Citation
Eastlake

Material Information

Title:
Eastlake a new town for the 21st century
Creator:
Rehrer, Raymond Joel
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
310 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Architecture -- Human factors ( lcsh )
Cities and towns ( lcsh )
City planning ( lcsh )
Architecture -- Human factors ( fast )
Cities and towns ( fast )
City planning ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 304-310).
General Note:
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Raymond Joel Rehrer.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
41205972 ( OCLC )
ocm41205972
Classification:
LD1190.A72 1996 .R44 ( lcc )

Full Text
A NEW TOWN
MASTERS THESIS
OF
RAYMOND JOEL REHRER
COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE
AND PLANNING
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
AT DENVER
MAY 11, 1996


EASTLAKE
FOR TH
1 si CENTURY
1
o o


MASTERS THESIS
OF
RAYMOND JOEL REHRER
COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE
AND PLANNING
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
AT DENVER
MAY 11, 1996


CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION: 11
A. Concerns 12
1. The profession 12
2. The built environment 16
3. My future practice 18
B. Thesis Problem 20
1. Hypothesis and scope of research 20
2. Conduct of research 21
II. PREREQUISITES: 25
A. History (movements, theories, and principles) 26
B. Current Trends 86
C. Concept and Objectives 97
III. PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT AND
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS: 107
A. Philosophy and Principles (live, work, recreate) 108
1. General 108
2. Process 109
3. Architectural process and analysis 111
4. Human focus 117
5. Sprawl 119
6. Order 119
7. Variety 120
8. Mixed uses 120
9. Density 121
10. Community 124
11. Political climate 127
5


12. Rights 128
13. Working 130
14. Recreating 133
15. Circulation 134
16. Conclusion 137
B. Program 138
C. Site: criteria, search, feasibility, and selection. 142
IV. SCHEMATIC DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 153
A. Site Analysis 154
B. Parti 169
C. Regulating Plan 170
D. Phasing Plan 180
E. Elements: 187
1. Dam and reservoir 187
2. Grading and earthwork 191
3. Infrastructure 192
4. Retail 196
5. Office 199
6. Industrial 201
7. Civic Facilities 202
8. Parks 205
9. Recreational Facilities: 207
a. sailing 208
b. golf course 211
c. airfield 213
d. equestrian center 214
e. athletic club 214
10. Residential: 215
a. apartments 215
b. lofts 221
c. townhouses 222
d. single family detached 223
6


11. Landscaping 225
F. Statistical Analysis 228
V. BUSINESS ASPECTS: 235
A. General Issues 236
B. Business Plan 241
1. Description of Companies 241
2. Financing Requests and Justifications 242
3. Marketing Plan 244
a. Situation analysis 244
b. Target market 249
c. Objectives and goals 250
d. Strategy 250
e. Tactics 251
4. Organization of the Firms 256
5. Financial Projections 264
VI. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: 277
A. Fundamentals 278
B. Design Guidelines 284
C. Covenants 287
VII. CONCLUSIONS: 293
VIII. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SOURCES: 303
ILLUSTRATIONS, DRAWINGS, AND TABLES:
Table 1; Characteristics of architecture. 28
Figure 1; Primitive shelter, circa 30,000 B.P. 30
Figure 2; Typical village, circa 10,000 B.P. 31
Figure 3; Yanomamo group houses. 33
Figure 4; Roman castrum at Timgad, Algeria. 34
7


