explained above. The plan supplies, to 
some extent, this requirement of reasonableness. In other words, 
it is by locating the open space as a result of thoroughgoing and 
conscientious planning and the application of statable and justi- 
fiable planning principles, that the reasonableness of the acquisi- 
tion of any particular tract of land will be demonstrated. This does 
not necessarily mean that the plan shall locate the tract exactly, by 
exact boundary lines. It does mean, however, that the plan 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 189 

shall indicate the approximate location of the open space. This 
requirement of reasonableness probably does mean that no arbi- 
trary rule, such as that each subdivision of ten acres or more must 
contribute one-tenth of its area, can be justified; for an open space 
located in accordance with good planning principles will not neces- 
sarily correspond to one-tenth of any specific subdivision which 
happens to be submitted for approval. In the planning of open 
spaces, there may be and indeed should be some standard, such as 
one acre for each two hundred of the population. To be reasonable, 
the contribution of open space by any specific subdivision should 
correspond to the community's plan and should not be based upon 
any arbitrary rule such as one-tenth of area of the subdivision. 

Even where the laws governing the subject have not adopted a 
system of mandatory or compulsory contribution of recreational 
open spaces, the control or regulation of subdivision and platting 
furnishes great possibilities for the community's acquiring these 
open spaces by means of voluntary or co-operative action by and 
between the planning commission and the owners of the subdivi- 
sions. Here again, the plan furnishes proof of the reasonableness 
of the community's desires and a basis for the negotiations be- 
tween the planning commission and the subdivider. The plan- 
ning commission can and should develop some standards for aggre- 
gate open spaces, that is, aggregates of street spaces, building set- 
back spaces and small park or playground spaces. Within these 
general standards for aggregates, there can be a considerable de- 
gree of play and elasticity as regards the allocation of these open 
spaces amongst the various types. Such standards furnish the 
basis for negotiation and trading, so to speak, so that, in a given 
instance, a lesser street space might be allowed where greater play- 
ground or set-back spaces are assured. 

As some states may desire to develop legislation along the line 
of the mandatory contribution of these neighborhood open spaces 
and as such mandatory provision may prove the only effective one, 
some suggestions as to the method of procedure are in order. The 
following is a tentative outline of such procedure: 



190 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

First, the city, as part of its master plan or by supplemental 
neighborhood plan, include or make a general plan locating ap- 
proximately the open spaces that will be desired when the areas 
within the territory of the plan come to be subdivided and 
developed. 

Second, the promulgation by the planning commission, acting 
under appropriate enabling legislation, of a rule or rules specifying 
maximum amount of land which any subdivision may be required 
to contribute, in terms of percentage of the total area of the sub- 
division. 

Third, providing a system of appraisement of the amount to be 
paid the owner of the subdivision for any excess of his land which 
falls within the planned open space above his said maximum con- 
tribution. 

Fourth, the financing of the acquisition of this excess, either by 
means of bonds or by means of a revolving fund created by the 
community for the purpose. 

Fifth, the special assessment upon all land within the benefited 
district; the amount of the assessment to be the whole or part of 
the amount of money paid to the owner of the subdivision, and 
the district assessed to correspond to the district shown as the dis- 
trict tributary to or to be served by the open space. This indi- 
cates another valuable purpose and value of a plan; for the plan 
will furnish a basis for designation of the boundaries of the assess- 
ment district. While the statutes of any particular state may need 
amendment before this power of special assessment is available, 
there is no inherent or constitutional difficulty about providing 
for such power. 

In his able and comprehensive address last evening upon twenty 
years of progress in city planning, President Nolen threw upon the 
screen some charts setting forth the statistics, amongst other 
things, of the amounts expended by American municipalities for 
public improvements from current revenues, bond funds and spe- 
cial assessments, respectively. I was struck with the small propor- 
tion of the cost of public improvements borne by special assess- 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 191 

ments, and President Nolen's statistics seemed to verify a previous 
impression, namely that some of the difficulty experienced by 
American municipalities in financing their development, arises 
from the fact that they attempt, to too great an extent, to finance 
capital assets by means of current, as distinguished from capital, 
revenues. There is certainly no inherent, either moral, legal or con- 
stitutional, hindrance to financing the cost or a large part of the 
costs of these small open spaces by means of special assessment. 
Possibly it is a matter of minor importance to the individual sub- 
divider whether he pays his assessment in land or money. Whether 
it will prove politically and practically more easy for the city to ac- 
quire these open spaces by direct purchase or condemnation and 
then to assess the cost over the whole benefited area, including 
the land of the owner from whom the open space was acquired, or 
by the method above outlined of taking each subdivider's share of 
the burden in land, so far as his share of the open space falls within 
his ownership, and in money, so far as his share of the land taken 
falls outside of his ownership, or by various combinations of both 
methods, are questions which experimentation and experience alone 
will answer. There would seem to be little doubt that if the size 
and location of the open space be well planned, then it will follow 
that the cost of acquisition of the open space will be approximately 
reflected in corresponding increases of land values in the area trib- 
utary to or to be served by the designated open space. The time 
for levying the special assessment, that is, whether at the time of 
the acquisition or later when the open space is improved for recre- 
ational use, is a matter of detail. Similarly, the extent of the terri- 
tory lying outside of the city limits within which the city may be 
permitted to acquire these open spaces by one or the other of these 
methods is largely a matter of legislative and procedural detail. 
This paper has set forth some more or less groping suggestions 
for methods of approach to the more detailed development of the 
subject. Any deep insight into constitutional law or political proc- 
esses or the history of the legislation will bring forth two great 
lessons to be kept in mind. The first is, in the somewhat over- 



192 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

worked language of Davy Crockett "Be sure you are right, then 
go ahead." There is nothing in the nature of American constitu- 
tional law which should produce timidity or the palsying of effort 
by fear of constitutional difficulties. The American constitution 
is sufficiently beneficent and wide-armed to receive within its pro- 
tection whatever is morally and intellectually justifiable and really 
needed for the public welfare. The second is that whatever is done 
shall be thoroughly and conscientiously done and shall not repre- 
sent any careless or lazy or haphazard or arbitrary action, but, on 
the contrary, shall represent painstaking and thoroughgoing search 
into the public needs, into the ascertainment and statement of the 
problem and into the working-out of the solution. Solutions em- 
bodied into legislation and public procedures will and should be the 
evolution of experimentation, of trial and error. By one method or 
another every community can, within its resources, acquire and 
produce such amount and distribution of open spaces as it needs 
and should have for the health and well-being of its people, if it 
will but have the courage and the intelligence to go about the de- 
velopment of its plan, its legislation and its administrative proce- 
dure in a thoroughgoing, intellectually honest and scientifically 
patient manner. 



SUBDIVISION CONTROL 

A Report by a Committee of the American City Planning Institute, 
Presented by MORRIS KNOWLES, Pittsburgh, Pa., Chairman 

INTRODUCTION 

In 1925 the National Association of Real Estate Boards, holding 
its meeting in Detroit, through its Subdividers Division invited the 
American City Planning Institute to meet and discuss some com- 
mon problems. At that time it was suggested that there be a Joint 
Committee appointed for the purpose of considering the regulation 
of land subdivision. The President of the Institute appointed the 
Committee; its Board of Governors has adopted the Committee's 
report. Although the technical body did do the Committee work, 
it is considered that the report is of such general interest and appli- 
cation that the Conference would like to consider its adoption. 

The Committee of the Institute has not acted as promptly as the 
Committee from the Real Estate Subdividers. They considered 
this subject at a meeting in Miami last winter and it has had the 
approval of the Subdividers Division and of the Board of Directors 
of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. 

While in Washington your Committee has advised with the Vice- 
President of this National Association of Real Estate Boards, the 
Chairman of the meeting this morning, Mr. Reed, and with Mr. 
Hurst, who will follow the speaker as representing Mr. Shuler, who 
was the Chairman formerly of the Committee of the Subdividers. 
We have had the benefit of that conference, and have now agreed 
upon a report which is only slightly different, and we now feel it 
may be considered the joint opinion of the Subdividers themselves 
and of the City Planners. The report will be read to you and offered 
for adoption. 

193 



194 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

THE REPORT 

Planning for the development of the unbuilt areas of cities 
presents a problem of major importance for the owner, realtor, 
architect, city planner, city engineer, lawyer and economist. The 
problem cannot be successfully solved without giving due consid- 
eration to the point of view of the various groups. The subdivision 
of land is a fundamental problem in the complexity of our city life, 
because it is the initial step in the development of the occupied 
urban community. No further reason is needed for the proper 
direction and control of the subdivision of land than to say that the 
foundation work in city building should be done in a sane and 
sensible manner, in such way as to promote the health, safety, con- 
venience and welfare of the future community. 

Many Problems. Engineering problems arise in planning the 
unbuilt areas to provide proper grades and width for streets, 
sewerage and drainage, and provisions for public utilities. The ad- 
vice of the landscape and building architect is necessary in the 
manner of location and development of public parks and public 
buildings. The legality of control, whether exercised through 
private restrictions or by civic authorities, is a matter requiring the 
attention of the lawyer. First, last and all the time, the entire 
problem directly affects the real estate or land owner and ultimate 
economic efficiency is the criterion. 

Varied Interests. The realtor and the planner, whose varied in- 
terests, including those of clients, reach out from the congested 
urban center to the distant fringes of the suburban area, should be 
anxious and willing to take the leadership in the solution of this 
problem. They welcome the cooperation, advice and assistance of 
all other groups engaged in community planning and building. 

For the purposes of this report there appear to be seven separate 
and distinct types of responsibilities; seven different groups with 
important duties to perform in the development of the unbuilt and 
undivided areas of cities; seven particular kinds of problems, each 
one of which is an essential if this planning and property develop- 
ment is to be carried on correctly. The seven classes or types and 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 195 

the character of their responsibilities and problems, are listed in 
alphabetical order: 

The Architect The architect, landscape and building, is the man 
to whom the public will look for the proper location and 
arrangement of public parks; for the proper architecture, 
design and setting of public buildings; the conformity of 
private buildings to the character of the district. His advice 
should also be sought in the determination of building re- 
strictions. 

The Economist The trained economist has his part to play. 
Comparison of ultimate economic efficiency, including all 
factors, is the criterion upon which decisions as to relative 
preference of layouts should rest. Statistical information of a 
basic character is needed with regard to many elements of 
planning and particularly zoning. Such data, thoroughly 
considered, will prevent many unwise and uneconomical de- 
velopments. 

The Engineer Proper provision for the public services, such as 
electricity, gas, water, sewerage and drainage, streets, walks, 
is a problem that must be determined in the last analysis by 
the Engineer. It is his duty to see that no city plan is ever 
made wherein these services are not either provided for spe- 
cifically, or made possible by the character of the development. 

The Lawyer In the development of the city plan or of specific 
properties, many legal questions arise. There are the problems 
of restrictions and their severity; the authority of the city 
planning board to say what shall or shall not be done; the 
enforcement of rules and regulations made by the municipality 
and by the private subdivider of the land. Without proper 
legal aid and advice it would be difficult to develop unbuilt 
areas so as to provide the necessary safeguards for the entire 
community. 

The Owner While the plans for good development are, in the 
main, for the benefit of the general public and for the munici- 
pality at large, they are, in the final analysis, for the benefit of 
and profit to the owner of the land. The responsibility of this 
owner is not small. His obligation, as well as his privilege, is to 
advise and work with the planner, the engineer, the architect, 
the realtor, the economist, and the lawyer. 



196 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

The Planner Upon the city planner is the paramount obligation 
of visualizing the development and growth of the city as a 
whole, and of coordinating the activities of the various inter- 
ested people and organizations, to the end that a plan may be 
developed which will be a credit and benefit to the city, a 
desirable place in which citizens may live and do business, and 
a place in which capital and business energy may be expended 
profitably. It is the city planner's duty to see that the plan is 
made, to see that the city's interests are cared for in the way 
of proper protection and service for citizens and in the pro- 
vision of opportunity for city expansion. He must be able to 
visualize a growing city and to design a plan which will make 
proper provision for that growth. 

The Realtor Upon the realtor is the responsibility of subdividing 
the land so that the public may use it; he executes the plan. 
Without the platting of the unbuilt areas in and around cities, 
the finest conceived plans of all the planners, engineers and 
architects would go for naught. Until the realtor does his 
work, under proper regulation, all the rest of it is on paper; 
he gives the plans to the people. Because of the fact that sub- 
division and development is his business, the realtor is respon- 
sible for the proper execution and continued fulfillment of the 
plan. Unless he does his work well, the efforts of the others 
may be wasted and the public interest is damaged. 

Many things have been said and published on the subject of 
subdivision control. Any report now issued must necessarily seem 
like a duplication or repetition of ideas, or rather a summary of the 
main facts that have been discussed and the ideas that have been 
advanced. A discussion was held, during the convention of the 
National Association of Real Estate Boards, in Detroit, in 1925, 
between representative realtors and city planners. Many things 
have since been considered by members of both groups. Represen- 
tative committees of each organization have met and formulated 
general principles to which both now readily subscribe. 

Realtors and Planners Cooperate. -It seems, as the study of sub- 
division control has progressed, that the technical city planner has 
become considerate of the practical result of subdivision control, 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 197 

and the realtor has become interested in the technical phase of city 
planning and recognizes the valuable result of such planning on 
land investments and land sales. Also, during an active develop- 
ment period following the World War, everyone has realized the ill 
effect of poor platting and irresponsible selling methods. 

The result of planning should be considered always from two 
angles; one, the effect on land values, and the other the effect on 
the community. We should not allow ourselves to become so 
idealistic in our desire to create a better community that, in so 
doing, we destroy all real property values. On the other hand, we 
should not permit the land owner to do something for a quick, per- 
sonal financial gain, which would work a serious injury to the com- 
munity and to other land owners. 

Establishment of Values. Private restrictions or contract control, 
as the experience of many realtors will substantiate, may prove a 
serious handicap to the value of the lot in the small subdivided 
tract, provided such control or restrictions are not provided to 
cover adjoining land. If, on the other hand, these regulations are 
provided in a general comprehensive plan of development, values 
are established and increased in the unbuilt area without unreason- 
able prejudice to any portion therein. 

The purpose of this report is to suggest methods which will 
benefit the entire unbuilt area under control, the property owner 
as well as the community itself. If a more attractive and desirable 
community is created, there naturally follows an increased property 
or land value. Large community developments are exceptions in 
subdivision work and they are able to protect themselves as well as 
their purchasers. The small, piecemeal subdivision is the rule and 
very little protection is afforded. Thus the need of some general 
understanding. 

Subdivision Control Necessary. Present methods of control over 
subdivisions, as exercised under special city ordinances, or supposed 
powers delegated through city charters, are oftentimes very in- 
definite and are subject to legal attack. The control exercised also 
by either planning commissions or city councils under generally 



198 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

existing conditions frequently cannot be exercised intelligently, due 
to the lack of a general master plan. 

The vast majority of subdi viders are anxious to voluntarily make 
their small plats fit into a general development scheme. There is a 
small minority, however, and always some land owners, who will 
not voluntarily conform to a generally accepted proper procedure 
in land platting. For the former, a general plan must be presented 
and, to protect them from the efforts of a small minority, some con- 
trol over the subdivision and development activities of the com- 
munity must be provided to enforce a conforming, general plan of 
development. Twenty-five years ago the restricted community 
in our cities was the exception. A new subdivision, within the last 
ten years, without some contractual restrictions to guide its devel- 
opment, would be the exception. The public has been taught to 
believe in, and demands, the protection afforded by these private 
restrictions. 

We believe that the time has now arrived when more definite 
steps should be taken to control the subdivision of land. Not only 
do city officials, planning boards, realtors, city planners and a large 
percentage of the public, see the necessity for this control, but new 
traffic conditions and new modes of living require that a very 
thorough study be made of platting the unbuilt areas in and ad- 
joining our cities, and that some control be exercised over the sub- 
division of the land. Mistakes can be avoided in the platting of the 
unbuilt area much easier than these same mistakes can be remedied 
in the built up sections. In many cities, it has been customary to 
extend this control for a distance of three miles beyond the city 
limits. In larger and rapidly growing centers of population a 
larger territory needs to be brought under subdivision control and 
this control is in the long run likely to be supplied by means of 
regional planning. 

City Rebuilding Is Costly. A study recently made of a large, 
rapidly growing city of the Pacific Coast, showed that out of 1,400 
subdivisions in 1925, which were platted to conform to a Master 
Development Plan, 150 miles of major thoroughfares were provided 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 199 

to take care of the inevitable increase of traffic for many years in 
the future. This same city is undertaking now a street widening 
project in the built-up section of the city to provide less than 10 
miles of thoroughfares to take care of increased traffic, which is 
costing the city $10,000,000.00. 

A zoning report from the same city showed that, in 1920, out of 
the total property subdivided and available for all uses, one out of 
every three lots was set aside for business purposes. It is evident 
that two residence lots cannot maintain one lot for business pur- 
poses, and that only a small percentage of the lots thus set aside 
by private owners can ever be successfully used for business. The 
technical advice of the city planner and economist, who is making a 
study of just such conditions, must be used by the practical sub- 
divider and the city planning board to avoid just such difficulties. 

Progress Made. Realtors have made wonderful progress in five 
or ten years' time in their subdivision work. This progress has been 
evidenced in the small as well as in the larger community develop- 
ments. However, it remains a fact that the small layout often- 
times does not fit into anything in particular and may look all 
right by itself until other small adjoining tracts are developed, and 
finally a network of misfits and an unwieldy community are the 
result. Re-sale values are at a discount in some of these neighbor- 
ing subdivisions, because private restrictions established in one 
tract are ignored by adjoining land, and different or non-conform- 
ing uses have been permitted on adjoining subdivided land. 

A more or less comprehensive development plan, depending on 
local requirements, offers a remedy for this unsatisfactory condi- 
tion. The sale of the small unit of the subdivision or the single 
building lot can certainly be more readily made, if the purchaser be 
assured that his property is a portion of a well considered plan of 
development, and that this plan will be enforced to a reasonable 
degree. Such plan, prepared or suggested, would have to be gen- 
eral and not include the small details of platting. Such plans 
should also take into consideration the practices now in operation in 
the particular city or section of the country. 



200 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

RECOMMENDATIONS 
We therefore recommend the following: 

First: That State Planning Enabling Acts should be enacted, dele- 
gating to cities and other political subdivisions the authority 
to prepare general plans and to approve subdivision. 

Second: That under the authority of such an Enabling Act a 
master plan should be prepared for the area of control, showing 
the location of main thoroughfares, recommendations for open 
spaces and designating land areas for specific uses. 

Third: That the control of the platting of subdivisions should be 
authorized under the Act and this control exercised by the 
local planning commission. 

Fourth: That the planning commission should be an appointive, 
non-political board, serving without compensation, and the 
members should hold no other municipal office, excepting 
that certain legislative or administrative officials should be ex- 
officio members of the commission. 

Fifth: That the master plan and the control exercised should 
extend out beyond the municipal limits into the non-municipal 
territory which will sooner or later be developed as a portion of 
the city. This control to be developed in accordance with a 
Regional Plan in cooperation with the adjoining territorial 
governments. 

Sixth: That the planning commission be authorized to adopt regu- 
lations providing for the location, continuity and width of 
streets, to safeguard travel, prevent congestion and provide 
proper drainage. Such regulations to include, where and 
when practicable, the minimum size and area of building lots, 
and the extent to which street improvements, such as water 
and sewer provisions, should be made before approval of plats. 
In some states bonds are required from the land owner, 
guaranteeing the installation of these improvements. This 
seems to be practicable. 

Seventh: The general requirements for principal public parks and 
recreational spaces and sites of public buildings should be in- 
cluded as a part of the master plan. Where a land owner has 
submitted a plat of his land and the authorities have desig- 
nated in it such a principal public park, recreational space or 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 201 

public building site as part of the master plan, the municipality 
should take prompt steps to acquire such ( land, or failing so 
to do, should act upon the plat, so that the owner can make use 
of his property. The subdividers should be encouraged to 
provide small private recreational parks. 

State Enabling Acts, as recommended in the foregoing, should be 
broad in the authority. The extent to which this authority shall 
be accepted and exercised by each municipality will remain for 
local determination. It is also the work of local real estate boards, 
chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations to advance 
and support local ordinances, putting into effect the purposes to be 
accomplished under the authority of State Enabling Acts. The 
city officials, in whom is vested the p9wer to appoint members of 
planning commissions, if supported by public opinion and by civic 
organizations, will see that a capable planning commission is pro- 
vided to carry on this important work. 