Figure 5; Athens, 5th cent. B.C. 36
Figure 6; Ishtar gate reconstruction. 37
Figure 7; Temple of Isis, Philae. 37
Figure 8; Plan of St. Gall. 38
Figure 9; Palmanuova, Italy. 39
Figure 10; Sixtus V's plan for Rome. 40
Figure 11; Plan of Versailles, near Paris. 42
Figure 12; Savannah, Georgia. 42
Figure 13; Royal Salt Works at Chaux, France. 44
Figure 14; Pullman, Illinois. 48
Figure 15; Plan of Pullman. 48
Figure 16; Central Park plan by Olmstead, New York City. 53
Figure 17; The three magnets. 54
Figure 18; Garden City schematic diagram. 55
Figure 19; Diagram of typical Private Place, St. Louis, 1904. 65
Figure 20; Yorkship Village, Camden, New Jersey. 66
Figure 21; Typical lane, Radbum, New Jersey. 70
Figure 22; "Contemporary City" by Le Corbusier. 72
Figure 23; 1960's plan types. 75
Figure 24; Proposed cluster plan. 76
Figure 25; Spade shaped lot plan. 78
Table 2; Businesses per 36,000 residents. 94
Table 3; Population by age group per 36,000. 96
Drawing 1; Site comparison map. 142
Table 4; Site decision matrix. 148
Figure 26; Geologic section. 155
Figure 27; Box Elder Creek section. 156
Drawing 2; Site analysis: geology. 157
Drawing 3; Site analysis: soils and surficial geology. 159
Table 5; Site analysis: soils. 161
Drawing 4; Site analysis: existing and adjacent land uses. 163
Drawing 5; Site analysis: elevation and relief. 164
Drawing 6; Site analysis: slope analysis. 165
8


Drawing 7; Site analysis: drainage and wetlands. 167
Figure 28; Parti diagram. 169
Drawing 8; Regulating plan. 171
Drawing 9; Master phasing plan. 181
Drawing 10; Box Elder Island phasing plan. 183
Figure 29; Typical earthen dam section. 187
Drawing 11; Grading and earthwork plan. 193
Drawing 12; Infrastructure diagram. 194
Table 6; School populations and sizing. 204
Figure 30; Daycare center plan. 204
Figure 31; Pocket marina. 208
Table 7; Boat slips. 209
Figure 32; Sailing club sketch. 210
Drawing 13; Athletic club plan. 216
Drawing 14; Apartment house plot plan. 217
Drawing 15; Apartment house first floor plan. 218
Drawing 16; Apartment house upper floor(s) plan. 219
Table 8; Dwelling units, square footage, and population. 229
Table 9; Acreage. 231
Table 10; Extrapolation of New Urbanist ratios. 233
Table 11; Comparison of Eastlake and New Urbanist ratios. 234
Table 12; Construction Crew Personnel 262
Table 13; Lot Pricing 266
Table 14; Financial Projections 267
9


CONCERNS
There are several concerns of mine that prompted my undertaking
this thesis. My feelings towards these issues may be alarmist but I think
architects, especially younger ones, will recognize them. They fall into
three major categories but each affects the other and in the final analysis
can't really be separated. The three are concerns about the profession of
architecture, concerns about the built environment, and concerns for my
own future and how I intend to practice. Writing a tour de force about
any of the former was clearly too large an undertaking for a thesis. The
subject is so vast and my expertise so small that it would take many years
of research and experience to understand the subjects in the detail
necessary to be at all credible. Many of our brightest experts who have
spent their entire lives in these fields would hesitate before attempting
such an undertaking. So I concentrated on how I might pursue a career in
this profession as a means of narrowing my focus but still allowing
myself a venue to grapple with my other concerns.
-THE PROFESSION
The prospect of beginning a career in architecture along the
traditional path to achievement is not very appealing. The worst case
scenario is one of a dying profession that is losing its relevance to society
and civilization. Since I've decided to make a major career change this is
of great concern for me. I changed careers because I like designing
buildings and get a real satisfaction building things I've designed. Why is
it that the profession that sees itself as being the means of saving
civilization seems to be allowing itself to become more and more
irrelevant? Are we becoming merely exterior design consultants rather
than the primary designers of a more perfect built environment? This
profession also has a reputation of "eating its young" by demanding
extraordinary levels of formal education followed by a long period of
internship during which a novitiate can expect to be maligned as being
12


incompetent and barely paid minimum wage. Firms also tend to be very
unstable. Part of this is because of the volatility of the building industry.
The effect is cycles of growth and downsizing that is worst on the most
junior members of the profession. Even the long term prospects fall well
below those of other professions. So why would any rational person
choose to become an architect? The standard answer is because they gain
a higher level of satisfaction by being permitted to be creative. They may
even achieve great art. They will also be permitted to profoundly affect
and contribute to civilization by being the great arbiters of the built
environment.
One description of the profession states that architecture combines
both the aesthetic and practical aspects of design to create buildings and
environments that transcend the purely functional and attain a beauty and
meaning that is truly more than the sum of its parts. Another description
of the profession states that architecture has become so imbued with the
art of it that it has become merely another one of the fine arts; that
architects are more interested in designing objects of art based on obtuse
dialectical meanings in order to make a radical statement than they are in
designing works that serve people and improve the quality of our
environment. As such it is claimed that we have abdicated the majority
of building to the forces of finance and mass marketing, not to mention
the engineers. In other words, return on investment and the lowest
common denominator. Has architecture become so arcane that it is only
appreciable to connoisseurs? Is it an acquired taste or does it still possess
meaning to the public at large? My interest is more social and I would
like to help restore some of that fine art to the public.
Perhaps its just a function of the large sums typically involved but
financiers, investors, and developers certainly appear to be controlling
what is built. The conservative factions of the profession probably don't
like it but the rights of ownership far exceed and generally circumvent
those of an architecture license. However, it seems that architects in
particular are content to collect their design fees and enjoy the insulation
\
13


that professional status offers. They complain incessantly about the evils
that financiers, developers, marketers, and real estate people perpetrate
yet they are unwilling to accept the risks involved in trying to compete
with them. Indeed they more often seem to compromise on their loudly
proclaimed principles when commissions are to be made; explaining
away their actions by saying they had no choice.
Most works are conceived by owners or developers. They discover
a need, determine its feasibility, and the parameters under which it can be
built. The chief parameter being cost. The project changes from
satisfying a need, much less a desire for great art, to whether they can
afford to build the project or, in the case of developers, whether it will
provide the necessary return on investment. Most owners are in some
other business. To them the building represents a cost of doing business.
It is an expense to be minimized. Because these people pay the bills they
have the power to decide what gets built. To them architects, engineers,
and the various other designers are merely consultants who are paid a fee
to provide various technical services. The truth is that these consultants
don't have much control over the content of their designs. The most they
can do is refuse to cooperate. Eventually they will lose the commission.
If they refuse often enough they will gain a negative reputation in the
building industry. Potential clients will give their business to more
compliant architects and the other will find that its difficult to make even
a marginal living. The result is a built environment sorely lacking in
quality where it seems that the Butler building and the "drywall body bag"
are the standard. The obvious solution is that architects must become
willing to engage in the development business. There is no reason why
they can't. The only reason they haven't that I can discern is ideological.
Architects as a group tend to have a great disdain for the more
competitive aspects of business.
Personally I don't understand this aversion since every architect who
owns or is a partner in a firm is a businessman as a matter of course.
Even though they are service organizations the owners still have to use
14
t


sound business practices if they are going to be successful. The
difference I'm advocating is that architects take control of the process by
becoming entrepreneurs rather than waiting for projects to be initiated by
others. There is no reason why they can't conduct market research,
identify potential projects, find and arrange loans from investors, satisfy
government regulations, contract construction, sell the product, and
manage the properties. I anticipate the most difficult part is satisfying the
legal requirements for contracting. But according to my limited research
even the extreme action of acquiring a contractors license, compared to
acquiring an architects license, is relatively simple. I don't know if
architects enjoy the rights and obligations of contractors by virtue of the
higher license. I imagine they do since in some cases the architect can be
contracted to hire and supervise the general contractor to include
administering the bidding process. I didn't have time to do much
research of this issue and for this project it wasn't necessary because the
architect is also the developer and owner of the property.
It is obvious to me that the profession is at a real crossroads and is
in serious peril of ceasing to exist. The wonderful art that is supposed to
synthesize all the elements of structure, function, and delight to create
something of greater value may be lost. My conclusion is that business
as usual is not the solution. Each of us must adapt to the situation and
find a determination to master the process in order to compete effectively
and preserve the very real but often intangible value of architecture. In a
free market there is no reason why an architect can not act as an
entrepreneur just as a conventional developer does. Most building in this
country is done on a large scale and on a speculative basis. The evolving
concept and practice of design-build holds promise but as yet it is mostly
small scale and, surprisingly, it is practiced by contractors rather than
architects. One purpose of my thesis is to explore the possibilities for a
new kind of practice that ensures that architectural prerogatives are
foremost in the building process and to provide a model for how an
architect can go about developing his own projects. I approached this
task in the context of setting up my own firm in order to provide a
15