Submitted by the Committee on Subdivision Control: 

JACOB L. CRANE 
T. GLENN PHILLIPS 
IRVING C. ROOT 
LAWRENCE VEILLER 
ROBERT WRITTEN 
FRANK B. WILLIAMS 
MORRIS KNOWLES, 
Chairman 

DISCUSSION 

JOHN J. HURST, Baltimore, Md.: This report is a culmination of 
long effort and a great deal of education. As has been told you by 
Mr. Knowles, two years ago we happened to be meeting at the 
same time in Detroit, and hopefully, but not expectantly, ap- 
pointed these two Committees. We have had some differences, 
which, fortunately, we have ironed out. 

You, of course, approach the matter somewhat differently from 
the way the practical developer does, and by the way, the sub- 
divider is rapidly disappearing and the developer is taking his place. 
The real estate men are appreciating that the old system, if I may 
say so, has passed out, and the newer system of J. C. Nichols and 
men of that type has got to be followed. 

If you want to see examples of this, look at Harmonwood, devel- 
14 



202 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

oped by Harmon & Company, and at Roland Park, both of which 
were started at the same time. One can scarcely be found, the 
other is a wonderful success. The ideal that we must inculcate in 
all the men who are developing the country is that the practical 
must be carried along with the theoretical. You men are the 
dreamers, and show the way, but without the aid of the real estate 
man, you can't accomplish what you want to. You can't force the 
realtor to do the things which you think ought to be done. You 
must do it by education. 

I believe that the real estate men of the country have been so 
educated that they are going to accept this great document. I hope 
that the city authorities will read most carefully the seventh clause, 
which has reference to recreational space and public building 
sites. I hope that the city authorities will appreciate that the 
real estate developer has his problems, that when he asks to have 
his plat passed on, it must not be pigeonholed. The developer 
fears more than anything else that the city or county officials may 
simply refuse to do anything, and that they may be financially 
ruined by inactivity. The City Planning Committee of the 
National Association of Real Estate Boards has worked on this 
document for two years. We have joined with you in a conclusion 
which ought to bring very happy results. I therefore move the 
adoption of the report. 

EDWARD M. BASSETT, New York, N. Y.: It has been my privi- 
lege to attend a number of the meetings of our Committee, although 
I am not a member of it. I have also been able to assist in prepar- 
ing the plan and report of the Department of Commerce which 
relates in many ways to the subject now before us. I have also had 
a share in the preparation of the statutes presented by the Regional 
Plan of New York to the State Legislature, which have now been 
incorporated into the general city law, the village law and the town 
law in the State of New York. This form of New York City plan- 
ning law goes the furthest to exhaust the possibilities of planning 
of any law, a little further, perhaps, than some conservative critics 
would follow. 

In my connection with this report, I have sifted carefully its 
statements as to their conflict with either the New York Law or the 
proposed Act of the Department of Commerce. Although the 
report differs somewhat in certain phases of the "master plan," I 
find no substantial conflict. This is the culmination of a work of 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 203 

the greatest importance in the United States; that the real estate 
people and the city planning people and so many administrative 
people can come together upon a document like this, seems to me 
most remarkable. I prophesy that this Conference will be remem- 
bered as the Conference that brought together in this happy man- 
ner the real estate group, administrative officials and the city 
planners of the United States. I want to second the motion for 
adoption. 

CHARLES W. LEAVITT, New York, N. Y.: I thoroughly believe in 
this document, but there is one matter which I think should be 
clarified in the minds of both the real estate group and of our own 
members. 

Where property backs up on parks, it may very properly be 
planted out. Where it faces on a street which adjoins a. park, it has 
the right of light and air, and cannot be planted out. If this dis- 
tinction is understood, it is more likely that apartment houses will 
be located along parkways or border roads, rather than on property 
which backs up on park areas. 

ANDREW WRIGHT CRAWFORD, Philadelphia, Pa.: I fully agree, 
so far as I was able to consider them, with the recommendations 
that were made in this report. I would have liked, however, to 
have seen a little more definite statement that the people who were 
to occupy the houses were to be considered. They ought to be con- 
sidered first and then benefit to the community. The interest of 
builders of houses today is less important than the individuals who 
occupy them. I wish the report could be amended by specifically 
referring to the occupants of the houses, do not desire to suggest 
sending it back for such amendment, but do think it is important 
that this should be done. 

THOMAS ADAMS, New York, N. Y.: I do not wish to move any 
amendment of the report, but hope that the Committee will con- 
sider three suggestions. In the body of the report there appears the 
statement which says something like this that property should be 
developed to benefit, first, land values, and second, the community. 
To my mind, the order of these two benefits should be reversed. 
Land values should not be placed in front of the benefit of the 
community. 

Land values are mainly community-created values. Where any 
benefit is conferred on the community as a result of developing land 



204 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

on a sound economic basis, the effect is inevitably to increase land 
values. 

Secondly, I think that it is a mistake to place highways, instead 
of zoning and open spaces, first in order of importance. The ques- 
tion of the utilization of the land for industry, business, residence, 
and open spaces should receive prior consideration, if it is not con- 
sidered simultaneously with questions relating to highways and 
other forms of communication. 

The third point relates to the suggestion that real estate owners 
should furnish bonds to construct local improvements. If the land 
of one owner is shut off from a main highway or sewer by the 
property of another owner which is not intended to be immediately 
developed, how can the former give a bond that he will connect up 
his streets and sewers with the main highway and sewer over the 
intervening -piece of land? I would suggest as an alternative, and 
it deals with Mr. Crawford's plea, that there should be placed on 
the face of every contract of sale, particularly in cases where land 
is sold by auction, a prominent statement to the effect that the sale 
of each piece of property is subject to the provision by the pur- 
chaser of certain local improvements, before any house to be erected 
upon the property can be occupied for purposes of habitation. 

If that were done it would prevent many sales of land to pur- 
chasers who do not know that the land offered for sale has an 
encumbrance attached to it. This encumbrance is hidden from the 
notice of ignorant buyers, who seem to be in the majority, because 
of the absence of a specific statement to the effect that the land 
needs and should be required to be improved before any building 
upon it can be put to use. 

I suggest these three matters for consideration by the Committee. 

E. P. GOODRICH, New York, N. Y.: I suggest an amendment to 
the motion for adoption, namely that the Report be adopted, and 
the Committee be continued. 

(This amendment was seconded, and unanimously carried.) 

CHARLES W. ELIOT, 2o, Washington, D. C.: I would like to 
bring one other point to the attention of the Committee. As I 
understand it, if a park is shown on a master plan, and the sub- 
divider wishes to develop the area on which the park is shown, the 
report recommends that the city shall decide immediately whether 
or not to acquire the land. This recommendation may open the 
way to serious abuses. It is true that most of the realtors would 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 205 

not take advantage of such a crude method of forcing action by the 
public, or of forcing up values, but it may be well for the Com- 
mittee to provide further safeguards or an explanation of the intent 
of the recommendations. 

B. A. HALDEMAN, Harrisburg, Pa.: It would not be possible for 
this Committee, although it has been at work for two years, to 
cover all the possibilities and avoid all the pitfalls. The great thing 
that it has accomplished is the bringing together of the city plan- 
ners and the real estate interests. One of the greatest difficulties in 
the way of success to practical city planning heretofore has been 
the lack of sympathetic understanding between these two groups. 
The Committee should be continued and each section of it should 
continue its work in its own organization, because both city plan- 
ners and realtors will need to have continuing education. 

JOHN NOLEN, Cambridge, Mass.: In summing up I need hardly 
do more than express the deep gratification that we have in getting 
this report. It is worth while for a moment to see its evolution, 
because this is not a stopping place; we are only on the way, and 
it has been the intention that either this or another Committee 
on the same subject would continue in service. At Detroit, 
because we carried our Institute to the Annual Meeting of the 
National Association of Real Estate Boards, we gave birth to the 
idea that in essential things the Conference and Institute or the 
city planning group was in accord with the ideals of the real estate 
group, and was more than willing to cooperate in getting these 
ideals into practical form. As a result not of quick action, but of 
two years of patient work, coming up again and again for dis- 
cussion, getting maturity of thought, and comparison of views, and 
then each group working independently and bringing back the 
views for comparison, we have this result. I confess personally 
that I was surprised to find that the views of the National Associa- 
tion of Real Estate Boards could be crystallized so quickly, so 
idealistically and yet so practically. It is important too that the 
endorsement of the Report should be not only that of the City 
Planning Institute, but should represent a more popular opinion, 
and I will therefore ask all those who favor the adoption of the 
Report and the Continuation of the Committee to express their 
approval by voting "aye." 

. . The question was carried and the Report adopted 
unanimously. . . . 



DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONAL 
CAPITAL AND ITS ENVIRONS 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLAN OF THE 
CITY OF WASHINGTON 

LIEUT. COL. U. S. GRANT, 3RD, Member and Executive Officer of the 
National Capital Park and Planning Commission 

It is of special interest to the National City Planning Conference 
that the necessity for and the advantages of city and regional 
planning have recently received national recognition by the insti- 
tution of a Park and Planning Commission for the National Capi- 
tal. (Acts of Congress approved June, 1925, and April 30, 
1926.) The interest of the administration was happily expressed 
by the President in his last annual message: 

"... If our country wishes to compete with others, 
let it not be in the support of armaments but in the making of a 
beautiful Capital City. Let it express the soul of America. When- 
ever an American is at the seat of his Government, however 
traveled and cultured he may be, he ought to find a city of stately 
proportion, symmetrically laid out and adorned with the best that 
there is in architecture, which would arouse his imagination and 
stir his patriotic pride. . . ." 

The immediate planning problems of Washington, like those of 
any other city, are twofold: (1) What is the plan which should be 
adopted? (2) How must this theoretical optimum be modified to 
make it practically executable, and how can such execution be 
assured ? The former is merely a question of labor, of the thorough- 
ness and competence of those entrusted with the work. The an- 
swer to the second question cannot be arrived at quite so simply; 

206 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 207 

it is partly a matter of administrative procedure and control, 
starting with the constitution of the planning agency itself, and 
partly a question of the understanding and tact with which the 
best experience and knowledge of both city planning and adminis- 
tration are applied to the particular local problems arising from 
time to time. As the newly formed planning commission com- 
prises within itself, not only the best of technical experts, but also 
those administrative officers of the government who are specifi- 
cally charged with the execution of any municipal work involved 
and a specially qualified representative of each house of the legis- 
lative branch of the Government, it may be confidently hoped that 
the foundation has been laid for ensuring the practical character 
of the plans and their execution. 

From still another standpoint the case of Washington is of 
special interest. The foresight of President Washington provided 
for the new Federal City's having a good and sound plan, drafted 
after careful study on the ground by an enthusiast and expert. The 
fact that so competent a man as Major Charles Pierre L'Enfant 
was chosen for this work, and that his plan was perfected and 
adopted (1791) before the establishment of the city, has been of 
inestimable value throughout the years that followed. In fact, it 
may be said that experience has but confirmed the wisdom and 
technical skill of his work, and that deplorable mistakes have been 
made and injury done the city only when and where developments 
have been permitted which were in violation of his plan or, in the 
areas outside of its limits, inconsistent with its general principles 
and basic ideas. 

Without a knowledge of the various things that have been done 
to and for this plan during the last century and a quarter, it is not 
possible to understand the present planning problems of Washing- 
ton or to appreciate their difficulties and the different points of 
view from which they are regarded by those most closely concerned. 
A thorough historical account of the development of the National 
Capital would be interesting and the subject of a study not without 
profit. However, the limitations of space prohibit any such re- 



208 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

cital here of the city's history; only a few of the more critical and 
important events may be enumerated: 

In 1800 the Federal Government was moved to the new city. 

In 1802 the Commission of three appointed by President Wash- 
ington was discontinued and the usual form of town government, 
with mayor, board of aldermen, and town council, was set up by 
Congress for the handling of local municipal affairs in Washington. 

In 1814, after the American defeat at Bladensburg, the British 
army took Washington, burnt the White House, and did other 
damage to our public buildings and records. 

In 1822 President Monroe approved the suspension of the build- 
ing regulations which had been established by President Washing- 
ton in conformity with an item in the original agreement he made 
with the proprietors of the property selected for the Federal City. 

In 1834 President Jackson so located the new Treasury Depart- 
ment building that, when it was later completed, the south wing 
was interposed between the Capitol and the White House and in- 
terrupted the view from one to the other. 

In 1846 the part of the original District of Columbia on the 
right bank of the Potomac River was ceded back to Virginia and 
became Arlington County. 

At the end of the Civil War the population of 60,000, or so, 
about filled the area covered by the original plan of Major L'En- 
fant, but very few municipal improvements had been made. The 
inhabitants were still dependent upon local springs for their water 
supply; there was no general system of sewage disposal; only very 
few streets were lighted and those only with oil lamps; the broad 
avenues and streets were happy playgrounds for the street urchins, 
but mostly unpaved and in many cases ungraded they were hardly 
what those of a great capital should be; finally, the parks, for 
which ample areas had been reserved in the beginning, were unim- 
proved and neglected. Contemporaneous verbal accounts and 
pictures both confirm this, even the poplars planted along Penn- 
sylvania Avenue by President Jefferson appear to have been allowed 
to die out. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 209 

Doubtless the many soldiers, politicians and business men who 
necessarily passed through Washington during and immediately 
after the War spread the news about the condition of the National 
Capital, and helped to popularize the idea that the nation at 
large would have to lend a helping hand. The first step was to 
turn over to the Chief of Engineers in 1867 the custody and care 
of the parks, since when their improvement and development have 
advanced as rapidly as appropriations have permitted. This re- 
moval of the parks from the jurisdiction of the municipal authori- 
ties was attended with such success that it was reconfirmed by 
another act of Congress in 189&. 

President Grant became especially interested in the develop- 
ment of the Capital, and was successful in obtaining legislation in 
1871 doing away with the old town government and establishing 
a territorial government. The first territorial governor remained 
in ofBce but a short time, and was succeeded by the Commissioner 
of Public Works, Alexander H. Shepherd, whose determination and 
energy in getting the most essential work done earned for him the 
appellation of "Boss" Shepherd. In only a couple of years he 
accomplished a Herculean task, grading and paving went on 
apace, a general sewage disposal system was inaugurated, the old 
Tiber Creek inclosed in a brick sewer, the water supply conduit 
tapped for immediate distribution, 3,000 gas lamps installed, and a 
Park Commission set up which planted some 60,000 trees in the 
streets, thus laying the foundation of the present tree growth (now 
about 115,000) which to such an extent gives Washington its 
unique character. 

But all this work cost money, and Governor Shepherd's assumed 
obligations being found to exceed his available funds, a serious 
squabble was started as to whether or not the Federal Govern- 
ment should pay the difference. This agitation finally ended with 
the act of June 11, 1878, which superseded the territorial govern- 
ment with the present Commission of three. 

The increase in population immediately after the Civil War re- 
sulted in the building up, without adequate thought and without 



210 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

effort to conform to the principles of L'Enfant, a number of sub- 
divisions outside the limits of his plan. The evil effects of this 
were soon recognized, and legislation in 1893, modified in 1898, 
started the extension of the street plan and set up a Highway Com- 
mission for the purpose. 

Some important park projects were adopted, notably the pur- 
chase of the land for Rock Creek Park and for the Zoological Park 
(1893), and the filling in of the Potomac tidal flats to make the 
nearly 1000 acres of the Potomac Park system. But adoption of 
only items of major importance could be obtained individually in 
this way, and the Highway Commission being concerned with 
streets did not plan for parks. It remained for Col. T. A. Bing- 
ham, officer in charge of Public Buildings and Grounds, to get 
Major L'Enfant's plan out of the files and show not only how no 
provision was being made for parks in the new parts of the city, 
but also how some of L'Enfant's major projects had been entirely 
lost sight of and were about to become forever impracticable. The 
American Institute of Architects patriotically took up the case of 
the National Capital and the centennial of the installation of the 
government here was made the occasion of a convincing and 
illuminating book on the subject. Mr. Elihu Root, then Secretary 
of War, President Roosevelt and Senator McMillan, Chairman of 
the Senate Library Committee, became converts and secured the 
authority for the appointment of a special commission of experts 
to study and make recommendations on the beautification and 
development of Washington. 

It is only necessary to name the members of this Commission, 
which has since usually been known as the McMillan Commission 
or the Commission of 1901, to indicate the quality of its work: 
Mr. Daniel H. Burnham, Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Mr. 
Charles F. McKim, and Mr. Augustus St. Gaudens. After very 
careful and intensive study, they reaffirmed the soundness of the 
L'Enfant plan and recommended its extension on a scale more 
adequate to the greater capital of a greater country and in a 
manner inspired by its spirit. They produced a report (Sen. Doc. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 211 

166, 57th Cong., 1st Sess.) of greatest interest and value, which 
has necessarily been the basis for all projects adopted since, for, 
although the Commission's plan was never adopted as a whole, it 
was so convincing that many of its major projects have been 
adopted from time to time. 

The more important of these projects already adopted are: The 
removal of the Pennsylvania Railroad station from the Mall and 
the construction of a new union station which, like a great portal 
to the city, lands the traveler on the edge of what will be the en- 
larged Capitol Plaza and in sight of the Capitol itself; the Lin- 
coln Memorial and reflecting pool; the Arlington Memorial Bridge; 
the Grant and Meade Memorials as main features of the great 
Union Plaza at the foot of the Capitol; the Rock Creek and Poto- 
mac Parkway, joining these two major park systems; the Ana- 
costia park development; some parts of the Fort Drive. 

In 1910 there was established by law a new Commission, the 
Commission of Fine Arts, to pass on monuments and government 
buildings in Washington and otherwise advise the Government on 
matters of taste and aesthetics. This Commission, not unnaturally, 
became the guardian of the plan of 1901, and has mot only helped 
materially in getting various of its projects adopted, but has also 
deserved the gratitude of the nation for the bad things it has pre- 
vented. 

The officers in charge of Public Buildings and Grounds, succes- 
sors to Col. Bingham, have also naturally followed the plan of 1901 
as far as practicable and those of its projects which have been 
adopted were taken up on his initiative. Gratifying as the progress 
has been, it has been very inadequate. The method of seeking 
legislation for one project at a time, thereby lining up against it 
the backers of other projects as well as the enemies of the particular 
one under consideration, has provided only an addition of 24% to 
the total park area in 1901, while the population has increased 70%; 
so that the acquisition of park land has progressed at little over one- 
third the rate required to keep up with the needs of the population, 
assuming the park area in 1901 was adequate for the then popula- 



212 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

tion. Worse than this, it has been extravagant, since in the same 
period of 25 years the assessed value of land in the District of 
Columbia has increased 240% that is, ten times as fast as the 
park area! 

As the Federal authorities had set an example by giving Wash- 
ington an excellent plan, and in the adoption of the Commission 
form of government, so they were also prompt to recognize the im- 
portance of zoning, and this city has now enjoyed the advantage 
of a good zoning law well administered for over 6 years. In many 
ways the benefits are already beginning to make themselves felt 
and are noticeable. 

But zoning is only a preventative against harmful or improper 
growth. The highway plan was adopted in the days of animal 
transportation and requires quite thorough revision to meet the 
requirements and take advantage of the change to automobile 
transportation and the latest developments of city planning. It 
had never been reconciled with the plan of 1901, and many features 
of the latter itself had become impracticable because of expensive 
building developments inconsistent therewith. The rapid increase 
in population since the World War has started new subdivisions 
outside of the District limits, requiring planning and control to fit 
them into a proper regional plan. Recognition of these needs, 
which this Conference would be the first to appreciate, brought 
about the formation of the National Capital Park Commission in 
1924, and its evolution into the National Capital Park and Planning 
Commission in 1926. To supplement it in its efforts for a sound 
regional plan, the States of Virginia and Maryland have set up 
Commissions to co-operate with it. 

Many dreams for the Capital seem to be at last within reach of 
realization. Their fulfillment will only be possible if the country 
at large appreciates the problem and gives its confidence to the 
Commission charged by law with the performance of this task; 
and even then results will be possible only if the Nation's confi- 
dence is expressed by its representatives' votes in Congress and by 
the necessary appropriations. 



BRINGING THE L'ENFANT PLAN UP TO DATE 

CHARLES W. ELIOT, 2ND, City Planner, National Capital Park and 
Planning Commission 

In 1791 Major Charles Peter L'Enfant, working under the per- 
sonal direction of President Washington and Secretary of State 
Jefferson, laid down a plan covering 9.6 square miles for the Federal 
City which proved sufficient to provide for the growth of Washing- 
ton for seventy-five years. 