chronologically oriented methodology and a consistent point of view.
The disadvantage is that my model is customized to achieve my specific
goals. However, even though the details are my own I hope it can serve
as a general model applicable to other types of architecture and projects.
-THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT -
Much has been written and said about the awfulness of our built
environment, in particular, our newer suburbs and the phenomena called
sprawl. The solution that is currently in vogue is New Urbanism and its
advocates do present a set of compelling arguments. Though I share
much of their concern I don't necessarily agree with all of their
prescriptions. My chief criticism is that they fail to consider the
paramount issue of cost and it is my judgement that until they can deliver
a superior result at a competitive price they will never be able to displace
the purveyors of sprawl. This is a primary objective of my thesis; to
discover a better alternative to the conventional patterns of growth that
can compete on the all important basis of cost.
Another topic is the issue of sustainability. While the most radical
of the ecologists would allow nothing to be built anywhere the fact of the
matter is that growth in population and prosperity will continue. This will
require more homes and businesses and the amount of the built
environment will increase. A critical debate is whether it is better to
build large metropolitan cities that concentrate people in one area leaving
larger areas between or to spread smaller towns over a larger area but
leaving natural and rural areas in between and within the larger
metropolitan area. Their purpose is the preservation of natural habitat
and while dispersed towns allow corridors for the movement of larger
animals, which is good, other studies indicate that any building destroys
the ability of the ecosystem to function. The resolution of this debate has
yet to be decided but a major shortcoming of it is that it doesn't consider
the needs and desires of people. While most of our people are
sympathetic to preserving nature they also demand better housing, jobs,
16


and society. Nor are they likely to sacrifice their freedom, automobiles,
or televisions for any endangered species.
I've considered an idea I'll call an ex-urban matrix. The general
scheme is to spread out the urban nodes and separate them with open
space rather than the historic urban pattern of a central business district
surrounded by industrial districts, low income housing neighborhoods,
major transportation nodes, like an airport and railroad yards, which is
then surrounded by essentially residential suburbs. In the traditional
pattern the densities generally diminish from the center to the edges only
to be interrupted by commercial zones and in the larger cities by the
development of subsidiary edge cities. Large single use zones are the
norm and it is generally agreed that these have served to destroy
community cohesiveness with suburban sprawl and urban blight rather
than preserve neighborhoods. This matrix would establish partially
mixed use neighborhoods centered on specific entities of the regional
economic base. Each neighborhood would have the various densities of
housing and a basic retail support package. But each would be centered
on a major economic element of a larger economic conglomeration. This
element could be a factory, major school, government complex, or even a
regional mall. Each ex-urban node would resemble a small town but
would be linked to all the others by what I think would be a simplified,
more feasible, and more effective transportation system. A quick set of
calculations indicated that the greater Denver six county population of
two million could be decentralized into 'towns' of approximately 10,000
each covering an area of one square mile and separated from each other
by four miles of open space. The open space would be used for farms
and ranches, large parks, nature preserves, or just left in its natural state.
All of this would require radical restructuring and regulatory controls
which would probably render any such plan unacceptable on social and
legal grounds. However, as a model for an ideal city in the tradition of
the utopian plans of the Renaissance I think it might be worth pursuing as
a matter of theory. The relation to what I want to develop is that each
'town' is a feasible development that can exist as a separate entity or
17