The National Capital Park and Planning Commission is now 
engaged in the preparation of a master plan for the region into 
which the influence of Washington is likely to extend in the next 
seventy-five years. 

WASHINGTON REGION AND OTHER CENTERS 
The Washington Region is one of a series of great Metropolitan 
areas scattered along the Atlantic seaboard and must be planned 
in relation to the probable development of Baltimore and other 
centers of attraction. As the National Capital is becoming more 
and more a convention city and mecca for tourists, the locations of 
historic or scenic areas, such as Gettysburg and the Shenandoah 
Valley, have a definite bearing on the plan. 

POPULATION OF THE REGION 

The region chosen for general study lies within an approximate 
radius of 20 miles from the White House and includes an area of 
1539 square miles. The relative density of population in different 
parts of the region has been shown on a Density Map by contours 
and shading in the manner of the recent Philadelphia Report. 

The most densely populated area in the region is, naturally, in 
the District of Columbia. The Census Bureau's Enumeration Dis- 
trict showing the greatest concentration works out at 252 people 

213 



214 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

per acre, but when we came to look it up, we found that district 
was the jail. The highest density in an ordinary residential area is 
120 per gross acre. 

Investigations into the housing conditions of this population 
have been carried to some length within the District of Columbia. 
These investigations show that 29% of the dwelling units construc- 
ted since 1920 are apartments, 32% row houses and 39% detached 
and semi-detached houses. 540,000 people occupy 5500 net acres, 
but those who dwell in apartments, 73,000 of them, use only 238 
acres. 

JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES 

The exact outlines of the region remain somewhat indefinite, but 
for convenience of discussion the far sides of the counties of Mont- 
gomery and Prince Georges in Maryland and of Fairfax in Virginia 
have been used. 

The Region is divided in jurisdiction between Maryland, Virginia, 
the District of Columbia and the Federal Government. In Mary- 
land a new planning district and commission has just been set up 
by act of the last legislature to supplement the work of the Wash- 
ington Suburban Sanitary Commission. The Maryland Capital 
Park and Planning Commission has power to plan, zone and pur- 
chase parks. In Arlington County, across the river, the Virginia 
Legislature has just set up a new Zoning Commission to supplement 
the work of the Virginia Capital Park and Planning Commission 
which has been co-operating with the Federal Commission for the 
last year. The parts of Maryland and Virginia covered by these 
recent acts are the most active suburban areas around Washington 
and therefore the scene of the regional planning work of our Com- 
mission. Together with the District of Columbia they comprise a 
total of 246 square miles. 

PHYSICAL FEATURES OF THE REGION 

The chief physical feature of the Washington Region is a great 
Y, formed by the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Between the 
arms of the Y lies the old city, designed by L'Enfant, with the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 215 

"President's Palace", or White House, looking straight down the 
River. The end of the left arm marks the turn of the Potomac 
River at Great Falls. The right arm follows Indian Creek and the 
route to Camp Meade and Baltimore. Mt. Vernon and Fort Wash- 
ington form the base of the Y where the river broadens to receive 
Little Hunting Creek and the Piscataway. 

Branching from the stem of the Y are numerous streams which 
cut deeply into the land, leaving a series of ridges running parallel 
with the arms of the Y. The more important of these streams are 
Hunting Creek and Four Mile Run on the west or Virginia shore 
and Broad Creek or Henson Creek and Oxon Run on the Maryland 
side. The city of Alexandria lies just north of Hunting Creek. 

Almost directly on a line with the stem of the Y, Rock Creek 
extends northward six miles to the north corner of the District of 
Columbia, whence it turns generally northwest. Other streams 
branch more perpendicularly from the arms of the Y, such as the 
Northwest, Sligo and Paint Branches northwest from the eastern 
arm and Little Falls Branch, Minnehaha Creek and Cabin John 
Creek branching northeast from the western arm. In a smiliar 
manner, Cabin Branch, Beaver Dam Creek and Briar Ditch cut 
into the hills east of the Anacostia and Pimmit, Turkey, Dead, 
Scott and Difficult Runs cut the Virginia Palisades of the 
Potomac. 

HIGHWAY DIAGRAMS RADIALS 

Studies for the development of a system of highways of regional 
importance have been prepared with the advice of Harland Bar- 
tholomew and Associates. A scheme for radial traffic lines is 
shown herewith which would bring the traffic into the congested 
area of the city at different points and which would serve all parts 
of the region. Some of the main lines of this scheme are easily 
recognized as 16th Street, Massachusetts Avenue extended to River 
Road, Connecticut Avenue, Baltimore Boulevard, etc. New lines 
are also shown using New York Avenue, Michigan Avenue, Nichols 
Avenue, etc. 



216 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

CONNECTIONS 

Cross-connections between these main highways must be pro- 
vided as well as by-passes around existing local centers. Two major 
by-pass routes are shown on this diagram which would avoid the 
center of the city. The route to the east would connect the county 
seats of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties and provide a 
new route to and from Frederick and the Peninsula. The route 
to the west, bearing the name "Ma-Va Highway" as suggested by 
Major Brown, Engineer of the Commission, would provide a direct 
route from Baltimore and the north to points south of the Potomac 
without entering the District of Columbia. This highway has been 
suggested as a part of a great intra-coastal route from Maine to 
the Valley of Virginia. 

CENTERS 

Where the Regional Highways cross each other local centers are 
likely to develop. The location of these possible centers in relation 
to the topography is graphically shown on a diagram on which the 
rougher land is shown shaded. Since every cross-roads is a poten- 
tial center, we are concerned to have the main highways intersect 
at points where development may reasonably be encouraged. 

HIGHWAYS AND OPEN SPACES 

The relation between the highway and open space studies of the 
Commission is shown on a diagram which clearly indicates an 
attempt to control the growth of the city along the lines suggested 
by Mr. Arthur C. Comey in his pamphlet "A Reply to the British 
Challenge." It is also suggested that the wedges of open space 
may some day prove important as defining the air-ways of the 
future. Promiscuous flying over cities can not last indefinitely and 
when definite routes are indicated the danger to those on the earth 
from falling objects may require the flyers to stay over the rela- 
tively open or sparsely occupied areas. 

POINTS OF INTEREST 

In order to determine the areas of greatest interest for park 
purposes, well-known authorities in different fields have been asked 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 233 

SIZE 

There was originally much doubt as to the most expedient size 
for these "play-parks." A few were tried under ten acres in size. 
These have all since been enlarged at great expense. Some were of 
about ten acres, some about twenty acres, one forty acres and one 
sixty acres. Experience has definitely established that about 20 
acres is most efficient; those very much smaller than 20 acres 
providing insufficient variety of activities or insufficient capacity 
or both and involving an excessive overhead expense; those 
greatly in excess of 20 acres proving needlessly large for the local 
requirements of the population conveniently accessible. 

FACILITIES INCLUDED 

The recreation facilities which have been found by a process of 
trial and error to be most valuable and practically necessary to 
maximum efficiency per dollar of cost are these : 

A Field House with an assembly hall, club rooms, and a branch 
library and reading room. 

Indoor gymnasia for men and for women. 

Outdoor gymnasia for men and for women. 

Shower baths and lockers. 

Swimming pool with dressing booths or lockers. 

Little children's playground with wading pool and sand pits. 

Athletic field for sports and community gatherings. 

Tennis courts and other special outdoor game areas when dis- 
tinct from athletic field. 

All the above, together with trees, walks, benches, hedges, shrub- 
bery and limited amounts of turf and various incidental objects 
being so arranged and designed and maintained as to produce a 
really pleasant and refreshing environment while accomplishing 
the specific services indicated in a compact and efficient way. 

At the time one Chicago "small park" was built the citizens of 
the neighborhood, fearing that a swimming pool would attract 
rowdies and be noisy, prevailed upon the commissioners to omit 

it from their plans. Now that the park is built there is no place 
16 



234 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

for the pool which the neighborhood organizations are quite as 
vigorously seeking to have installed. 

PERSONNEL AND MANAGEMENT 

A first-rate director in complete charge of the operation of each 
"play park" working under the control of an able general manager 
is essential, for the purpose not only of giving good service but of 
informing the public of the service obtainable "selling" the ser- 
vice to the public and adapting the service to developing local 
public needs. 

The experiences of the South Park Commission with their 
original ten parks led them to this conclusion when they decided 
to put directors into each park to see that the public was not only 
served when it came and asked for a particular service but that it 
was acquainted with the opportunities of the park and invited to 
use them, encouraged and assisted in securing the greatest value 
possible from the facilities at its disposal. 

The present director has been at Davis Square a year and one 
half. His predecessor was requested to resign because the park 
under his administration was characterized by disorder through 
his incompetency to control the youngsters who came. The pres- 
ent director is reaping the fruits of this regime in the attitude to- 
ward order with which the children now approach the park. In- 
dicative of the character of the men who are retained as directors 
in the system is the fact that the present director at the end of a 
year's service in this park refused an opportunity to transfer to 
Ogden Park because of his interest in the park and the work he 
started, in what many others regard as a rather hopeless community 
on which to spend one's efforts. 

A very concrete instance of the value of the park is presented by 
the present men's gymnasium instructor at Sherman Park, one 
of the best in the system, who was a rowdy youngster at Davis 
Square years ago, got there an ambition to do the sort of work he 
saw done in the park and put himself through a physical education 
college in order to qualify. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 235 

ATTRACTIONS PROMOTED 

It has been found of immense value to develop a great variety 
of interesting healthful activities, competitive and otherwise. The 
plan brought into the park activities many persons who were not 
especially attracted by athletics or gymnastic work and added to 
the program the artistic, dramatic, and social activities in which 
they were interested. 

An elaborate system of scoring "points" for proficiency ex- 
hibited in each one of these activities has been devised, and a 
healthy rivalry has been established between the various neigh- 
borhoods for all-around distinction. 

At the end of each month the Supremacy Banner was awarded 
to the park having the greatest number of points at that time, to 
be flown at the park flagstaff for that month. In the competition 
were such contests as these: seven weight classes in basketball, 
wrestling, three classes for men and four for women in volley ball, 
the paper flower show, kite flying, swimming, horseshoes, jack- 
stones, a gym meet and checkers. Thus it will be seen that persons 
of all ages, of both sexes, and with various abilities are given an 
opportunity and every encouragement to represent their neigh- 
borhood and make a contribution to its reputation and to its 
standing in the Supremacy Contest. 

In 1924 the number of projects promoted was increased from 
15 to 58 and in 1925 jumped to 120. 

Among the projects promoted in 1925 were rug weaving, ice 
skating meets, wrestling, radio set making, marbles, roller skating, 
junior Olympic meet, playground ball, doll show, pushmobile 
races, sandcraft exhibit, Mardi Gras parade, lantern parades, a 
safety campaign, harmonica and toy making. 

PERSONAL INTEREST STORIES EXTRACTED FROM THE REPORT 
The value of the newer elements of the park program is illus- 
trated in the case of Johnny Rappold, who holds several records 
in model airplane flying and is one of the foremost experts in the 
country. About a half year after he took up this new interest in 



236 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the park he gave up his previous major activity shooting " craps." 
Largely as a result of his new interest he went back to school and 
is now working as a draftsman in order to secure expenses for 
engineering college. He was given a leave of absence for a week 
during which time he conducted a model airplane school in Cedar 
Rapids. The second day he had about 150 airplanes in the air 
and by the end of the week he had his pupils making better records 
than many of the South Park boys after two years. The appeal 
of the mechanical work often supersedes the appeal of physical 
activities. An old athlete at McKinley Park has taken over a 
group of boys interested in airplane building and proposed the 
idea which gave rise to the South Park Patent Office. This patent 
system protects a boy in the use of his ideas until after the next 
competition. As a consequence he shares them with other boys 
in advance and they are stimulated to innovations of their own. 

Here the case of Hans Hart is to the point. Hans was crippled 
early in life but lived in a community in which physical prowess 
was the supreme value of life. His enthusiasm for athletics made 
him manager for most of the teams but his great ambition was to 
be able to play on the team himself. In secret he developed his 
good muscles and his arms and chest made up for what his legs 
lacked. Along came the Junior Olympics. Hans was entered 
in the chinning event and had to be lifted up to the bar. When he 
was lifted down he was told that his record of thirty-two pull-ups 
was the world record for a boy of his age group and he was awarded 
a gold medal. The joy of this boy and his friends almost overcame 
them. 

Bob White, a fourteen year old member of the Ogden Park sail- 
boat club, built a model yacht which came in only a few inches 
behind an imported prize-winner sailed by an experienced (adult) 
model maker in the competition a year ago. This year it beat the 
imported model and another made by its owner in an effort to 
beat the boy's own boat. 

Harry Motis was a puny lad when Cornell Square opened in 
1905 and went there to toss a ball around. At the time he belonged 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 237 

to a boys' gang whose chief occupation was to get drunk. By 
accident he noticed at the end of a summer of play in the park 
that his muscles were being developed and he set out with the 
ambition of developing himself fully. Five years later he posed at 
the Art Institute as the most nearly perfect specimen of human 
physical development that could be found in the city. That year 
he won the National Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, a 
matter of five years! 

An example of one type of club meeting at Cornell Square and 
at other parks as well is the Delmar Club. In January, 1915, the 
director of the park formed a dancing class of 24 older boys and 
girls. Following their first meeting, he saw the possibilities of 
organizing a club of the group, and appointed officers for this 
purpose. The name, "Junior Americans" was chosen first, but 
this was changed later to "Delmar Club," meaning "Sailors of the 
Sea." Since the club was organized it has never missed a Thursday 
evening meeting. At present there are seventy active members, 
representing forty families in the community, and ranging from 
18 to 23 years of age. Every time an active member marries, two 
names are added to the honorary membership. During the last 
six years every marriage of a member has been to another member. 

"Special interest clubs" draw individuals from considerable 
distances. One woman comes twenty miles from the north side 
to the Quilting Club. She saw a newspaper story of the club and 
was glad to meet with others interested in her hobby. One boy 
comes more than five miles by street car to the sailboat club. A 
woman interested in dramatics comes sixteen miles from the west 
side. These cases are indicative of what happens in less extreme 
form in many others. 

AREA SERVED 

Distance, as a barrier to attendance, is negligible up to a quarter 
of a mile and becomes serious at a rapidly increasing rate above 
half a mile. The detailed studies of attendance are very inter- 
esting but are too voluminous to be here presented. 



238 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Such barriers as broad bands of railroad tracks, unbroken 
stretches of industrial property, and rivers or lakes constitute very 
definite limits to the area served. This is illustrated in the case of 
Davis Square and Grand Crossing Parks. Business streets are 
also likely to prove effective in hemming in a park especially since 
they tend to mark off the boundaries of neighborhoods and of gang 
kingdoms. If the neighborhoods are different in character the 
efficiency of the barrier is thereby increased. 

Transportation on the other hand tends to increase the area 
from which adult attendance is secured. In the case of enthusiasts 
mentioned in connection with Ogden Park this is readily seen. 

Social differences as race, color and economic class are im- 
portant in determining actual neighborhood units. 

An example of the way in which parks foster neighborliness is to 
be seen in the banding together of the Business Men's Gym Class 
and the Married Ladies' Gymnasium Class of Ogden Park to 
entertain the Volley Ball team of Grand Crossing Park after its 
contest with the Ogden Park team. The captain of the Grand 
Crossing team was a street car motorman, and one member was a 
downtown banker who called for the other members of the team 
in his car and took the team to its games. This mingling of all the 
groups of the neighborhood is characteristic of park activities. 

ATTENDANCE 

In 1924 the attendance at the 16 "small parks" of the South 
Park system was reported as follows: 

Indoor gymnasium 523,955 

Outdoor gymnasiums 906,645 

Children's playgrounds 803,406 

Assembly halls 559,232 

Club rooms 421,493 

Game rooms 26,61 8 

Library circulation 891,618 

Reading room , 644,869 

Shower baths 1,796,742 

Swimming pools 825,605 

Special events 680,765 

Sports (tennis, baseball, etc.) 2,589,363 

Total . 10,670,311 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 239 

The 1,800,000 shower baths furnished were accurately counted 
by the number of towels issued and are uniform and distinct ser- 
vices. Swimming pool attendance is likewise accurately counted 
and constitutes a very definite and distinct unit of service. Special 
events and sports are not counted but are estimated. But even 
without these estimates, which do constitute important measures 
of service in spite of their numerical inaccuracy one way or an- 
other, there remains over 700,000 services performed and ac- 
curately counted to indicate the intensive use of the parks. In 
addition there is the high proportion of park attendance of an 
informal nature, the picnicking and play of family groups out on 
the athletic field or grounds. This is difficult to estimate but it is 
certain that on warm evenings or Sunday afternoons as many as 
five thousand persons come to Ogden or Sherman Parks. 

PLACE IN THE CITY PLAN 

It is obvious that the kind of park we have been discussing, to 
attain anything like its full value, involves a serious administrative 
problem. The mere allocation of spaces for it in the city plan or 
even the most perfect planning and execution of the physical de- 
sign of the parks themselves may be rendered largely fruitless if a 
very difficult and complicated administrative task is bungled 
through political neglect or mismanagement. There is room for 
difference of opinion, in many American cities of today, as to 
whether political and administrative conditions are such as to 
justify undertakings of this character. But the immense value of 
them when reasonably well done, the at least tolerably good success 
with the equally difficult task of operating public schools, the 
manifest fact that the function of Community Recreation Center 
Parks cannot possibly be well performed except by the orderly 
and systematic distribution of such public open spaces of con- 
siderable extent in practically all the residential neighborhoods, 
just as the much smaller and more easily obtained units of school 
buildings are equitably distributed, and finally the excessive 
economic cost for demolition of buildings and closing of streets 



240 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

when these 20 acre units have to be carved out of a city grown up 
without them, make it in my opinion one of the prime require- 
ments of good city planning to provide in advance for these areas, 
even if their fullest usefulness through intensive development and 
skilled administration may be delayed by temporary defects in our 
municipal administrative mechanism. 



ECONOMIC SAVING IN CITY PLANNING 

J. C. NICHOLS, Kansas City, Mo., Member, National Capital Park and 
Planning Commission 

Public conception of city planning is rapidly passing from an 
idealistic to a practical appreciation. While the planner has always 
pointed out the great economic saving to any community in proper 
planning, in most communities public opinion has confused city 
planning with merely the ornamentation of a city, including such 
things as parks and playgrounds, or perhaps a Civic Center. 

The growing acuteness of automobile congestion in all our popu- 
lation centers which, in my opinion the planners themselves 
have hardly begun to solve is forcing upon the public, and our 
municipal officers, the dire economic need of better planning to 
meet this rapidly changing condition in the size and number of our 
transportation units. 

The rapidly increasing rate of taxation in all our municipalities 
since the War is becoming a terrific burden in many of our cities 
and is causing the public to appreciate from an economic stand- 
point the need of more careful planning in building our cities here- 
after, to avoid the later and greater corrective costs. 

The network of Federal Aid and rural highways concentrating 
great loads of traffic on both small towns and large cities, is also 
awakening the public conscience to the economic need of studying 
the handling of this type of traffic. 

The rapidly increasing tendency of business to move from down- 
town districts to suburban neighborhood shopping centers, ac- 
centuated by the building of outlying apartments and kitchenettes, 
neighborhood picture shows, filling stations and chain stores, has 
thrust city planning problems particularly zoning into the 
residential areas of nearly all urban communities. 

241 



242 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

The belated acquirement of publicly needed land for parks, 
playgrounds, school buildings, boulevards, trafficways, and other 
public uses at excessive costs, has made the most practical business 
men realize the need of earlier purchase of such lands. From an 
economic standpoint it seldom pays to delay the acquirement of 
any property, as soon as foreplanning makes evident the ultimate 
need. In Washington growing as it is this is undoubtedly true, 
and a large bond issue of not less than Ten Million Dollars is justi- 
fied, purely from economic bases of saving money in the long run. 

Even small towns and small cities are today finding it necessary 
to spend immense sums of money in street widening, undreamed 
of a few years ago. Many towns of only a few thousand population 
which were formerly striving to draw traffic into their main busi- 
ness street, are today planning to divert such traffic, in order to 
maintain even their business property values. 

Large downtown property holders and merchants have finally 
awakened to the economic loss to trade and property value in a 
street saturated with traffic. Even the realtor, who for almost a 
century had relied upon the axiom that too wide a street hurts 
business property values, has begun to realize that there is a greater 
loss in the narrow street. 

Some of our more far-seeing merchants are beginning to oppose 
the erection of very tall office buildings adjoining or near their 
stores, realizing that too much traffic may injure their business. 
And in many of our cities the leading merchants are the ones who, 
today, are advocating a better city plan to provide for traffic, are 
supporting zoning, and working to make a more orderly and effi- 
cient city, purely and simply upon the grounds of economic value 
to their property and salvation of their business, rather than from 
an aesthetic impulse. 

The increased cost today of the installation of street improve- 
ments paid for by the property owner, either directly or indirectly, 
has increased so greatly since the War that even the small property 
holder has begun to question the need of standardized street widths 
and street improvements, frequently burdening the modest home 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 243 

on the minor residential street with a cost far beyond the needs of 
their locality. 

Municipal engineers, who have been rather slow to vary from 
standardized widths and character of street improvements, are 
beginning to realize the economic necessity of greater differentia- 
tion to meet the various needs. The doctrine of the city planner 
for the past twenty years has begun to bear fruit, and our munici- 
palities finally have recognized that there should be as careful 
study of street widths, paving, sidewalk and curb widths and 
grades upon a street, as of the size of water, gas and sewer mains. 

The public is beginning to conceive the fact that the automobile 
has annihilated distance and that blocks may be greatly length- 
enedparticularly in residential areas where the greater length of 
the block does not conflict with the main arteries of traffic. Many 
of our subdividers throughout the country are making many 
blocks as long as 1,000 to 1,200 feet or more in length in such cases, 
and saving money for the subdivider, the lot buyer, and the 
municipality. 

Every unnecessary street improvement creates a perpetual 
burden of street maintenance, policing, street lighting, cleaning 
and repairing. The great saving being effected in this manner by 
city planners for the municipality and the property owners is 
making it possible to procure many wider main highways at points 
of strategic advantage and still effect a vital saving. This is also 
assisting the bringing about of a better adaptation and segregation 
of property uses in the various parts of a town or city. 

It is as important to plan the things tending to discourage busi- 
ness or excessive travel on a quiet residential street as to concen- 
trate travel on the main trafficways. 

The example of the street plans of the better subdivisions 
throughout the country, which have adapted their street layouts 
to the topography of the land, has been so successful in many ways, 
that the street locations of many of our cities are being better 
adapted, with the support of the municipal authorities them- 
selves, to the topography of the land. 



244 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Washington, our capital city, is a splendid example of this 
change in sentiment and practice. The 1898 Street Plan impinged 
a checkerboard plan of streets with short blocks, throughout all 
these beautiful hills and valleys. As a result of this plan, the 
realtor was almost forced to grade down his lots, at immense cost, 
to a monotonous level, losing all the forests trees of this region, and 
resulting in large sections of our capital city becoming character- 
less and unattractive. Beyond the boundaries of the old L'Enfant 
Plan, it was extremely difficult for the realtor to develop his proper- 
ties in a manner to create any particular charm or individual appeal 
in character. Beautifully timbered valleys and delightful streams 
were filled, and entirely obliterated the streams converted into 
storm sewers often at a cost greater than the acquirement of the 
whole valley and stream for park purposes would have been. 

Here, again, the Washington realtor soon began to realize the 
economic saving to the community itself in a re-study of these 
street plans, and their better adaptation to the peculiar contours of 
the land, and the conservation of the valleys and brooks for park 
purposes. This re-study is receiving the enthusiastic cooperation 
of all the District and Federal authorities, and the National Capital 
Park and Planning Commission is hopeful that a saving can be 
effected which will eventually amount to as much as the entire cost 
of the acquirement, at this time, of all our proposed parks, play- 
grounds, historical sites, and desirable points of interest within the 
District. 

We also have the striking example within the District of large 
areas of practically undeveloped land making a heavy burden on 
the District, as well as on the property in those areas. While in 
northwest Washington we have a remarkable concentrated move- 
ment and development largely in one direction. Our capital city 
certainly is woefully lop-sided in its growth. 

One of the big problems and duties of the National Commission 
from purely an economic standpoint is to so plan the future 
street and boulevard system of the Capital, the regional highways, 
transportation lines, bridges, and the distribution of recreational 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 245 

areas and property uses through zoning regulations, so as to bring 
about more evenly balanced distribution of this rapidly growing 
population and intensive property uses throughout the District 
and the regions beyond. 

From the mere standpoint of the cost of operating a city, or 
securing greater income from taxes on property throughout the 
whole city, Washington affords an excellent example of the eco- 
nomic advantage of better planning, to direct a more normal bal- 
anced growth of the city in all directions. 

You are confronted here with values as low as five hundred 
dollars per acre within three or four miles of the capitol building 
in one direction, as compared with values of twenty-five thousand 
dollars, or more, per acre within the same distance in another 
direction. City planning, in this instance, has the even more diffi- 
cult task of establishing and creating sentimental values of creat- 
ing a property morale so important in any city. It is perhaps as 
difficult as overcoming blighted residential areas, or restoring an 
abandoned business section by replanning such areas. 

Another factor relating to a recent urban or semi-urban develop- 
ment, is the character of property improvement extending along 
the highways leading in and out of our cities and towns. Property 
owners are beginning to realize that unless these highways are prop- 
erly zoned, great losses in property values frequently occur from 
the intrusion of property uses of injurious character. 

Too great a concentration of travel on certain of these highways 
is taking away a large part of the value of property facing the high- 
way. And the property owners in the semi-urban areas surround- 
ing many of our cities are realizing the economic necessity of a 
more intelligent planning of their highway system and more com- 
plete zoning regulations for the uses of their property. 

One of the most striking examples of the great economic loss 
that results from the lack of planning in the broad sense is the 
increasing number of uncontrolled outlying shopping centers being 
built in all our cities. In most instances little provision is being 
made for wider streets to adapt these business centers to modern 



246 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

transportation needs, and many communities are blindly proceed- 
ing to build a great number of outlying business centers where the 
traffic congestion will soon become an acute problem. It is to be 
regretted that with the striking example of present congestion in 
the downtown streets, the public seems willing to see a repetition of 
this condition in their suburban business sections. 

It is not too late to plan properly these new outlying centers. 
The desecration of residential areas by the generally disorderly, 
crowded, and flimsy type of store buildings which usually pioneer 
a neighborhood business center, is so apparent and the damage to 
the surrounding residential properties so great, that it seems as if 
every municipality would hasten to extend its zoning regulations 
into all its outlying sections. With this problem right before their 
eyes, it also seems that the suburban belt surrounding every city 
would hasten to zone its region and plan its highways to control 
and regulate the business development which will sooner or later 
crowd into it. It is not too late and it is still fair to all, to provide 
ample highways, wide streets and alleys, interior loading courts, 
and zone for extremely low building heights in definitely limited 
outlying business areas. 

There are few examples of greater and more immediate economic 
savings in city planning than the proper planning for outlying busi- 
ness centers whether within the city or the surrounding region. 
The cost generally is so great in corrective planning in the highly 
developed areas of our cities that it frequently becomes a question 
of doubt as to the comparative value received. From the economic 
standpoint of getting the most we can for our money, certainly we 
should direct part of our thought and study to the newer and more 
undeveloped regions, which are still plastic and whose frame is not 
so hardened. And to this end, your National Commission, with the 
splendid cooperation of the authorities in Virginia and Maryland, 
are disregarding the District line and endeavoring to plan for this 
entire outlying region to provide ultimately for a population of 
not less than two million people in Greater Washington. 

All these instances are but a few typical examples of the economic 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 247 

saving possible in city planning, and apply to all our towns, cities, 
and semi-urban regions throughout the United States. 

A great amount of splendid work has been done in Washington, 
from the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and 
Major L'Enfant. It is an inspiration to have the wonderful oppor- 
tunity to carry on the great original diagram and continued pro- 
gram which really never has been forgotten, but which has recurred 
again and again, at critical times, to direct the destiny of Washing- 
ton. In many things we are desperately late and great economic 
losses have already resulted from delay. But in many, many ways 
the opportunity is still so great that it challenges the vision, the 
daring and the patriotism of all of us. 

We wish and need the cooperation of the city planners through- 
out this entire country. 

All together, we should make Washington and the surrounding 
regions not only the most beautiful, most orderly and most efficient 
community in our land but let us make it the best example of 
economic saving that will accrue to any community from careful, 
conservative, but determined and courageous planning for the cen- 
turies through which our beloved Capital shall endure. 



PROGRESS IN ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 

CHARLES H. CHENEY, City Planner, Los Angeles, California 

Proud as we are of many things in Washington, why is it that 
after a hundred years of building, and despite the many millions 
spent by the Nation, we find in our national capital, only 25% of a 
city? Why do we as a nation, who know how to organize and do 
other things so well, continue to permit that 75% of ugly, de- 
pressing and absolutely out of place building in the one city that 
should be as near perfect as we can make it? 

Why is it that only about 10% of the buildings of New York 
City or of Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco or of Los Angeles, 
are sufficiently good or attractive to be worthy of permanent life? 
In fifty years more than half of the buildings in most of our cities 
will be torn down, not because they are unsafe in framing, but 
because their exterior appearance ruins the value of the street. 
How long will we continue to put a premium on the careless builder, 
the cheap contractor and the ugly junk, the shoddy building, the 
off-color and bad design, which not only depreciate their neighbors 
so insidiously and unfairly but, worst of all, blight the attractive- 
ness and the value of what little good architecture there is, and 
break down that love of home and of the finer things of life, which 
must be the mainstay of every city? 

These are pressing economic and social problems of far-reaching 
importance, not only to real estate and business, but to the whole 
human structure of a city. Behind them there are deeper, less 
tangible but very important and precious spiritual values of life 
that must be conserved at any cost. 

A new consciousness is abroad today demanding a constructive 
answer and a definite solution of these problems. At many scat- 
tered points across the country definite steps are being taken. 

248 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 233 

SIZE 

There was originally much doubt as to the most expedient size 
for these "play-parks." A few were tried under ten acres in size. 
These have all since been enlarged at great expense. Some were of 
about ten acres, some about twenty acres, one forty acres and one 
sixty acres. Experience has definitely established that about 20 
acres is most efficient; those very much smaller than 20 acres 
providing insufficient variety of activities or insufficient capacity 
or both and involving an excessive overhead expense; those 
greatly in excess of 20 acres proving needlessly large for the local 
requirements of the population conveniently accessible. 

FACILITIES INCLUDED 

The recreation facilities which have been found by a process of 
trial and error to be most valuable and practically necessary to 
maximum efficiency per dollar of cost are these : 

A Field House with an assembly hall, club rooms, and a branch 
library and reading room. 

Indoor gymnasia for men and for women. 

Outdoor gymnasia for men and for women. 

Shower baths and lockers. 

Swimming pool with dressing booths or lockers. 

Little children's playground with wading pool and sand pits. 

Athletic field for sports and community gatherings. 

Tennis courts and other special outdoor game areas when dis- 
tinct from athletic field. 

All the above, together with trees, walks, benches, hedges, shrub- 
bery and limited amounts of turf and various incidental objects 
being so arranged and designed and maintained as to produce a 
really pleasant and refreshing environment while accomplishing 
the specific services indicated in a compact and efficient way. 

At the time one Chicago "small park" was built the citizens of 

the neighborhood, fearing that a swimming pool would attract 

rowdies and be noisy, prevailed upon the commissioners to omit 

it from their plans. Now that the park is built there is no place 

16 



234 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

for the pool which the neighborhood organizations are quite as 
vigorously seeking to have installed. 

PERSONNEL AND MANAGEMENT 

A first-rate director in complete charge of the operation of each 
"play park" working under the control of an able general manager 
is essential, for the purpose not only of giving good service but of 
informing the public of the service obtainable "selling" the ser- 
vice to the public and adapting the service to developing local 
public needs. 

The experiences of the South Park Commission with their 
original ten parks led them to this conclusion when they decided 
to put directors into each park to see that the public was not only 
served when it came and asked for a particular service but that it 
was acquainted with the opportunities of the park and invited to 
use them, encouraged and assisted in securing the greatest value 
possible from the facilities at its disposal. 

The present director has been at Davis Square a year and one 
half. His predecessor was requested to resign because the park 
under his administration was characterized by disorder through 
his incompetency to control the youngsters who came. The pres- 
ent director is reaping the fruits of this regime in the attitude to- 
ward order with which the children now approach the park. In- 
dicative of the character of the men who are retained as directors 
in the system is the fact that the present director at the end of a 
year's service in this park refused an opportunity to transfer to 
Ogden Park because of his interest in the park and the work he 
started, in what many others regard as a rather hopeless community 
on which to spend one's efforts. 

A very concrete instance of the value of the park is presented by 
the present men's gymnasium instructor at Sherman Park, one 
of the best in the system, who was a rowdy youngster at Davis 
Square years ago, got there an ambition to do the sort of work he 
saw done in the park and put himself through a physical education 
college in order to qualify. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 235 

ATTRACTIONS PROMOTED 

It has been found of immense value to develop a great variety 
of interesting healthful activities, competitive and otherwise. The 
plan brought into the park activities many persons who were not 
especially attracted by athletics or gymnastic work and added to 
the program the artistic, dramatic, and social activities in which 
they were interested. 

An elaborate system of scoring "points" for proficiency ex- 
hibited in each one of these activities has been devised, and a 
healthy rivalry has been established between the various neigh- 
borhoods for all-around distinction. 

At the end of each month the Supremacy Banner was awarded 
to the park having the greatest number of points at that time, to 
be flown at the park flagstaff for that month. In the competition 
were such contests as these: seven weight classes in basketball, 
wrestling, three classes for men and four for women in volley ball, 
the paper flower show, kite flying, swimming, horseshoes, jack- 
stones, a gym meet and checkers. Thus it will be seen that persons 
of all ages, of both sexes, and with various abilities are given an 
opportunity and every encouragement to represent their neigh- 
borhood and make a contribution to its reputation and to its 
standing in the Supremacy Contest, 

In 1924 the number of projects promoted was increased from 
15 to 58 and in 1925 jumped to 120. 

Among the projects promoted in 1925 were rug weaving, ice 
skating meets, wrestling, radio set making, marbles, roller skating, 
junior Olympic meet, playground ball, doll show, pushmobile 
races, sandcraft exhibit, Mardi Gras parade, lantern parades, a 
safety campaign, harmonica and toy making. 

PERSONAL INTEREST STORIES EXTRACTED FROM THE REPORT 
The value of the newer elements of the park program is illus- 
trated in the case of Johnny Rappold, who holds several records 
in model airplane flying and is one of the foremost experts in the 
country. About a half year after he took up this new interest in 



236 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

the park he gave up his previous major activity shooting " craps." 
Largely as a result of his new interest he went back to school and 
is now working as a draftsman in order to secure expenses for 
engineering college. He was given a leave of absence for a week 
during which time he conducted a model airplane school in Cedar 
Rapids. The second day he had about 150 airplanes in the air 
and by the end of the week he had his pupils making better records 
than many of the South Park boys after two years. The appeal 
of the mechanical work often supersedes the appeal of physical 
activities. An old athlete at McKinley Park has taken over a 
group of boys interested in airplane building and proposed the 
idea which gave rise to the South Park Patent Office. This patent 
system protects a boy in the use of his ideas until after the next 
competition. As a consequence he shares them with other boys 
in advance and they are stimulated to innovations of their own. 

Here the case of Hans Hart is to the point. Hans was crippled 
early in life but lived in a community in which physical prowess 
was the supreme value of life. His enthusiasm for athletics made 
him manager for most of the teams but his great ambition was to 
be able to play on the team himself. In secret he developed his 
good muscles and his arms and chest made up for what his legs 
lacked. Along came the Junior Olympics. Hans was entered 
in the chinning event and had to be lifted up to the bar. When he 
was lifted down he was told that his record of thirty-two pull-ups 
was the world record for a boy of his age group and he was awarded 
a gold medal. The joy of this boy and his friends almost overcame 
them. 

Bob White, a fourteen year old member of the Ogden Park sail- 
boat club, built a model yacht which came in only a few inches 
behind an imported prize-winner sailed by an experienced (adult) 
model maker in the competition a year ago. This year it beat the 
imported model and another made by its owner in an effort to 
beat the boy's own boat. 

Harry Motis was a puny lad when Cornell Square opened in 
1905 and went there to toss a ball around. At the time he belonged 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 237 

to a boys' gang whose chief occupation was to get drunk. By 
accident he noticed at the end of a summer of play in the park 
that his muscles were being developed and he set out with the 
ambition of developing himself fully. Five years later he posed at 
the Art Institute as the most nearly perfect specimen of human 
physical development that could be found in the city. That year 
he won the National Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, a 
matter of five years! 

An example of one type of club meeting at Cornell Square and 
at other parks as well is the Delmar Club. In January, 1915, the 
director of the park formed a dancing class of 24 older boys and 
girls. Following their first meeting, he saw the possibilities of 
organizing a club of the group, and appointed officers for this 
purpose. The name, "Junior Americans" was chosen first, but 
this was changed later to "Delmar Club," meaning "Sailors of the 
Sea." Since the club was organized it has never missed a Thursday 
evening meeting. At present there are seventy active members, 
representing forty families in the community, and ranging from 
18 to 23 years of age. Every time an active member marries, two 
names are added to the honorary membership. During the last 
six years every marriage of a member has been to another member. 

"Special interest clubs" draw individuals from considerable 
distances. One woman comes twenty miles from the north side 
to the Quilting Club. She saw a newspaper story of the club and 
was glad to meet with others interested in her hobby. One boy 
comes more than five miles by street car to the sailboat club. A 
woman interested in dramatics comes sixteen miles from the west 
side. These cases are indicative of what happens in less extreme 
form in many others. 

AREA SERVED 

Distance, as a barrier to attendance, is negligible up to a quarter 
of a mile and becomes serious at a rapidly increasing rate above 
half a mile. The detailed studies of attendance are very inter- 
esting but are too voluminous to be here presented. 



238 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Such barriers as broad bands of railroad tracks, unbroken 
stretches of industrial property, and rivers or lakes constitute very 
definite limits to the area served. This is illustrated in the case of 
Davis Square and Grand Crossing Parks. Business streets are 
also likely to prove effective in hemming in a park especially since 
they tend to mark off the boundaries of neighborhoods and of gang 
kingdoms. If the neighborhoods are different in character the 
efficiency of the barrier is thereby increased. 

Transportation on the other hand tends to increase the area 
from which adult attendance is secured. In the case of enthusiasts 
mentioned in connection with Ogden Park this is readily seen. 

Social differences as race, color and economic class are im- 
portant in determining actual neighborhood units. 

An example of the way in which parks foster neighborliness is to 
be seen in the banding together of the Business Men's Gym Class 
and the Married Ladies' Gymnasium Class of Ogden Park to 
entertain the Volley Ball team of Grand Crossing Park after its 
contest with the Ogden Park team. The captain of the Grand 
Crossing team was a street car motorman, and one member was a 
downtown banker who called for the other members of the team 
in his car and took the team to its games. This mingling of all the 
groups of the neighborhood is characteristic of park activities. 

ATTENDANCE 

In 1924 the attendance at the 16 "small parks" of the South 
Park system was reported as follows: 

Indoor gymnasium 523,955 

Outdoor gymnasiums 906,645 

Children's playgrounds 803,406 

Assembly halls 559,232 

Club rooms 421,493 

Game rooms 26,618 

Library circulation 891,618 

Reading room 644,869 

Shower baths 1,796,742 

Swimming pools 825,605 

Special events 680,765 

Sports (tennis, baseball, etc.) 2,589,363 

Total.. . 10,670,311 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 239 

The 1,800,000 shower baths furnished were accurately counted 
by the number of towels issued and are uniform and distinct ser- 
vices. Swimming pool attendance is likewise accurately counted 
and constitutes a very definite and distinct unit of service. Special 
events and sports are not counted but are estimated. But even 
without these estimates, which do constitute important measures 
of service in spite of their numerical inaccuracy one way or an- 
other, there remains over 700,000 services performed and ac- 
curately counted to indicate the intensive use of the parks. In 
addition there is the high proportion of park attendance of an 
informal nature, the picnicking and play of family groups out on 
the athletic field or grounds. This is difficult to estimate but it is 
certain that on warm evenings or Sunday afternoons as many as 
five thousand persons come to Ogden or Sherman Parks. 