depending on the specific context can exist in relationship to other urban,
suburban, or ex-urban entities. The concept of company towns seems to
bear the most resemblance and some of my research is devoted them. A
better model might be Howard's Garden Cities with their greenbelts. For
the design portion of my thesis my project will be created in relationship
to an existing urban context. It will be a new town and the community
will be primarily residential in nature but developed to provide all basic
services and preserve its independence.
-MY FUTURE PRACTICE--
My basic desire in life is to live a good life, the good life, and the
elusive pursuit of happiness. Place is a very important part of this desire
and is reflected in my enjoyment of architecture and my decision to
become an architect. The home, in all its meanings, is very important to
me and I believe it to be the basis of all architecture. I've had two major
objectives since I decided to change career fields. The first is to get my
degree and my license as quickly as possible. The second is to start my
own firm and pursue this idea of developer-architect-builder and to help
build a better post-industrial / post-urban America.
Call it design-build on a subdivision or town making level. My
principle desire is to do residential architecture but it is finally beginning
to sink in that a good home is dependent on more than its own physical
boundaries. It is just as dependent on its context; its neighbors,
community, society, economic base, regulation, and a host of other
factors. The trick will be to combine all of these to create everything one
could reasonably desire in a home. From this vantage point in my career
that proposition seems pretty daunting but I remain determined to become
a competent, able, creative, independent, and successful architect, full of
the pride that comes of a job well done and having created something
good for my family, community, and society at large. I am eager to get
on with it and this thesis represents my first comprehensive effort to
determine how I might be able to do it.
18


What 1 want to do is buy a piece of land and develop a community
slowly, carefully, a piece at a time, but tied to a larger vision of what a
perfect community should be. My firm will develop the infrastructure
and public facilities in a phased plan tied closely to the business plan and
financing. We will also build the low end units such as apartments and
some townhouses on a speculative basis. Highend townhouses and
detached houses will be designed and built for specific clients
individually. The idea of making architecture understandable and
accessible for most of our people, not just the wealthy few, is a very
important objective. It will do far more to inculcate an appreciation for
architecture in the people, and thereby serve to revive our profession,
than any program of education or great public works because they can
possess it and it becomes personal.
I believe architects should be committed to their beliefs and should
believe in the efficacy of what they build. The reality is that most
projects are 'bread and butter' and once they are built the architects simply
walk away or, if they are particularly successful, drive away in their
Porsches. I don't want to practice like that. I want to build a place for me
to live, and with a little luck, will give me work and a meaningful purpose
for a long time. Finding a place I want to put down roots is more
important than merely finding a job. It is also necessary to be settled in a
place and committed to it in order to build a successful practice. This
commitment to place is linked to an ultimate sense of social responsibility
that is sorely lacking in most business enterprises. I believe strongly that
if an architect is truly committed to what he designs he will strive to see it
built and once built will desire to live ,work, and recreate there. This
manifestation demonstrates the architect's true commitment and imbues
his work with a certain moral righteousness for all to see.
19


THESIS PROBLEM
- HYPOTHESIS AND SCOPE OF RESEARCH -
The purpose of most theses is to prove a hypothesis. They usually
involve the presentation of an argument supported by an extensive
amount of data and evidence to support the hypothesis. The objective is
to add to the body of knowledge that composes a given academic
discipline. In architecture this may be a literary pursuit as outlined above
but more often its the design of some significant project in great detail. It
might be useful to think of it as a superstudio. The purpose of this thesis
is not so much to prove a specific hypothesis but to develop a
comprehensive plan to build a better ex-urban new town that is
economically competitive with conventional suburban developments. It
also has a very personal basis in that it is meant to educate me in the
things I will need to know in order to pursue my own professional goal.
In order to focus my efforts and narrow the scope to a manageable size, I
decided to use a design project that would provide a specific situation and
set of circumstances to deal with.
My thesis project is to design three things. The first is the
architectural plan for a new town' development. The next is the business
plan that will determine its feasibility. Third is the plan for community
development that includes design guidelines and covenants. The two
major subjects are town planning and business planning. Specific topics
of town planning include the theories of ideal towns and utopian cities,
New Urbanism, town planning, company towns, garden cities and
suburbs, and conventional land development. The second general area
concerns business planning. A business plan is a fairly specific format
for strategic planning. There are other planning tools and methods that
form parts of the larger business plan including market assessment,
20