PLACE IN THE CITY PLAN 

It is obvious that the kind of park we have been discussing, to 
attain anything like its full value, involves a serious administrative 
problem. The mere allocation of spaces for it in the city plan or 
even the most perfect planning and execution of the physical de- 
sign of the parks themselves may be rendered largely fruitless if a 
very difficult and complicated administrative task is bungled 
through political neglect or mismanagement. There is room for 
difference of opinion, in many American cities of today, as to 
whether political and administrative conditions are such as to 
justify undertakings of this character. But the immense value of 
them when reasonably well done, the at least tolerably good success 
with the equally difficult task of operating public schools, the 
manifest fact that the function of Community Recreation Center 
Parks cannot possibly be well performed except by the orderly 
and systematic distribution of such public open spaces of con- 
siderable extent in practically all the residential neighborhoods, 
just as the much smaller and more easily obtained units of school 
buildings are equitably distributed, and finally the excessive 
economic cost for demolition of buildings and closing of streets 



240 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

when these 20 acre units have to be carved out of a city grown up 
without them, make it in my opinion one of the prime require- 
ments of good city planning to provide in advance for these areas, 
even if their fullest usefulness through intensive development and 
skilled administration may be delayed by temporary defects in our 
municipal administrative mechanism. 



ECONOMIC SAVING IN CITY PLANNING 

J. C. NICHOLS, Kansas City, Mo., Member, National Capital Park and 
Planning Commission 

Public conception of city planning is rapidly passing from an 
idealistic to a practical appreciation. While the planner has always 
pointed out the great economic saving to any community in proper 
planning, in most communities public opinion has confused city 
planning with merely the ornamentation of a city, including such 
things as parks and playgrounds, or perhaps a Civic Center. 

The growing acuteness of automobile congestion in all our popu- 
lation centers which, in my opinion the planners themselves 
have hardly begun to solve is forcing upon the public, and our 
municipal officers, the dire economic need of better planning to 
meet this rapidly changing condition in the size and number of our 
transportation units. 

The rapidly increasing rate of taxation in all our municipalities 
since the War is becoming a terrific burden in many of our cities 
and is causing the public to appreciate from an economic stand- 
point the need of more careful planning in building our cities here- 
after, to avoid the later and greater corrective costs. 

The network of Federal Aid and rural highways concentrating 
great loads of traffic on both small towns and large cities, is also 
awakening the public conscience to the economic need of studying 
the handling of this type of traffic. 

The rapidly increasing tendency of business to move from down- 
town districts to suburban neighborhood shopping centers, ac- 
centuated by the building of outlying apartments and kitchenettes, 
neighborhood picture shows, filling stations and chain stores, has 
thrust city planning problems particularly zoning into the 
residential areas of nearly all urban communities. 

241 



242 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

The belated acquirement of publicly needed land for parks, 
playgrounds, school buildings, boulevards, trafficways, and other 
public uses at excessive costs, has made the most practical business 
men realize the need of earlier purchase of such lands. From an 
economic standpoint it seldom pays to delay the acquirement of 
any property, as soon as foreplanning makes evident the ultimate 
need. In Washington growing as it is this is undoubtedly true, 
and a large bond issue of not less than Ten Million Dollars is justi- 
fied, purely from economic bases of saving money in the long run. 

Even small towns and small cities are today finding it necessary 
to spend immense sums of money in street widening, undreamed 
of a few years ago. Many towns of only a few thousand population 
which were formerly striving to draw traffic into their main busi- 
ness street, are today planning to divert such traffic, in order to 
maintain even their business property values. 

Large downtown property holders and merchants have finally 
awakened to the economic loss to trade and property value in a 
street saturated with traffic. Even the realtor, who for almost a 
century had relied upon the axiom that too wide a street hurts 
business property values, has begun to realize that there is a greater 
loss in the narrow street. 

Some of our more far-seeing merchants are beginning to oppose 
the erection of very tall office buildings adjoining or near their 
stores, realizing that too much traffic may injure their business. 
And in many of our cities the leading merchants are the ones who, 
today, are advocating a better city plan to provide for traffic, are 
supporting zoning, and working to make a more orderly and effi- 
cient city, purely and simply upon the grounds of economic value 
to their property and salvation of their business, rather than from 
an aesthetic impulse. 

The increased cost today of the installation of street improve- 
ments paid for by the property owner, either directly or indirectly, 
has increased so greatly since the War that even the small property 
holder has begun to question the need of standardized street widths 
and street improvements, frequently burdening the modest home 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 243 

on the minor residential street with a cost far beyond the needs of 
their locality. 

Municipal engineers, who have been rather slow to vary from 
standardized widths and character of street improvements, are 
beginning to realize the economic necessity of greater differentia- 
tion to meet the various needs. The doctrine of the city planner 
for the past twenty years has begun to bear fruit, and our munici- 
palities finally have recognized that there should be as careful 
study of street widths, paving, sidewalk and curb widths and 
grades upon a street, as of the size of water, gas and sewer mains. 

The public is beginning to conceive the fact that the automobile 
has annihilated distance and that blocks may be greatly length- 
enedparticularly in residential areas where the greater length of 
the block does not conflict with the main arteries of traffic. Many 
of our subdividers throughout the country are making many 
blocks as long as 1,000 to 1,200 feet or more in length in such cases, 
and saving money for the subdivider, the lot buyer, and the 
municipality. 

Every unnecessary street improvement creates a perpetual 
burden of street maintenance, policing, street lighting, cleaning 
and repairing. The great saving being effected in this manner by 
city planners for the municipality and the property owners is 
making it possible to procure many wider main highways at points 
of strategic advantage and still effect a vital saving. This is also 
assisting the bringing about of a better adaptation and segregation 
of property uses in the various parts of a town or city. 

It is as important to plan the things tending to discourage busi- 
ness or excessive travel on a quiet residential street as to concen- 
trate travel on the main trafficways. 

The example of the street plans of the better subdivisions 
throughout the country, which have adapted their street layouts 
to the topography of the land, has been so successful in many ways, 
that the street locations of many of our cities are being better 
adapted, with the support of the municipal authorities them- 
selves, to the topography of the land. 



244 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

Washington, our capital city, is a splendid example of this 
change in sentiment and practice. The 1898 Street Plan impinged 
a checkerboard plan of streets with short blocks, throughout all 
these beautiful hills and valleys. As a result of this plan, the 
realtor was almost forced to grade down his lots, at immense cost, 
to a monotonous level, losing all the forests trees of this region, and 
resulting in large sections of our capital city becoming character- 
less and unattractive. Beyond the boundaries of the old L'Enfant 
Plan, it was extremely difficult for the realtor to develop his proper- 
ties in a manner to create any particular charm or individual appeal 
in character. Beautifully timbered valleys and delightful streams 
were filled, and entirely obliterated the streams converted into 
storm sewers often at a cost greater than the acquirement of the 
whole valley and stream for park purposes would have been. 

Here, again, the Washington realtor soon began to realize the 
economic saving to the community itself in a re-study of these 
street plans, and their better adaptation to the peculiar contours of 
the land, and the conservation of the valleys and brooks for park 
purposes. This re-study is receiving the enthusiastic cooperation 
of all the District and Federal authorities, and the National Capital 
Park and Planning Commission is hopeful that a saving can be 
effected which will eventually amount to as much as the entire cost 
of the acquirement, at this time, of all our proposed parks, play- 
grounds, historical sites, and desirable points of interest within the 
District. 

We also have the striking example within the District of large 
areas of practically undeveloped land making a heavy burden on 
the District, as well as on the property in those areas. While in 
northwest Washington we have a remarkable concentrated move- 
ment and development largely in one direction. Our capital city 
certainly is woefully lop-sided in its growth. 

One of the big problems and duties of the National Commission 
from purely an economic standpoint is to so plan the future 
street and boulevard system of the Capital, the regional highways, 
transportation lines, bridges, and the distribution of recreational 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 245 

areas and property uses through zoning regulations, so as to bring 
about more evenly balanced distribution of this rapidly growing 
population and intensive property uses throughout the District 
and the regions beyond. 

From the mere standpoint of the cost of operating a city, or 
securing greater income from taxes on property throughout the 
whole city, Washington affords an excellent example of the eco- 
nomic advantage of better planning, to direct a more normal bal- 
anced growth of the city in all directions. 

You are confronted here with values as low as five hundred 
dollars per acre within three or four miles of the capitol building 
in one direction, as compared with values of twenty-five thousand 
dollars, or more, per acre within the same distance in another 
direction. City planning, in this instance, has the even more diffi- 
cult task of establishing and creating sentimental values of creat- 
ing a property morale so important in any city. It is perhaps as 
difficult as overcoming blighted residential areas, or restoring an 
abandoned business section by replanning such areas. 

Another factor relating to a recent urban or semi-urban develop- 
ment, is the character of property improvement extending along 
the highways leading in and out of our cities and towns. Property 
owners are beginning to realize that unless these highways are prop- 
erly zoned, great losses in property values frequently occur from 
the intrusion of property uses of injurious character. 

Too great a concentration of travel on certain of these highways 
is taking away a large part of the value of property facing the high- 
way. And the property owners in the semi-urban areas surround- 
ing many of our cities are realizing the economic necessity of a 
more intelligent planning of their highway system and more com- 
plete zoning regulations for the uses of their property. 

One of the most striking examples of the great economic loss 
that results from the lack of planning in the broad sense is the 
increasing number of uncontrolled outlying shopping centers being 
built in all our cities. In most instances little provision is being 
made for wider streets to adapt these business centers to modern 



246 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

transportation needs, and many communities are blindly proceed- 
ing to build a great number of outlying business centers where the 
traffic congestion will soon become an acute problem. It is to be 
regretted that with the striking example of present congestion in 
the downtown streets, the public seems willing to see a repetition of 
this condition in their suburban business sections. 

It is not too late to plan properly these new outlying centers. 
The desecration of residential areas by the generally disorderly, 
crowded, and flimsy type of store buildings which usually pioneer 
a neighborhood business center, is so apparent and the damage to 
the surrounding residential properties so great, that it seems as if 
every municipality would hasten to extend its zoning regulations 
into all its outlying sections. With this problem right before their 
eyes, it also seems that the suburban belt surrounding every city 
would hasten to zone its region and plan its highways to control 
and regulate the business development which will sooner or later 
crowd into it. It is not too late and it is still fair to all, to provide 
ample highways, wide streets and alleys, interior loading courts, 
and zone for extremely low building heights in definitely limited 
outlying business areas. 

There are few examples of greater and more immediate economic 
savings in city planning than the proper planning for outlying busi- 
ness centers whether within the city or the surrounding region. 
The cost generally is so great in corrective planning in the highly 
developed areas of our cities that it frequently becomes a question 
of doubt as to the comparative value received. From the economic 
standpoint of getting the most we can for our money, certainly we 
should direct part of our thought and study to the newer and more 
undeveloped regions, which are still plastic and whose frame is not 
so hardened. And to this end, your National Commission, with the 
splendid cooperation of the authorities in Virginia and Maryland, 
are disregarding the District line and endeavoring to plan for this 
entire outlying region to provide ultimately for a population of 
not less than two million people in Greater Washington. 

All these instances are but a few typical examples of the economic 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 247 

saving possible in city planning, and apply to all our towns, cities, 
and semi-urban regions throughout the United States. 

A great amount of splendid work has been done in Washington, 
from the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and 
Major L'Enfant. It is an inspiration to have the wonderful oppor- 
tunity to carry on the great original diagram and continued pro- 
gram which really never has been forgotten, but which has recurred 
again and again, at critical times, to direct the destiny of Washing- 
ton. In many things we are desperately late and great economic 
losses have already resulted from delay. But in many, many ways 
the opportunity is still so great that it challenges the vision, the 
daring and the patriotism of all of us. 

We wish and need the cooperation of the city planners through- 
out this entire country. , 

All together, we should make Washington and the surrounding 
regions not only the most beautiful, most orderly and most efficient 
community in our land but let us make it the best example of 
economic saving that will accrue to any community from careful, 
conservative, but determined and courageous planning for the cen- 
turies through which our beloved Capital shall endure. 



PROGRESS IN ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 

CHARLES H. CHENEY, City Planner, Los Angeles, California 

Proud as we are of many things in Washington, why is it that 
after a hundred years of building, and despite the many millions 
spent by the Nation, we find in our national capital, only 25% of a 
city? Why do we as a nation, who know how to organize and do 
other things so well, continue to permit that 75% of ugly, de- 
pressing and absolutely out of place building in the one city that 
should be as near perfect as we can make it? 

Why is it that only about 10% of the buildings of New York 
City or of Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco or of Los Angeles, 
are sufficiently good or attractive to be worthy of permanent life? 
In fifty years more than half of the buildings in most of our cities 
will be torn down, not because they are unsafe in framing, but 
because their exterior appearance ruins the value of the street. 
How long will we continue to put a premium on the careless builder, 
the cheap contractor and the ugly junk, the shoddy building, the 
off-color and bad design, which not only depreciate their neighbors 
so insidiously and unfairly but, worst of all, blight the attractive- 
ness and the value of what little good architecture there is, and 
break down that love of home and of the finer things of life, which 
must be the mainstay of every city? 

These are pressing economic and social problems of far-reaching 
importance, not only to real estate and business, but to the whole 
human structure of a city. Behind them there are deeper, less 
tangible but very important and precious spiritual values of life 
that must be conserved at any cost. 

A new consciousness is abroad today demanding a constructive 
answer and a definite solution of these problems. At many scat- 
tered points across the country definite steps are being taken. 

248 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 249 

Any city planning or any city planner overlooking them will be 
left behind in the advancement of our cities during the next 
decade. We must have reasonable architectural control of building 
design in all cities. It is a necessary objective in every city building 
scheme. 

ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL A PART OF THE CITY PLAN 

Architectural control and the architectural program of the city 
are as definite and inseparable a part of a comprehensive city plan 
as zoning, the major traffic street plan, the unification of rail lines 
and terminals, rapid transit, the park, playground and school 
system or the grouping of civic centers and public buildings the 
recognized parts of a complete city plan. It is astonishing that, 
with the marked progress in municipal planning and government 
in this country, some of our chief authorities overlook this impor- 
tant matter the architecture, the biggest, the closest mass on the 
horizon of every city and of every life in it. 1 Cities consist of 
buildings and their sites, commonly called architecture, although 
really only a small part of the buildings can be accurately digni- 
fied by that term. 

The extreme importance of environment in moulding our lives, 
our thoughts and our actions, is every day given more importance 
by modern psychologists. If 90% of our environment is needlessly 
ugly and depressing, the lives of all of us suffer for it. 

What kind of a civilization is it that allows such a large propor- 
tion of its people to suffer from such building conditions? Cer- 
tainly no comprehensive city planning, such as pretends to look to 
a better future, can sidestep or omit plans for definite architectural 
improvement and control. Zoning alone cannot stop the blighting 
and ruin of neighborhoods. 

By architectural control is meant the setting up of some com- 
petent machinery to stop bad design and bad color before they get 
started, to insure a reasonably good architecture before a building 
permit is issued. 

1 Munroe omits it entirely in his "Municipal Government," used so widely now 
as a college text-book. 



250 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

The trouble is we have still too much amateur planning, too 
many "planless planning commissions," too little understanding 
and constructive co-operation as yet from the architects and others 
who should take these matters in hand. 

A number of letters protesting bitterly against the cutting of 
long rows of existing street trees in street widening proceedings 
have come to me during the past year from Women's Clubs and 
others. Strong reaction is bound to arise to any city planning 
which neglects or destroys the spiritual values of life. This par- 
ticularly is true in fast growing cities like Los Angeles where over 
$60,000,000 of street openings and widenings of the Major Traffic 
Street Plan Program have been put under way in two years. 
Proper city planning will see to it that where trees are removed, 
new ones shall be planted in the same proceeding, that new setback 
lines and a constructive program for the architecture of the street 
be provided. 

The spiritual values of life, the amenities as they are sometimes 
called life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are crushed and 
thwarted by this 90% of bad environment. It is time that we as a 
people definitely took them in hand to guarantee every man his 
rightful heritage (not leaving to just the 10% of well-to-do, the 
protected home neighborhood with architectural control) and to 
give assurance to all that no badly designed or off-color buildings 
can be built that will spoil their environment or depreciate their 
investment. The ordinary man is just as much entitled to this 
protection as those who now have it by wealth. In the next ten 
years he will be given it, as generally as he is now given the protec- 
tion of zoning. 

"To best promote the amenities of life, health, safety, etc.," 
and "the improvement and control of architecture, and general 
embellishment of the area under its jurisdiction," shall be, among 
other things, the legal purpose of the planning commission in pre- 
paring a master plan, authorized for every California City or 
County or Region, by the new planning act passed by the 1927 
legislature. (Senate Bill 585.) The rest of the act is largely the 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 251 

standard law recommended by Secretary of Commerce Herbert 
Hoover for all States, but these important phrases broaden the 
City Plan to its proper scope and should be adopted also by other 

States. 

ZONING CAME FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS 

You will recall that municipal zoning under the police power, 
which in ten years has become so universal in all our cities, really 
grew out of the demand of the ordinary citizen that his home and 
even his factory be given the same protection from the invasion of 
ruinous and inappropriate uses into his neighborhood, as had for 
several decades been offered to a very limited group in tracts pri- 
vately restricted by real estate covenant. Zoning had small begin- 
nings, was an experiment at first. But we went ahead and solved 
our problem, gave people the protection they needed and the 
courts sustained us. (See "Zoning in Practice," by the present 
writer, in Proceedings National Conference on City Planning, 
Buffalo, 1920.) 

Now the same 90% of ordinary people are beginning to demand 
that they be given protection from architectural blight by the city 
under its police power, and we have good reason to believe that 
our courts will sustain this wider use of the police power for public 
welfare. 

COURTS RECOGNIZE THE SPIRITUAL VALUE OF PARKS 

Long ago we began to have decisions recognizing the spiritual 
values of life. Yet it is only seventy-five years since we had no 
public parks. To acquire them with public funds was unpre- 
cedented. As we did it, contests arose. Then in a famous Connec- 
ticut case their highest court said, "They (Parks) are expected to 
minister not only to grosser senses but also to the love of the 
beautiful in nature, in the varied forms which the changing seasons 
bring. Their value is enhanced by such touches of art as help to 
produce pleasing and satisfactory effects upon the emotional and 
spiritual side of our nature. Their influence should be uplifting 
and, in the highest sense, educational. If wisely planned and 
properly cared for they promote the mental as well as the physical 



252 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

health of the people. . . . Their aesthetic effect never has been 
thought unworthy of careful consideration by those best quali- 
fied to appreciate it." (Olmsted vs. Camp, 44 Conn. 532 at 551.) 

THE MIND OF THE COURT is PROGRESSING 
In Minneapolis and Cleveland zoning cases, more recently de- 
cided, the social and aesthetic considerations of life were em- 
phasized by the court as coming reasons for exercise of the city's 
police power for the general public welfare. As Mr. Musick will 
summarize the legal situation in regard to architectural control 
in a supplementary paper, it is unnecessary to mention it further, 
except to call attention to the Chicago decision, affirmed by the 
United States Supreme Court, that outdoor advertising can, under 
zoning regulations, altogether be excluded from residential dis- 
tricts, because it is out of place (Cusack Co. vs. Chicago, 267 111. 
344, affirmed 242, U. S. 526. For further discussion of this and 
other decisions see Williams, "The Law of City Planning and 
Zoning," Part VI.). 

The mind of the court is changing and advancing with the 
change of public opinion in the country. Writers on law sense this, 
as may be seen from the following passage quoted by Mr. Williams, 
" It is certain that much of the legislation (in the United States) of 
recent date, particularly during the past two decades, has been 
induced largely by aesthetic and artistic considerations, and this 
desire to render the urban centers more attractive has found a 
firm lodgement in the popular mind. It is destined to increase with 
the years, and in the development of the law in this respect courts 
will be inclined to give a broader interpretation to such regulations, 
and finally sanction restrictions imposed solely to advance materi- 
ally attractiveness and artistic beauty." (McQuillin on Municipal 
Corporations, Sec. 929.) 

STRONG ECONOMIC GROUNDS FOR ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 
But we do not have to base our hopes of having the courts sus- 
tain architectural control on aesthetic considerations alone, impor- 
tant as they are. There are sufficient economic grounds, sufficient 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 253 

business reasons why this great matter will be firmly taken hold of 
and effectively handled, once our business leaders, city authorities 
and people generally understand there is a way out. 

For at least 50 years developers of the higher class real estate 
sub-divisions have realized the value, not only of protective re- 
strictions imposed by covenant in the deed or contract of sale, but 
have gone so far as to say that the architectural design of all 
buildings in their tracts must be submitted either to the seller or to 
a competent committee, often of trained architects, for approval 
to insure that nothing unattractive or depreciating should get in. 
Experience had shown that profits from the sale of any tract can 
only be taken out after the first half or the first three-quarters of 
the tract is sold, as the overhead and improvement costs must first 
be paid, before touching the profit. 

Long before half of any tract of considerable size is disposed of, 
many buildings must be built, to insure sub-division success. If 
any one of these buildings is of bad design or off-color, and in most 
cases a large percentage of them are, buyers hold off and it is 
difficult to dispose of the rest of the tract, except over a long delayed 
period, eating itself up in taxes and interest. A surprisingly large 
percentage of sub-division promotions in this country have to sell 
out the last quarter of their lots at a greatly reduced profit, or at a 
loss, simply because they did not establish proper architectural 
control. 

DECENCY IN DESIGN AND COLOR 

Reasonable decency of design and color must be assured in every 
real estate sub-division operation or the promoters and financial 
backers are flirting with ruin. Hence the real estate men of the 
country have been educating the public steadily, over a good many 
decades, to the value of protected home and even business neigh- 
borhoods and to the necessity for reasonable architectural control. 
Realizing that the public should insist upon municipal protection 
of the same kind, the Department of Public Welfare of the Com- 
monwealth of Massachusetts last year sent to every city and town 



254 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

of the state, a bulletin entitled "Planned for 1960 and After," 
pointing out what was being done in the Palos Verdes Estates de- 
velopment near Los Angeles, with the following comment: "Con- 
trol in this way, even to the design of the buildings, points clearly 
to what all places will have to do if the prevailing medley of uses 
and design is ever to be overcome. The art jury is legally estab- 
lished because the entire area is group-controlled instead of being 
left to private whim and private profit, yet great profits are sure 
because the value of a home depends upon its value as a home, and 
not upon its value as a pile of building material." 

GREATEST ECONOMIC Loss OF OUR TIME 

The greatest economic loss of our time is in the 90% of bad 
building that we allow to go up in our cities. There is little or no 
excuse for it. Building inspectors in practically all the large cities 
will give you estimates, varying at most a few percent, that only 
about 10% of the plans for buildings built today are prepared by 
trained architects or others with any competency in design. 

They say that builders and contractors bring them as little as 
possible in drawings in order to get by the building code provisions 
for safety and strength of materials. Unless some check-up, some 
architectural board of review, is set up as carefully to insist upon 
reasonable decency of design and color, as is now done by the 
building inspector in most cities as to safety of materials and 
framing, exits, light and air, etc., we cannot expect much im- 
provement. The loss and waste will go on, the junk and depre- 
ciating ugliness of our cities will multiply. 

The economic value of consistently good architecture and good 
environment is very large. Real estate developers, in practically 
every city, can point to tracts that were architecturally well pro- 
tected, where the land values are generally two to three times, 
sometimes ten times, what they are in unprotected districts equally 
well situated. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 255 

How DOES YOUR CITY RATE? 

Suppose we rated our cities according to the percentage of good 
architecture and good environment they offer. A frank and 
yet reasonably liberal and unbiased board of inquiry would have to 
report somewhat as follows : 

Washington 25% 

New York City 12% 

Philadelphia 15% 

Chicago. 8% 

San Francisco 11% 

Los Angeles 12% 

London 9% 

Paris 90% 

Contrast with this some of the cities and suburban communities 
that have established definite architectural control: 

Roland Park, Baltimore 95% 

Forest Hills, Long Island 95% 

Shaker Heights, Cleveland 80% 

Country Club District, Kansas City 75% 

St. Francis Wood, San Francisco 85% 

Palos Verdes Estates, Los Angeles 95% 

Santa Barbara 40% 

Nantucket (100 years old) 95% 

Yorkship Village, Camden, N. J 95% 

Paris, France 90% 

Amsterdam, Holland 85% 

While England has been as backward and careless as the United 
States London and Liverpool are as depressing, dingy and depre- 
ciated as large parts of our own Chicago, New York and Philadel- 
phia, to say nothing of the terrible main streets of our thousands 
of small cities the cities of the continent of Europe have been 
much more forehanded. Practically all of the latter have some 
kind of definite architectural control. Seventy-five years ago Paris 
set out deliberately to be the handsomest city in the world. Paris 
is reported in 1926 to have taken in $226,000,000 from visitors who 
came to enjoy its loveliness. 

We are beginning to have places in this country with similar 
ideals. A number of the new towns of Florida have started well. 
The proposed new New Orleans Zone Ordinance prohibits the modi- 
fication, al teration, or construction of any facade out of architectural 



256 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

harmony with surrounding buildings in the Vieux Carre or old 
French quarter. Santa Barbara, Riverside, Palos Verdes, Santa 
Fe Rancho, among others in California, have taken or are taking 
distinct steps for architectural control and arcading of streets, 
group design of plazas and business buildings, establishment of 
arcaded towers out over sidewalks to relieve the terrible monotony 
of the checkerboard plan, etc. 

It is time that the powers of the Fine Arts Commission of Wash- 
ington be extended to make it an Architectural Board of Review 
with veto power over all buildings and structures, private as well 
as public, and their color, in the National Capital. Until that is 
done Washington can never be more than 25% of a city. 

PROGRESS IN ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 

As pointed out above there are obviously two methods of en- 
suring decency of design. The first, and so far more common 
method, is by requiring approval of all plans of new buildings in a 
tract by covenant in the deed or declaration of restrictions. The 
other, and coming method, which undoubtedly will be used on a 
much larger scale, is by municipal checkup or inspection of design 
and color by the establishment of architectural boards of review 
under the police power by ordinance. 

In Roland Park, Baltimore, which is perhaps the finest resi- 
dential suburb in America, developed by Edward H. Bouton with 
the aid of Olmsted Brothers, landscape architects, they began to 
require, as far back as 1893, that the plans for all buildings, 
fences and other structures, and their color scheme, must be ap- 
proved in advance by a committee of competent architects, and 
that thereafter no alterations, even in the repainting of the houses, 
could be made without similar approval. While seemingly drastic 
at that early time, the great wisdom of such architectural control 
has been indubitably proved. This scheme of protection has been 
elaborated upon in many parts of the country. 

When the Palos Verdes Project was started in 1922, advantage 
was taken of the experience of Roland Park and other great sub- 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 257 

divisions, and architectural control was put immediately and 
permanently in the hands of an art jury, established with a $300,000 
endowment, so that the income would be sufficient to employ the 
best architects to serve on the jury, with a surety that they could 
afford to leave a large and valuable practice long enough for the 
necessary meetings. The experience of municipal art juries was 
also used, in establishing the make-up of the Palos Verdes board 
with controlled nominations, and in arranging to give the board 
an independent judicial standing. 

MUNICIPAL CONTROL OF PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE 
Municipal architectural control of public buildings has been 
going on for several decades in America, in our principal cities. 
The New York City Art Commission and the Philadelphia Art 
Jury are distinguished examples of the successful handling of such 
matters. As they pass on public structures and works of art only, 
which are not many in any one year, the best architects, sculptors 
and others versed in matters of art in these cities have served 
without pay, to hold up to the very highest the standards of public 
buildings. 

Obviously if such a board of review or art jury is set up in any 
city, even to pass on public work alone, the members of it must be 
of unquestioned ability, artistic training or understanding. As 
mayors and councils, or other appointive powers, no matter how 
sincere, are unlikely to be able to know the best qualified men for 
such a board, it is essential that the charter, ordinance or restric- 
tive covenant establishing the board of review or art jury, provide 
that appointments shall only be made from lists of three times the 
number of vacancies to be filled, nominated by the local chapter of 
the American Institute of Architects, the local art association or 
possibly the trustees of the public library, all of whom have better 
opportunities for knowing the qualifications of the peculiar cultural 
training and judicial art mind, needed for this service. This is the 
method of "controlled nominations" and it is very important to 
follow it if the board of review is to be respected and effective. One 



258 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

has only to compare the high standard of results obtained by the 
art juries of New York and Philadelphia where controlled nomina- 
tions are established by charter with the lesser results of' the art 
commissions of other cities which do not have controlled nomina- 
tions, where the members of the boards, though undoubtedly 
interested in art matters, evidently could not read the drawings 
submitted and did not understand how the buildings would look 
when constructed. If we have architectural control it must be 
competent or it will fail miserably. 

ONE-MAN JURIES NOT A SUCCESS 

The real estate subdividers who started architectural control 
have unfortunately in many cases kept a string on it. While they 
appreciated the value to themselves of passing on and holding up 
the design of buildings while selling lots, very few of them have 
been willing to take the trouble to set up a permanent board of 
review or art jury to pass on plans after their last lot was sold and 
they were out. Others have frankly traded upon the fact that the 
lot buyer hardly ever realizes that he will be without any protection 
when the original sale of lots is over. Most people buy blindly 
and take their protection for granted, then later find themselves 
without recourse. 

Some of the operators appoint one-man art juries; i. e., they 
designate an architect whom they trust to pass on the plans of 
each building submitted, reserving the right to overrule him. This 
is obviously a left-handed method. After talking to a considerable 
number of the architects so appointed in various parts of the 
country, I find them, almost without exception, discouraged by 
being overruled, and hopeless as to the long future after the selling 
company gets out. They say that people will listen better to the 
judgment of a group of men than to that of one man. Each 
architect is liable to lean towards one kind of architecture. Having 
two or more architects on the architectural board of review is 
liable to produce more variety, without losing harmony. A jury 
of three should be the minimum even for tracts of less than 100 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 259 

acres. A majority of every jury should be trained architects or 
men nominated by the local chapter of architects, or it will not 
have the necessary respect of the designers who must appear 
before it. 

The financing of an architectural board of review is most impor- 
tant. Good men cannot be expected to serve unless they are paid 
at the rate of experts. Several art juries pay their trained members 
each at the rate of $50.00 per half-day session which, even so, 
hardly compensates an architect with a good practice for leaving 
his office. If the board is not endowed from the sale of land, a 
definite ten or fifteen percent of the community association's 
annual maintenance tax should be set aside for the jury, as in the 
case of Montecito and Burbank Art Juries. 

The Montecito case is interesting because here the signatures of 
several hundred property owners are being sought to self-impose a 
complete scheme of protective restrictions, in an established dis- 
trict which has $7,000,000 of assessed values. Those restrictions 
include a maintenance association, with annual upkeep charge, 
and art jury control. (See "Montecito Protective Covenant," 
published by Montecito Community Association, Santa Barbara, 
California.) 

This is the best method yet devised for the upkeep of private 
tracts and of shifting the burden of maintenance from the selling 
company to the purchaser, as soon as he buys, as should be done. 

MUNICIPAL CONTROL OF PRIVATE ARCHITECTURE 
While the municipal art juries and art commissions have for 
many years been passing upon and holding up the standard of 
public buildings, as yet only small beginnings have been made 
toward actual municipal supervision of private design. It will be 
necessary for some years to move cautiously in attempting to 
establish such control. 

In the first place, all such control, to succeed, depends upon 
public opinion. The courts may be expected to sustain its appli- 
cation if largely in accord with local custom and local public 



260 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

opinion. In Santa Barbara, where the first municipal architectural 
board of review was established by ordinance in 1925, the Com- 
munity Arts Association had, under the wise leadership of its able 
and public spirited president, Bernhard Hoffmann, for two years 
previously been carefully educating the public to the need and 
value of architectural control, had set up an advisory committee of 
architects to pass on plans when voluntarily submitted, and had 
even persuaded the banks and lending agencies not to make loans 
except on plans approved by this committee as being up to a sound 
standard of design. To carry on this educational work they had a 
grant of $25,000 per year for several years from the Carnegie 
Foundation. 

THE SANTA BARBARA BOARD OF REVIEW 

Then the earthquake came and shook down two-thirds of the 
buildings on the principal street Estado. Almost immediately 
there was a public demand that the buildings when rebuilt should 
be in keeping with the traditions of Old California architecture 
and be held up to a uniformly high standard of design. Within 
two weeks an ordinance was passed establishing the architectural 
board of review, with controlled nominations, and requiring the 
building inspector to submit all plans to this board for report. 
If the report were favorable and the owner made the changes, if 
any, suggested by the Board, the inspector would proceed to issue 
a building permit. If, however, the owner after twenty days could 
not come to an agreement with the board of review as to the design 
of his building, he could appeal to the City Council for a special 
permit, after a public hearing. In other words, the board of review 
in this case was given as close to veto power as the California Con- 
stitution would permit without actually delegating the authority 
of the City Council to act in a final capacity, if necessary. (The 
full text of this ordinance is given as Appendix No. 1 to this paper.) 
In eight months the Santa Barbara Board of Review passed 
on some 2,000 building permits and succeeded in getting practically 
every owner to build in the Old California style. Then petty 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 261 

politics intervened, a short-sighted council was elected and the 
ordinance was repealed. But no one can take away those well- 
designed buildings, arcades and other structures, in their har- 
monious and appropriate style, which this board of review insisted 
upon while in office. They changed the face of the city, and made 
it a greater mecca for tourists. (For photos and detailed state- 
ment see "The New Santa Barbara," published by the Community 
Arts Association, Santa Barbara, California.) 

MAKING IT WORK 

Aside from the educational work noted above as essential to 
arouse public opinion in a community for control of architecture, 
what really made the Santa Barbara board's work such an extraor- 
dinary success in so short a time, was the fact that they established 
a community drafting room, where designs were furnished at cost, 
or even free, by a group of able local architects and by draftsmen 
from Los Angeles, when the owner had no architect of his own. 
The high character of design turned out by this drafting room has 
been the making of the New Santa Barbara, enriching and en- 
hancing the many other examples of fine architecture of this 
attractive little town. 

Any doubts sensitive architects might have about having their 
work reviewed by such a board or jury is largely dispelled after 
one submission of plans. The good designers find ready allies in a 
good board. But all agree on the importance of setting up a com- 
petent barrier against this 90% of bad design or no design. As 
Secretary for several years to two art juries and adviser to several 
others, I have yet to see an owner who in the long run was not 
grateful to the art jury, for thus protecting him from his neigh- 
bors' possible carelessness or folly. 

To give home builders a definite idea of the kind of buildings and 
designs the board will approve, a pamphlet of approved buildings 
should be issued by each board. (See "Types of Architecture," 
approved for Palos Verdes Estates, California.) 

"It will work. I am convinced, since seeing Santa Barbara," 



262 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

President John Nolen of the National Conference on City Planning 
told the state meeting in March, 1927, at Oakland, California. 

CONCLUSIONS 

Control of Architecture on Private Tracts. One badly designed 
or off-color building in a tract depreciates the surrounding property 
and lessens opportunity for sale. 

Tracts protected with architectural control have values from 
two to ten times as great as unprotected tracts similarly situated. 

There is ample precedent for such control. Subdividers have 
been doing it for fifty years at least. 

The architectural board of review or art jury should not be a 
one-man affair, and should be composed by controlled nominations, 
of the ablest architects available. 

The board or art jury should be financed permanently, should 
have veto power to be effective, and should maintain a judicial 
attitude. Otherwise purchasers are not fully and properly pro- 
tected. 

Municipal Architectural Control. The greatest economic loss of 
our time is in the 90% of bad building that we allow to go up in 
our cities. Proper architectural control will largely remedy this. 

The architectural board of review, established by ordinance for 
the control of all private design, is essential to sound city growth, 
and undoubtedly will come to be generally established during the 
next decade. 

There seems ample indication that the courts will follow public 
opinion in sustaining it. 

The architectural board of review must be of high personnel, 
established by controlled nominations, properly financed and have, 
as far as possible, veto power, to be a success. 

Establishment of a municipal architectural board of review 
should not be undertaken until the public has been carefully edu- 
cated to appreciate its value, and is prepared to stand back of its 
findings. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 263 

APPENDIX A. ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE ARCHITECTURAL 
BOARD OF REVIEW, SANTA BARBARA 



ORDINANCE NO. 1256 



AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO BUILDING PERMITS, ESTABLISHING AN 
ARCHITECTURAL BOARD OF REVIEW AND PRESCRIBING THE DUTIES 
THEREOF: 



BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL of the City of Santa Barbara, 
California: 

SECTION 1. Architectural Board of Review. 

To promote the general public welfare, health and safety, an Archi- 
tectural Board of Review in and for the City of Santa Barbara is hereby 
established. 

SECTION 2. Membership. 

The Architectural Board of Review shall be composed of five members 
appointed by the City Council of whom three shall be persons engaged in 
the practice of architecture or the Fine Arts each of whom shall be ap- 
pointed from a list of two nominees made by the Certified Architects of 
Santa Barbara in a meeting called for the purpose by the City Planning 
Commission. The two other members shall be citizens versed in matters 
of architecture and the fine arts known for their integrity and public inter- 
est, one of whom shall be appointed from a list of two nominees named by 
the Community Arts Association of Santa Barbara and the other of whom 
shall be appointed from a list of two nominees named by the City Planning 
Commission. In case a vacancy shall occur, the successor shall be nomi- 
nated and appointed in the same manner as in the first instance. At the 
first meeting of the Architectural Board of Review the members shall 
choose by lot terms of office as follows: Two for one year, two for two 
years and one for three years, and their successors shall be appointed for 
terms of three years, except an appointment to fill a vacancy which shall 
be for the unexpired portion of the term. In case any of the organizations 
entitled to make nomination as hereinbefore provided shall fail to make 
such nominations within thirty days after written notification by the City 
Clerk of the expiration of a term or the occurrence of a vacancy, the City 
Council shall appoint a member to fill the vacancy on its own nomination, 
provided such appointees shall in all cases in number and qualification 
fulfill as nearly as possible the provisions of this Section as to Membership. 



264 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

SECTION 3. Officers. 

The members of the Architectural Board of Review shall elect from 
their own number a President and Vice-President, name a Secretary and 
other officers and shall adopt their own rules of procedure. Three mem- 
bers shall constitute a quorum. Any funds appropriated by the City 
Council therefor or received as herein after provided may be used by the 
Architectural Board of Review to pay their members for time in attend- 
ance at meetings and other expenses which in its judgment are incidental 
and proper to carrying out the purposes for which it is established, pro- 
vided that said board shall incur no obligation on behalf of said city or any 
department thereof and provided that no expense shall be incurred to 
exceed the funds appropriated to or at the disposal of the Architectural 
Board of Review, which may accept bequests and donations of money 
and personal property and shall have power to administer, dispense or 
dispose of the same for the purposes for which it is established. 



SECTION 4. Review of Plans. 

All applications for building permits and the plans and elevations 
required by the Building Ordinances of the city submitted to the In- 
spector of Buildings in connection therewith shall be in triplicate and 
immediately upon the filing thereof one copy shall be delivered to the 
Architectural Board of Review by the Inspector of Buildings for written 
report thereon, as to the character of design, appropriateness, safety, 
sanitary arrangement and general construction thereof; if the Architectural 
Board of Review shall give written approval thereto a building permit 
may be issued by the Inspector of Buildings provided all other require- 
ments of the Ordinances of the City of Santa Barbara have been complied 
with; if the Architectural Board of Review present a written report 
thereon to the Inspector of Buildings recommending changes in design, 
construction, alteration, which after conference with applicant for the 
permit the said applicant refuses to make or accept, said report and appli- 
cation for permit shall be referred to the City Council and a public hearing 
held thereon before issuance of a building permit by the Inspector of 
Buildings; provided that the Architectural Board of Review shall be 
deemed to have given its approval thereto if no action be taken by it for 
more than twenty days after the date of filing of said application for a 
building permit. No public building or structure, fountain, monument, 
wall, arch or other structure shall be erected, placed on or upon or removed 
from or re-located or altered on or upon any public land or allowed to 
extend over or upon any street, avenue, square, park, recreation ground, 
beach or other public property unless plans for same and the location 
thereof shall first have been approved in writing by the Architectural 
Board of Review. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 265 

SECTION 5. Members Disqualified from Voting. 

Any member of the Architectural Board of Review who shall be em- 
ployed to execute a building or structure of any kind requiring the approval 
of the Architectural Board of Review or who shall take part in competition 
for any such building or structure shall be disqualified from voting thereon; 
and in such instance the Architectural Board of Review may at its dis- 
cretion invite an expert to advise with them thereon but not at the expense 
of said city. 