marketing plans, pro formas, cash flow projections, and financing plans.
My investigative approach consisted of three major methods. The
first was essentially library research of the topics listed above and was
intended to give me the general knowledge I need to fully understand the
various aspects of this project and how they relate to each other.
Interviews with various 'subject matter experts' was necessary to provide
specific information. This was especially true concerning the site and
local conditions. The other method was the execution of the design
process or project portion of this thesis. Frequently it revealed problems
that required additional research to resolve.
- CONDUCT OF RESEARCH ~
I began my research surveying the history of architecture and
various works concerning specific aspects of design in an attempt to
glean as many precedents as possible about the design of towns. This
consumed fully half of my time. One of my objectives was to present a
philosophical basis to my work. The more modem practitioners have left
us many writings and have often tried to list rules and principles to guide
the design of towns. Some fall short of composing complete
philosophies or theories but I hoped, at least, I might be able to compile
them, add my own thoughts, eliminate the contradictions, and so arrive at
a fuller set of principles to guide my own work now and for the future. I
had sketched out some ideas for a community on the Potomac River in
Maryland that helped to guide my research but this was proving to be
problematic. I had searched for a site adjacent to water because I like to
sail and wanted to base my new town on that amenity. However, it was
very difficult to get the specific information that I was discovering I
needed to proceed with this long distance design. As a result of several
discoveries I reevaluated my approach and decided to search for a site
locally and to explore the idea of building a resevoir large enough to sail
on. As part of my business research I was conducting a fair amount of
21


trend analysis and I became very exited about the idea of creating
lakefront property in this region. This was to be the key element in
creating a project that would meet the financial requirements and allow
me to create a superior design.
At this point the generalized research for precedents and principles
was mostly completed and I refocused my efforts on the building process
The first step was to establish the program. At first I determined that a
town of 50,000 would be required to provide for the diversity that I
wanted and to support all of the amenities that I desired. The important
elements proved to be population and its density. Then the mix of uses
that would be needed to support and that could be supported by the
population. From these determinations I could project how much land
would be required and begin the search for a site. Throughout my
research it has been important to maintain a sense of reality. As such it
was required that all choices be made according to actual conditions and
not be rationalized or assumed away. Disciplined by the need for profit
the search for a site was made very difficult. I had to conduct far more
research than I wanted concerning mineral and water rights.
Once a site had been selected the design process began in earnest.
The site analysis didn't reveal much that wasn't evident upon first
inspection but it did ensure that there would not be any extraordinary
conditions to deal with in terms of construction. The only extra expense
would be for rather extensive grading to shape the shoreline. The parti is
relatively straightforward; dictated by the terrain and centered on the
resevoir. Each village was then laid out, each with its center of mixed
uses and connected to the others. Each of the key elements was
considered in turn and the regulating plan was altered and tuned to
achieve the proper balances. All the factors were quantified which
allowed the business plan to take shape. The key element proved to be
the phasing of development and construction. This information was
developed in conjunction with the financial projections. Like the issues
22


of water and mineral rights it proved to be very tedious and time
consuming. It was necessary to work through eight versions before a mix
of investment, financing, and sales resulted in a return on investment that
would attract the former. This information forms the backbone of the
business plan which explains how and why this project would be a
financial success, which in turn is the major tool used to attract the
neccessary investment. The marketing plan is a major part of the
business plan but both have become fairly standardized over the years
and the required information is compiled and maintained by various
agencies.
The final chapter of this thesis considers the subject of community
development. There are two major components. The design guidelines
concern the built environment while the deed covenants governs the
organization of people and how they interact with each other. These
sections proved very difficult to write primarily because of the difficulty
of trying to protect individual rights and guarantee public prerogatives
simultaneously. Covenants is a very appropriate term because they are a
contract between individuals whereby they accept various principles and
rules in the interests of a greater good. In this case, the development of a
close community offering a satisfying social life rather than the mere
protection of property values.
This thesis examines the entire building process as applied to the
objective of creating a new town and a new paradigm to replace the
conventional sprawl. In this case I believe I found a great deal of success.
I also verified that there is more to creativity in the built environment than
architecture. For every issue I had to deal with in order to proceed there
was another requirement that I was able to postpone but that I would have
to resolve later and before the actual construction could be completed.
The next step in the process would be putting together an impressive
presentation and taking it to an investment banker. As I proceeded I
became more and more convinced that I had found an idea that could
23


really work. At times I found it very easy to convince myself that it was
real and not just a thesis project. This thesis does accomplish my goal of
developing a plan that incorporates all the things a developer-architect-
builder would need to do to complete the project. The most important
thing is that I have proven to myself that it is possible to effect a real
change in our built environment for the better. It has provided me
increased motivation and a rededication to the proposition that we can
supersede the profit maximizers and give society something better.
24