SECTION 6. Effect on Existing Ordinances. 

This Ordinance shall constitute one of the building ordinances of the 
City of Santa Barbara and shall never be so construed as to repeal or 
affect any other ordinance of the City. 

SECTION 7. Individual Enactment. 

All of the sections, paragraphs, clauses or phrases of this ordinance shall 
be construed together, but if at any time it shall be held that any one of 
said sections, paragraphs, clauses or phrases or any part thereof is invalid 
or for any reason becomes unenforceable no other section, paragraph, 
clause or phrase shall be thereby affected or impaired. 

SECTION 8. Emergency Clause. 

This ordinance after its passage and authentication shall be published, 
one in the Morning Press, a daily newspaper of general circulation, printed, 
published and circulated in said city and said Council does hereby find, 
determine and declare that this Ordinance is an emergency measure and as 
such shall be in force and effect from and after its passage, authentication 
and publication, and the facts constituting its urgency are that owing to 
the earthquake which occurred on the 29th day of June, 1925, many 
buildings within said city have been damaged or destroyed or left in an 
unsafe condition and the rebuilding, repair and additions to the same 
immediately require it to maintain public safety, health and welfare. 
Adopted July 16, 1925. l 



Repealed March, 1926. 
18 



266 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

APPENDIX B. RESTRICTION ESTABLISHING ARCHITECTURAL 
CONTROL IN PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA 

EXTRACT FROM THE RESTRICTIONS OF RECORD: 

ARTICLE III. 

SECTION 2. Approval of Plans and Improvements. No building, fence, 
wall, sidewalk, steps, awning, tent, pole or other structure, improvement, 
utility, parking, sculpture, or planting shall be erected, constructed, altered 
or maintained upon, under or above any portion of said property or of 
any property at any time within the jurisdiction of the Art Jury or of 
Palos Verdes Homes Association unless plans and specifications therefor, 
including the exterior color scheme, together with a block plan indicating 
location, shall have been submitted to, approved in writing by the Art 
Jury and a copy of such plans, specifications and block plans as finally 
approved, deposited for permanent record with the Art Jury. No altera- 
tion shall be made in the exterior color or design of any structure unless 
written approval of such alteration shall have been obtained from the 
Art Jury. No sign of any kind or for any use shall be erected, posted, 
pasted, painted or displayed upon or about any property under the 
jurisdiction of the Art Jury without the written approval of the Art 
Jury." 

(For complete declaration of Restrictions apply to Secretary Art Jury: 
75 Malaga Cove Plaza, Palos Verdes Estates, California.) 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



267 



APPENDIX C. LIST OF ARCHITECTURAL BOARDS OF REVIEW 
AND ART JURIES IN THE UNITED STATES, MARCH, 1927 

MUNICIPAL ART JURIES AND COMMISSIONS 

With veto power over plans for public buildings and works of art, unless 
otherwise noted. 

NOTE State Art Commissions, of which there are a considerable number, 
are not listed. 



Name 


Popula- 
tion 


Number 
of Plans 
Acted on 
in 1926 


Remarks 


Atlanta, Ga 


218,000 






Art Commission 
Baltimore Md. 






Controlled nominations ad- 


Art Commission 
Boston, Muss. 


764000 




visory powers only. 
Controlled nominations. 


Art Commission 
Chicago, 111 


2,833,000 








133,000 




City Council can override 


Grand Rapids, Mich 


141,000 


3,311 


veto plans of public struc- 
tures, but not of works of 
art. 
Advisory only, but passes 


Com. on Design and Ap- 
pearance 


1 100000 


44 


on all plans, public and 
private for which building 
permit is taken out. 


Art Commission 
Milwaukee, Wis 


477,000 






Art Commission 
New Haven Conn. 


170000 




Advisory only. 


Art Commission 
New York City, N. Y. . . 


5 840000 


64 


Controlled nominations. 


Art Commission 
Philadelphia, Pa 


1,895,000 


113 


Controlled nominations. 


Art Jury 
Pittsburgh, Pa. . . . 


608000 






Art Commission 
Portland Ore 


269000 




Advisory 


Art Commission 
Rochester N. Y. 


311 548 






Art Commission 
Washington, D. C 


600,000 


316 




Fine Arts Commission 









268 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 



ART JURIES AND ARCHITECTURAL BOARDS 
With veto power over all buildings and structures through restrictive 



covenant. 



Name 


Area of 
Tract 


Number 
of Plans 
Acted on 
in 1926 


Remarks 


Roland Park, Baltimore, 
Md. Architectural Com- 
mittee 


700 acres 


127 


(Guilford and Homeland.) 


St. Francis Wood, San Fran- 
cisco Architectural Com- 
mittee 


120 acres 


43 




Hatton Fields, Carmel, Calif. 
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. . 
Art Jury 
Montecito, Santa Barbara, 
Calif. . 


50 acres 
3,225 acres 


20 


Art Jury has $301,275 en- 
dowment. 

Established April, 1927. 


Art Jury 

Burbank Art Jury (Benmar 
Hills), Burbank, Calif..... 


1,000 acres 




Has jurisdiction over all 
property made subject to 
the Montecito Protective 
Covenant, being signed up 
by owners in this district 
of several thousand acres. 



NOTE There are many large subdivisions, not noted here, where right has 
been reserved to pass on plans, but no permanent machinery has been set up to 
continue this protective service after the selling company is through and out. 

For an interesting discussion of Art Juries, City and State, see Annual Reports 
of N. Y. City Art Commission, 1910-12. 



LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR ARCHITECTURAL 
CONTROL 

ELVON MUSICK, Attorney, Los Angeles, California 

Mr. Cheney has discussed the vital economic reasons in city 
growth for public architectural control under police power. He 
has shown such public control to be a natural and necessary 
outgrowth of private control of building design as now well 
established in better residential neighborhoods through the medium 
of building restrictions imposed by covenant in conveyances. It 
will be my purpose to discuss and explain certain legal aspects of 
the general subject of architectural control. 

PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 
Reasonable control of architecture, and the maintenance of 
decency in design, can be obtained in two principal ways. 

Able forward-looking men of vision develop private tracts and 
impose proper and well-considered protective building restrictions, 
designed to ensure and permanently preserve the beauty and 
harmony and therefore the value of the district. There are certain 
outstanding developments of this type: Roland Park in Baltimore, 
Forest Hills on Long Island, the Country Club District of Kansas 
City, Shaker Heights in Cleveland, St. Francis Wood in San 
Francisco and Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles. 

The second and coming method is by extension of municipal 
control. Such control is already common in building codes with re- 
spect to other matters such as requirements as to structural safety. 
May it not be entirely feasible to extend this municipal control 
gradually and ultimately to require attractive exterior design of 
reasonable standards as well as structural safety? In doing this it 
seems probable that many of the principles established in the 
growth of the law of private restrictions will be largely invoked to 
aid in the development and enforcement of public architectural 

269 



270 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

control. Of course the fundamental underlying and basic principles 
upon which the two methods are founded are entirely different, 
private control being founded upon contract between the parties, 
and public control upon the police power of the state. But never- 
theless aside from this fundamental difference it will be found that 
many of the same principles and tests apply in both cases concern- 
ing the interpretation and legality of any particular restriction or 
provision, be it imposed by contract or by legislative enactment. In 
both cases the requirement must be reasonable, and in both cases it 
should be for the common benefit of the district, and operate uni- 
formly and fairly. 1 Therefore, the interpretation and decisions of 
the courts in the field of private restrictions will undoubtedly be 
adopted by those and other courts as guides in the interpretation 
and construction of municipal legislative enactment. 

DEVELOPMENT OF PRIVATE CONTROL 

The development of the law of building restrictions and design 
control has been very rapid in the last few years, and many ideas 
formerly considered revolutionary and wholly illegal are now being 
accepted by home owners and by the courts, as well established 
and fundamentally proper requirements, essential to sound com- 
munity growth. Quite naturally the greatest progress has been in 
the development of private property by private owners, but also 
quite as naturally this development had led and will lead increas- 
ingly in the future to greater protection of the public through more 
extended building regulations by public authorities and munici- 
palities. 

The entire nation will ever be greatly indebted to the builders 
of its finest residential districts Edward H. Bouton, J. C. Nichols, 
and the Van Schweringens, of the East and Middle West, and 

1 In the case of private restrictions this statement must be construed with 
reference to those restrictions which impose a general plan upon a described district. 
It is, of course, possible for a grantor to impose restrictions upon one or more parcels 
conveyed without relation to any general plan, which restrictions may be for the 
benefit of the grantor only, but it is not the purpose of this discussion to enter that 
branch of the law. We are here concerned only with the establishment of larger 
restricted areas under a general private plan as these only have an important bear- 
ing upon community development. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 271 

Duncan McDuffie and Jay Lawyer of the Pacific Coast, among 
others who are well known. These men have made a definite con- 
tribution to the civilization of our time not only by the develop- 
ment of protected private residential parks where nothing can be 
spoiled, but what is even more important, by making a practical 
demonstration of the kind of home districts that should be pro- 
tected on a much larger scale by public authority. Their examples 
of what can be done in a private way have inspired others to follow, 
until the entire movement is gaining an impetus throughout the 
country that cannot be resisted, and is rapidly spreading and 
making itself felt in all city building. 

PRIVATE CONTROL is BASED ON CONTRACT 
The imposition of private restrictions upon real property is 
based upon the law of contract. A buyer arid seller may agree 
that certain restrictions and conditions shall be effective and there- 
upon incorporate that agreement in the proper legal form so that 
the restrictions will thenceforth be binding upon the land and may 
be enforced. To be enforceable against the land 1 and to pass the 
test of legality the respective restrictions should meet the following 
tests: 

1. They should be made to run with the land and to bind the 
successors in interest as owners thereof. 

2. They should be reasonable, and not arbitrary or capricious. 

3. They should not be inconsistent with the legal title attempted 
to be conveyed. 

4. They should be part of a general plan sufficiently set forth 
or referred to in the instrument of conveyance or the title 
papers, and be made for the benefit of the entire tract. 

5. They should not be illegal in and of themselves, such as re- 
quiring some act contrary to law. 

Generally speaking, I believe it can safely be said, that if each 
respective restriction, upon analysis, can be shown to meet all of 
the above requirements it will be upheld. 

1 Here again we are discussing only general restrictions which are designed to 
affect an entire district under a general plan. 



272 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION AND ART JURY 
But the mere imposing of desirable and legal restrictions is not 
enough to insure their working out satisfactorily and to assure 
adequate architectural control. In addition there must be a proper 
follow-up and enforcement of the restrictions as so imposed. Fre- 
quently good and valuable restrictions are allowed to be lost 
through non-enforcement and a gradual change of the entire dis- 
trict. This should be safeguarded against, and easily may be by 
the establishment, as part of the original scheme of restrictions, of 
two agencies, one a Community or Homes Association to enforce 
and maintain the restrictions, and to see that the standard is met, 
and two, a permanent architectural board of review or Art Jury 
to pass on plans and to establish the architectural standards pro- 
vided for in the restrictions. The better high class modern resi- 
dential developments have these agencies fully established. 

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION 
The Community Association or "Homes Association" as it is 
frequently called, should be an organization of home or lot owners 
within the tract. These are the people, and the only ones besides 
the original seller who are vitally interested in maintaining the 
character of the neighborhood. All lot owners should automatically 
be members. The Association should have power to levy an annual 
maintenance charge against every privately owned parcel within 
the tract, for upkeep and enforcement. If the charge is not paid 
it should be collectible by foreclosure of a recurrent annual lien 
established in the general scheme of restrictions. The legal right to 
enforce and collect such a charge is hardly open to question in 
view of the decided authorities upon that point. 

MAINTENANCE CHARGES ARE LEGALLY COLLECTIBLE 
A suit was brought against one owner of a lot in a certain tract 
in St. Louis to enforce an assessment levied upon the lot under the 
provisions of certain covenants contained in the original restric- 
tions under which the lot was sold. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 273 

The covenant was made to run with the land and provided that 
each successive purchaser would include such a covenant in his 
conveyance upon a transfer by him, but that the covenant should 
be binding upon all owners whether so inserted in subsequent deeds 
or not. The defendant in this case acquired by deed which did 
not have included in it the specific covenant referred to. The 
Court said: 

"From what has been said it must be necessarily follow that the 
action of the Board of Clifton Heights in levying an assessment of 
five dollars on part of lot thirty-eight, and three dollars on a part 
of lot thirty-seven of which defendant was at that time the owner, 
under and by virtue of their powers and authority contained in 
said deed from Kennedy and Plunkett to Fry, Tebbetts and others, 
was a legal and valid assessment, and the judgment rendered in 
pursuance thereof, declaring the same to be a first lien upon the 
property owned by defendant, Annex Realty Company is a legal 
and valid judgment and should be affirmed." . . . (Stevens 
et al. v. Annex Realty Company et al. 173 Mo. 511.) 

In another case the court held that a covenant in a deed to pay 
pro-rata share of the cost of certain improvements on any part of 
the tract is legal. The wording of the covenant was as follows: 

"That the owner of the premises hereby conveyed will pro rat a 
with all the owners of lots of the tract on said map, pay assessments 
for improvements on any part of said tract shown on said map, 
owned by the grantor, its successors or assigns: Provided, however, 
that any such improvements be authorized in writing by the 
owners of a majority of the lots shown on said map.'* 

As to the enforceability of this covenant the court said: 

"He (the owner who contested) still remained, however, an 
owner of lots bound under his covenant to pay his pro rata share of 
improvements made for the common good of all the lot owners, 
and from which he presumably benefited in common with his 
neighbors. . . . Upon the undisputed facts the plaintiff was 
entitled to judgment, and his motion to that effect would have 
been granted." (Hastings Land Improvement Company vs. 
Zinsser 155 app. Div. 561, New York.) 



274 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

MAINTENANCE CHARGES ARE PRACTICABLE 
This annual maintenance charge or tax (as it is sometimes re- 
ferred to) should not be excessive, arbitrary or unreasonable, and 
it probably is the part of wisdom to set some maximum limit upon 
the amount that can be imposed during any year. This may be 
done by reference to a limited maximum percentage of the assessed 
value of the property in the tract, as in the Palos Verdes and 
Montecito protective restrictions, or to a limited millage per square 
foot, as at Forest Hills and in many other subdivisions, or by any 
other fair reasonable, uniform and expedient system. Proper 
machinery for establishing the annual charge, notifying the owners, 
collecting the money and enforcing the claims against delinquents 
should be provided. As an example of what may be accomplished 
along this line, Palos Verdes in 1926 collected $33,165.00 from such 
a maintenance tax a rate of $1.50 per $100 on the county assessed 
value and only had a delinquency of $1,200.00, or 0.12%. 

ART JURY is ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE PROPER DESIGN 
But no matter how well organized and efficient the Homes Asso- 
ciation and machinery for collecting the annual maintenance charge 
and enforcing the restrictions may be, well informed real estate 
authorities know that the district sought to be protected will 
rapidly deteriorate unless adequate and proper means for securing 
good architectural design is provided for. The only effective and 
lasting method of doing this yet found it to establish a permanent 
and competent Architectural Board of Review or Art Jury. This 
body must pass upon the sufficiency of designs of new buildings to 
make sure that they will not depreciate the district. If the deci- 
sions of the Art Jury are fair, reasonable and for the benefit of the 
entire development, and if the requirements made as to design by 
the Art Jury under properly drawn restrictions are such as to cause 
the respective buildings to be suitable to and in harmony with the 
general effect of the neighborhood, there seems no longer any doubt 
as to the legality of private restrictions which require submission 
of plans for approval. This idea is not as new as may be thought. 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 275 

REQUIREMENT FOR APPROVAL OF PLANS NOT NEW 
At least as early as 1874 a plan was put into operation in England 
whereby the buyers of lots agreed that without the written consent 
of the seller, his heirs or assigns, they would not make any altera- 
tions in the plan or elevation of any dwelling house and other im- 
provements nor erect certain other named improvements. This 
was upheld by the courts. (See Everett vs. Remington 61. L. J. 
Ch. 574 (1892) 3 Ch. Div. 148, 67 L. T. 80.) 

In 1870 in Baltimore a tract named "Lilliendale" was conveyed 
by deeds which contained a covenant "that no land should be sold 
or leased without a pledge to build speedily and the designs of 
buildings to be approved by the directors" of the selling corpora- 
tion. This covenant requiring approval of building design was 
sustained by the court in the following language: 

"The covenant and the conditions and restrictions contemplated 
by it were in all respects legal, and such as the owner of land has a 
right to impose." (Newbold vs. Peabody Heights Co., 1889-70 
Mo. 493.) 

Later this same tract and these same covenants were involved 
in the cases of Peabody Heights Co. vs. Willson and Devries vs. 
Cone (82 Md. 186) and the court sustained the covenants upon the 
authority of the first case stating: 

"The object of these restrictions was to prevent the erection of 
buildings of any kind that might diminish the value of the property 
or injuriously affect it as a location for better class dwelling houses. 
And in addition to this we may add, that it is perfectly competent 
for the company in selling or leasing the property, to provide in the 
lease or conveyance or by agreement, for the erection of buildings 
according to a certain designated plan or design." 

REQUIREMENT FOR APPROVAL OF PLANS is LEGAL 
In 1919 an important case was decided in Pennsylvania involving 
a restriction that plans for all structures should be submitted to 
and be approved by the grantor or his legal representative. (Har- 
mon vs. Burow 263 Pa. 188.) The defendant did submit his plans, 



276 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

but they were disapproved, and he started to build without 
approval. 

The court sustained the issuance of an injunction which re- 
strained him from proceeding, and said: 

"The provision and restriction that 'no structure of any kind 
shall be erected or permitted upon said premises or any part thereof, 
unless the plans for the same shall have been first submitted to and 
approved by William E. Harmon, one of the said parties of the 
first part, or his legal representatives' is a covenant which runs 
with the land. It is a contract made by the parties, their heirs, 
executors, administrators and assigns, and its evident purpose is to 
add to the desirability and value of the lots in the plan and protect 
all the purchasers of said lots. 

"The refusal of the plaintiff Harmon acting through his repre- 
sentative Burke, to approve the defendant's plan, was not a capri- 
cious act, not, in fact, an unreasonable one in view of the circum- 
stances and the evident purpose of the restrictive covenant. The 
defendant was not deceived in any manner when he made his con- 
tract; and, having made it, he is bound by it. The question of 
reasonableness in the exercise of the right to approve or disapprove 
is not involved. 

"The contract not to erect any structure without the approval 
of the grantor was a lawful contract, and inures to the benefit of 
other lot owners in the plan, including the plaintiffs." 

One of the last and most important cases of all, and the one 
which admirably completes our line of cases is that of Jones vs. 
Northwest Real Estate Co., decided in 1925 in Maryland 131 Atl. 
446) wherein the court upheld a covenant part of which read as 
follows : 

"9. No building, fence, wall or other structure shall be com- 
menced, erected, or maintained on, or shall any addition to or 
change or alteration therein, be made until the plans and specifica- 
tions, showing the nature, kind, shape, height, materials, location 
and approximate cost of such structure and the grading plan of the 
plot to be built upon, shall have been submitted to and approved 
in writing by the party of the first part." 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 277 

The court in construing this covenant said in part: 

"The appellants (defendants) do not seriously challenge the 
validity of the ninth covenant as a whole, nor do we think they 
could successfully challenge it. The language of the covenant is 
quite broad and comprehensive in its terms, and gives the appellee 
rather drastic control over the character of buildings to be erected, 
but we perceive nothing so contrary to public policy in its provi- 
sions as to warrant our striking it down." 

The court refers to the Peabody Heights case previously men- 
tioned in the following language: 

"In Peabody Heights Co. vs. Willson . . . this court ex- 
pressly approved a provision requiring the * design ' of the proposed 
buildings to be approved by the directors of the grantor." 

The general rule as to restrictions: 

"The general rule deducible from the authorities seems to be 
that, where the intention of the parties is clear, and the restrictions 
within reasonable bounds, they will be upheld. In our opinion 
the covenant involved in this case meets these tests." 

Refusal to approve plans not unreasonable: 

"The next question is whether or not the provisions set up in the 
covenant to guide the appellee in approving or disapproving the 
plans submitted are reasonable. We have no doubt as to the validity 
of the provisions authorizing the appellee to withhold its approval, if 
the use, shape, height, materials, location and approximate cost of the 
structure and the grading plan of the lot did not reasonably conform to 
the general plan of development and to refuse to approve the plans for 
buildings which would be out of harmony in any of the particulars 
mentioned with other structures in addition, or which would interfere 
unreasonably with the outlook from other structures in the vicinity. 1 
We have already seen that the appellee could validly pass upon the 
suitability and harmony of any proposed structure, considered in 
connection with the other buildings and the general surroundings 
in the development, but we think that any reason assigned by the 
appellee for refusing to approve plans submitted to it, would have 
to bear some relation to the other buildings or general plan of 
development." 

The court then refused to pass upon the right of the seller to refuse 
approval of plans upon purely aesthetic grounds, stating that it 

1 Editor's note. Italics are the author's. 
19 



278 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

was not necessary to examine into that point in view of the holding 
that the covenant was valid upon other grounds. This is a most 
important case and will repay very careful study by all interested 
in the subject. 

From the decisions referred to in this paper it is clear that proper 
requirements contained or provided for in private restrictions 
which require the submission of all designs for approval will be 
upheld by the courts, and that adequate maintenance and enforce- 
ment machinery for carrying out such requirements may be legally 
provided for. 

CHANGES AND AMENDMENTS SHOULD BE PROVIDED FOR IN PRIVATE 

CONTROL 

But there is still another phase which needs mention, though 
time will not permit of detailed examination. Life is change, and 
this is as true with respect to restrictions as everything else. Any 
system which attempts to rigidly restrict the future control of 
property without flexibility to take care of inevitable change is 
almost sure to break down. Consequently the more recent schemes 
of well designed modern protective restrictions make provisions 
for their amendment, in future, by the lot owners within the tract. 
In Palos Verdes, for instance, it is provided that local restrictions 
(that is, those affecting a few lots or areas less than the entire tract 
being subdivided) may be changed at any time by the written 
consent of the owners of two-thirds of the property directly affected, 
plus consent of the owners of a majority of the property within 
three hundred feet in every direction from any of the property 
whose restrictions are changed, and with the consent of the Homes 
Association. Certain of the basic or general restrictions may also 
be changed in a similar manner, but the percentage of consenting 
owners is much higher, and certain basic restrictions, as for example, 
race restrictions, may not be changed at all. 

This method is reasonable and fair. Each prospective owner 
knows of it before he buys. It becomes a part of his contract. 
Consent of a reasonable percentage of property owners is required, 
and in addition the consent of the Home Owners Association (in 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 279 

which every lot owner has a voice, and by which a public hearing 
must be held before the amendment is approved) is required. Such 
safeguards will undoubtedly effectively prevent any attempted 
arbitrary and unreasonable amendment from ever becoming effec- 
tive. Experience at Palos Verdes has shown this method to be 
practicable, safe, reasonable, easy of operation, and generally very 
satisfactory, some twelve amendments having been adopted under 
it in three years, each covering from one to forty items of change. 
Only one serious objection was ever raised to it and that was taken 
care of without difficulty. There seems to be no legal precedent 
directly upholding such a provision for amendment but I feel con- 
fident that the courts in construing it will apply the same reasoning 
and legal principles heretofore applied to other phases of the restric- 
tive legal problem and that they will sustain it. As indicating the 
trend the court in one case involving the right of the seller to vary 
certain restrictions has said: 

"We can easily see that in the progress of time and the varying 
circumstances that might occur it would be to the interest, at 
least not to the detriment, of the owners of property in the addition 
that changes might well be made to suit the changed conditions. 
For instance the price of labor and building material might cheapen 
to so great an extent that a much better building could be erected 
for less than $3,000 than one erected for that sum at the date of the 
deed. Under such a condition, a variation in the cost of residences 
would be justifiable under the language quoted. Many instances 
might be given to the same purpose. But we do not understand 
that the language used could reasonably be construed so as to 
annul the covenant or restriction by permitting purchasers of lots 
to erect any kind of buildings on them." (Hisey vs. Eastminster 
Presbyterian Church (1908) 130 Mo. App. 566; 109 S. W. 60.) 

TREND TOWARD PUBLIC ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL 
We have now seen how rapid and really thorough has been the 
development of the control of design by private restrictions where 
it has been systematically attempted under intelligent guidance. 
The progress in that field has been much faster than in the field of 
public control, but nevertheless, while as yet we have no direct 



280 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

pronouncements of the higher courts on the point of municipal 
control of building design, there undoubtedly is an increasing 
liberality of the courts towards the extension of the police power to 
meet the demands and requirements of modern city growth and 
city life. The situation is much the same as it was 15 years ago 
with respect to zoning under the police power. At that time there 
were practically no legal sanctions or precedents for zoning. Yet 
gradually our cities, in response to urgent demand by property 
owners for protection, began to pass municipal regulations on the 
subject. Wise city attorneys compromised cases and moved cau- 
tiously with their regulations until they could say to the court that 
the idea had been tried out for several years, that zoning worked 
and that basic principles had been established and had become 
part of accepted custom. Then in each state clean cut cases on the 
issue were carried up to the higher courts and gradually a whole 
series of decisions obtained on a theory of use of the police power 
that in 1910 probably would have been held invalid. 

PUBLIC CONTROL BASED UPON POLICE POWER 
If the right to establish architectural control can eventually be 
brought within the police power, all the machinery for enforcement 
and necessary amendment is directly at hand in the form of the 
established municipal governments. It is not necessary, as I have 
shown you it was in the case of private control, to establish special 
machinery and agencies to provide for enforcement and amend- 
ment. In the case of public control all that is required to be 
established is the architectural board itself and to define and 
develop its powers. 

The problem becomes largely one of the legal right of municipali- 
ties to establish such control. Up to the present time courts have 
not been willing to uphold public legislation based upon aesthetic 
conceptions alone but it would seem that there are sufficient 
economic and social or public welfare reasons for the use of the 
police for architectural control, without relying upon the aesthetic. 
And, indeed at least two courts have latterly indicated very strongly 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 281 

that the time has about come when the courts should take aesthetic 
values into consideration. 

In one case the court in sustaining the general theory of the right 
to protect residential districts, made the following statement: 

"Another reason is that giving the people a means to secure for 
that portion of a city, wherein they establish their homes, fit and 
harmonious surroundings, promotes contentment, induces further 
efforts to enhance the appearance and value of the home, fosters 
civic pride, and thus tends to produce a better type of citizens. 
It is time that the courts recognized the aesthetic as a factor in life. 
Beauty and fitness enhance values in public and private structures. 
But it is not sufficient that the building is fit and proper standing 
alone; it should also fit in with surrounding structures to some 
degree." State vs. Houghton (Minn. 1920) Reported in 176 N. W. 
159. 

This Minnesota case was expressly referred to in the later Minne- 
sota case of State ex rel. Beery vs. Houghton decided in 1925, 
reported in 164 Minn. 146 204 N. W. 569, wherein the Supreme 
Court of Minnesota overruled its previous decisions denying the 
right to sustain zoning ordinances under the police power and 
expressly upheld the Minneapolis zoning ordinance. In this latter 
case the court quoted with approval from the preceding case the 
following: 

4 'The tendency is in the directing of extending the power of 
restriction, either through the exercise of the police power or the 
exercise of the right of eminent domain, in aid of the so-called city 
planning or the improvement of housing conditions.'" (Citing 
authorities.) 

And speaking of the destruction of home residential districts by 
the erection of apartments, quoted as follows: 

Not only that, but the construction of such apartments or 
other like buildings in a territory of individual homes depreciates 
very much the values in the whole territory.' " (Citing authorities.) 

And the court also said: 
"Zoning statutes are becoming common. The police power, in 



282 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

its nature indefinable and quickly responsive, in the interest of 
common welfare, to changing conditions, authorizes various restric- 
tions upon the use of private property as social and economic 
changes come. A restriction which years ago would have been 
intolerable, and would have been thought an unconstitutional 
restriction of the owner's use of his property, is accepted now with- 
out a thought that it invades a private right. As social relations 
become more complex, restrictions on individual rights become 
more common. With the crowding of population in the cities, 
there is an active insistence upon the establishment of residential 
districts from which annoying occupations, and buildings unde- 
sirable to the community, are excluded." (Citing authorities.) 

"The trend of the authorities is in the way of sustaining legisla- 
tive regulations." 

"Zoning ordinances, fair in their requirements, are generally 
sustained." 

"Finally, the exercise of the police power is legislative. Its 
policy is not for the courts. Only when its exercise unconstitu- 
tionally affects personal or property rights do the courts take 
cognizance; and it is presumed that the legislative body investi- 
gated and found conditions such that the legislation it enacted was 
appropriate." 

These pronouncements were given the weight of added authority 
when the United States Supreme Court in the Euclid Village case 
especially referred to these Minnesota cases in the following 
language: 

"As evidence of the decided trend toward the broader view 
(that is, the sustaining of zoning under the police power) it is 
significant that in some instances the state courts in later decisions 
have reversed their former decisions holding the other way." 

As showing the possibility of the extension of the police power to 
all public needs as they arise one court has said: 

" It may be said in a general way that the police power extends to 
all the great public needs. It may be put forth in aid of what is 
sanctioned by usage, or held by the prevailing morality or strong 
and preponderant opinion to be greatly and immediately necessary 
to the public welfare." (Noble State Bank v. Haskell, 31 Sup. Ct. 
186 (1911).) 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 283 

PUBLIC CONTROL SHOULD BE DEVELOPED CAUTIOUSLY 
Undoubtedly in establishing municipal control of architecture it 
will be necessary to move cautiously, wait until public opinion 
and public custom have been sufficiently educated to support the 
principle of regulation by ordinance and to justify, ultimately, 
satisfactory regulation and control of design by public authority. 
If that course is pursued, consistently and continuously but wisely, 
is it not entirely likely that the development of the law of private 
restrictions as mentioned here today, and the growth of the law 
of zoning may be repeated, in somewhat parallel form in the 
development of the law of public control of design? American 
courts can surely be counted upon to keep well up with the trend 
of the times and to support a well considered forward looking 
program of control by public authority as they have supported 
control by private parties. 

PRIVATE CONTROL AND PUBLIC CONTROL BOTH WILL BE 
NECESSARY 

When, eventually, we have established the principle of public 
control of architecture it will not mean that we have displaced 
the need for private control also. Public control can hardly be 
expected to give us the refinement of detail and perfection of beauty 
obtainable in the highest class private residential parks, and so our 
interest in and support of the best in the form of private develop- 
ment should not be relaxed. Only by a full use of both methods, 
private and public architectural control, can we hope to obtain 
harmony and beauty in our city growth. 

DISCUSSION 

HORACE W. PEAS LEE, Architects' Advisory Council, Washing- 
ton, D. C.: My subject is not architectural control, but architec- 
tural guidance. Five years ago an Architects' Advisory Council 
was organized here to run civic service in cooperation with the 
federal and district authority for the improvement of buildings and 
streets in the National Capital. After three years of effort the 
scope of the Council was limited to buildings, because we found that 



284 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

other agencies were taking up successfully the question of the 
streets, and the subject of buildings alone, would well occupy our 
time. Washington, unfortunately, has been largely in the hands of 
speculative builders. The work has been going on in more or less 
experimental ways for four or five years, and has had the co- 
operation of Civic Neighborhood Associations, which meet once a 
month to express their wishes to the government authorities. The 
organization of this Committee and its procedure is set forth in a 
letter which is given here in full: 

The majority of people can tell whether a building is beautiful, 
mediocre or ugly, but in completed buildings nothing can be done 
about it. The trained eye can detect potential ugliness in blue- 
prints. At this stage, it may be eliminated from proposed build- 
ings. If trained eyes can be brought to bear upon buildings in the 
blueprint stage, and if even a minority of people will support the 
findings, then there is no longer any reason why entire sections need 
be repeatedly injured either by endless rows of exact duplications of 
mediocrity or by a single " eyesore " in well ordered neighborhoods. 
Well designed buildings need cost no more than mediocre struc- 
tures. They are better investments for the purchasers and for a 
community as a whole. 

To accomplish these results, there has been developed in Wash- 
ington an Architects' Advisory Council. The underlying idea of 
this council is to aid in the development of a more beautiful 
Washington, not by indulging in generalities but by focusing 
technical opinion and public sentiment on each building as it is 
erected. For five years it has been going through experimental 
stages of the technical criticisms, going it alone; now it has asked 
for the support of the Citizens' Associations, and cooperation has 
been promised by the Federation. 

The Council was launched by the Washington Chapter of the 
American Institute of Architects, and is now supervised by a com- 
mittee of the Chapter. The membership represents almost the 
entire roster of the ablest Washington architects, subject to service 
by assignment, whether or not members of the Institute. The ser- 
vice is wholly voluntary, and given without charge. It is an 
" architects' clinic ". The architects are giving their services for the 
good of the city as a whole. 

Once each week, a jury of three architects, one man added each 
week and one dropped, meets in the office of the Assistant Engi- 
neer Commissioner and there reviews the current plans on file for 



PLANNING PROBLEMS 285 

building permits. There are no delays. Plans are examined and 
criticized whether or not permits have been granted. The criti- 
cisms are intended to be constructive. If followed, they would tend 
to make good buildings better, mediocre buildings less insignificant, 
ugly buildings less painful. 

The comments are regularly transmitted to each owner or archi- 
tect, but there is nothing compulsory about following the advice. 
Many have disregarded it to the city's detriment; many have co- 
operated and benefited both themselves and their city. This is 
where the citizens and the Council join. Important recommenda- 
tions of the juries will hereafter be transmitted to each neighbor- 
hood association for moral support. 

Each Association has been asked to appoint a carefully picked 
Committee of Three. The chairman must be a man of judgment, 
tact and influence. To the chairman will be sent each week the 
recommendations which concern his section. It is then up to his 
committee to get in touch with each project and to find out whether 
or not there is cooperation. The committee should not only con- 
sider special cases but should endeavor to build up a solid backing 
in its association for insistence upon generally accepted standards 
of good taste in building, and to establish the fact that community 
pride is an actual factor to be reckoned with. 

This all seems like a tremendous project, and it is but, building 
by building, it can be accomplished. The results in each section will 
wholly depend upon the activity of its committee. It is an oppor- 
tunity really to accomplish something in city beautifying. But it 
also calls for support, section by section, individual by individual. 
You who read this memorandum may definitely help, if you will: 

1. By finding out if your local citizens association has formed its 
committee and notified the Chairman of the Federation General 
Committee, who distributes the recommendations of the Council. 

2. By bringing to the attention of your local committee develop- 
ments which seem to you in need of attention. If your committee 
has received no advice from the Council, it can get technical advice 
at any one of the regular Thursday meetings. 

It is all very well to talk generalities of city beautifying, but do 
you meet your personal responsibility to the extent of your per- 
sonal opportunity? The responsibility for the beauty or ugliness 
of the great bulk of the National Capital rests upon you, the 



286 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

individual, for whom and by whom this bulk is created, building by 
building homes, offices, shops, institutions. Your opportunity to 
meet the responsibility lies through your local citizens' association. 
Have you joined? 

Don't wait for the crisis next door, and the fruitless eleventh 
hour effort. Let your individual initiative develop into construc- 
tive, effective community action. 

THE COMMITTEES ON THE ARCHITECTS' ADVISORY 
COUNCIL 

WASHINGTON CHAPTER, A. I. A. 

Edward W. Donn, Jr., Chairman Horace W. Peaslee, Vice-Chairman 

Louis Justement, Secretary Delos H. Smith 

Fred V. Murphy Gilbert L. Rodier 

William Partridge Frank Upman 

George G. Will Victor Mindeleff 

FEDERATION OF CITIZENS' ASSOCIATIONS 
HORACE W. PEASLEE, Chairman, General Committee 

We cannot impose good taste upon a city. Our motives will be 
misunderstood and misinterpreted. It will look as if the architects 
are trying to get their hands on all building operations. When we 
started this movement, we were opposed by the builders. Now 
they cooperate with us. Demand for good architecture must come 
from the public, and our entire effort is to shape public opinion so 
that it will demand better architecture. 



RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE CONFERENCE 

HIGH BUILDINGS 

WHEREAS, concentration of high buildings in a limited area or 
excessive cubage or bulk of occupied space in buildings causes 
unwarranted and expensive traffic congestion, interferes with light 
and air of neighboring buildings and in other ways is detrimental 
to a balanced and wholesome development of the community, 

Therefore be it Resolved, That this Conference urges that all 
State and local authorities who have control of municipal develop- 
ment place and enforce strict limitations upon building cubage and 
in addition upon building heights when excessive heights would 
prove a detriment to the orderly development of the city or any 
part thereof. 

Be it Further Resolved, That such limitations are especially neces- 
sary in the National Capital where the dignity and impressiveness 
of public buildings may be injured unless appropriate standards 
for the development of private property are set and maintained. 
Having in mind the importance of maintaining the dominance of 
such national structures as the Capitol Dome and Washington 
Monument, the Conference urges Congress and the municipal 
authorities to limit strictly the height of buildings in the Federal 
City. 

UNIFORM TRAFFIC CODE 

WHEREAS, fluid transportation of persons and goods constitute 
the limiting factor in growth and development of communities and 
WHEREAS, street traffic is increasing at an enormous rate and out of 
proportion to facilities for handling it, such facilities remaining 
practically stationary and WHEREAS great economy and benefits 
can be effected by more efficient use of existing facilities and 

WHEREAS, uniform regulations and other standard practices adapted 

287 



288 PLANNING PROBLEMS 

to suit conditions establish a base upon which efficient use may be 
attained and, WHEREAS, it is the function of city planners to provide 
for adequate transportation facilities which provisions must be 
properly determined by those accurate units of measurement which 
are based on efficient use of present facilities, 

Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That this Conference approve the 
standard uniform traffic code of the Hoover Conference on Street 
and Highway Safety and recommend its use to all states. 

THANKS 

Resolved, That the National Conference on City Planning place 
on record its appreciation of the hospitality and the splendid effi- 
ciency of the arrangements made for the entertainment of its mem- 
bers by the Committee of One Hundred on the Federal City and 
our Associated Hosts. 

We voice the view of the Conference that the Washington Meet- 
ing marks a high-water mark in the Conference meetings during 
the past twenty years a result due not merely to the charm and 
beauty of Washington, but to the marvelous opportunities it 
affords to students of city planning to observe at first hand the 
application of city planning principles. 

We desire to express our appreciation to the Press, and to the 
various officials of the Federal and District Governments for their 
numerous courtesies and helpful hospitality. 



ORGANIZATION OF THE TWENTIETH 
CONFERENCE 

OFFICERS 

President 
EDWARD M. BASSETT, New York City 

^ice-President 
HARLAND BARTHOLOMEW, St. Louis, Mo. 

Secretary and Treasurer 
FLAVEL SHURTLEFF, New York 

X 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

Term Expires 1928 
NOULAN CAUCHON, Ottawa, Canada 

FREDERIC A. DELANO, 407 Hibbs Bldg., Washington, D. C. 
HENRY V. HUBBARD, Robinson Hall, Cambridge, Mass. 
JOHN IHLDER, Civic Development Dept., U. S. Chamber of Com- 
merce, U. S. Chamber of Commerce Bldg., Wash., D. C. 
ROBERT JEMISON, JR., Birmingham, Ala. 

NATHAN WILLIAM MACCHESNEY, 30 North LaSalle St., Chicago, 111. 
IRENAEUS SHULER, Keeline Bldg., Omaha, Neb. 

Term Expires 1929 

THOMAS ADAMS, 130 E. 22nd St., New York City 

HARLAND BARTHOLOMEW, Vice-President, 317 N. llth St., St. Louis, Mo. 
HAROLD S. BUTTENHEIM, 443 Fourth Ave., New York City 
COL. U. S. GRANT, Director Public Bldgs. & Parks, Navy Bldg., Wash., D. C. 
MORRIS KNOWLES, 507 Westinghouse Bldg., Pittsburgh, Pa. 
D. EVERETT WAID, 1 Madison Ave., New York City 
FRANK B. WILLIAMS, 55 West 44th St., New York City 

Term Expires 1930 

EDWARD M. BASSETT, President, 233 Broadway, New York City 
JOHN M. GLENN, 130 East 22nd St., New York City 
HERBERT V. JONES, 715 Continental Bldg., Kansas City, Mo. 
JOHN NOLEN, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. 
FRED E. REED, Syndicate Bldg., Oakland, Cal. 
B. H. SAUNDERS, 384 Van Houten St., Paterson, N. J. 
SAMUEL P. WETHERILL, JR., 701 Morris Bldg., Philadelphia, Pa. 



289