HISTORY
Everything has a history. Every person, place, and thing. Every
concept, every discipline, every subject has a history. Each of us is the
inheritor of what has been learned before and passed on to us. This is
what sets man apart from the other animals, this extraordinary ability to
learn and to teach. Very little knowledge is actually created or discovered
by ourselves, most is what has been learned, developed, and taught to us
by those who came before. Viollet-le-Duc said it well,"... the study of
history would be only a futile compilation, if it were limited to the mere
exhibition of facts,if it did not endeavor to collect for our modem
civilization a body of acquired experience which may enable it to draw
just inferences that may guide its judgement and direct its actions." And
so I begin this thesis with a short survey of history to trace the
development of human communities and glean some just inferences that
may guide my judgement.
Whatever your religious beliefs, man came into being long ago. He
was naked, both physically and intellectually. He wasn't much more than
a beast. Nearly all of his time was spent driven by an instinct to survive.
In the beginning he was probably strictly a vegetarian. Its not that he
wouldn't eat another animal, he just couldn't hunt effectively. He
wandered incessantly searching for fruit, nuts, vegetables, insects, and
anything he could eat. His greatest protection from predators was living
in a pack and his ability to climb. From the beginning his hands were his
greatest advantage. At some point he learned how to fashion crude tools
and clothing. The anthropologists theorize that this was some 3 to 1.4
million years ago and call this ancestor homo habilis. Up until his arrival,
all human fossils originated in primeval equatorial Africa. Previous
ancestors were tropical animals who could only survive in a warm
climate. Tools led to weapons which allowed him to hunt effectively.
The pursuit of animals probably led to clothing which allowed him to
26


roam further afield and eventually out of the tropics to spread over more
temperate areas.
Habilis was succeeded by Homo Erectus (2.5 million 750,000
B.P.) who had become a fully developed hunter capable of killing the
largest animals. He also had discovered the use of fire which allowed
humans to spread to the edges of the Arctic. Then came Homo Sapiens
(300,000 B.P. present) who were the first hominids capable of speech.
Though his brain wasn't any larger than the last of the Erecti, he was
faster, had finer hands and eyesight, and speech allowed him far greater
social interaction and cooperation. Learning was greatly increased and
human development ceased to be tied to physical evolution and became
increasingly intellectual. It was at this time that true culture was invented
as indicated by the occurrence of ritual burials. Corpses were protected
in graves, placed in specific positions, and anointed with such things as
red ochre, flowers, and bones. Some of these graves took the form of
cairns and exhibited structure, thresholds, and circulation. The pace of
development accelerated, still it wasn't until after the last glaciation
peaked that cultural artifacts began to be found among the tools. The
earliest were beads and jewelry but then came statuettes and cave
paintings. The oldest remains of shelters constructed by humans date to
this time.
Determining when architecture began is dependent on its definition.
Early in my architectural education I was presented with one that was
quite discriminating. The lecturer defined four characteristics of
construction; pragmatic, syntactic, semantic, and poetic. These were
compared in a matrix against levels called structure, building, and
architecture (see Table 1). Pragmatic construction merely solves the
problem. Syntactic is concerned with how it is constructed. It denotes
the use of conventions and rules resulting in the attribute of order.
Semantic denotes the idea that certain forms have meaning and that they
can be combined and articulated to express a message. The highest form
27


is the poetic where the message is conveyed in such a manner that it is
unique, beautiful, and emotionally or intellectually moving. These
characteristics are evaluated against the three levels; structure, building,
and architecture. The process is additive and at each level the work
PRAGMATIC SYNTACTIC SEMANTIC POETIC
STRUCTURE O
BUILDING o
ARCHITECTURE o
Table 1; Characteristics. O Aspires to be.
aspires to the next higher. As a structure possesses higher characteristics
it includes all those antecedent to that level. According to this theory only
when a work possesses meaning does it become architecture. Prior to
this it is 'mere building' or something even simpler and more expedient.
Architecture aspires to the highest level but only the very best reaches the
exalted level of the poetic.
This model infers that architecture, or meaning, is only the result of
deliberate design and that the process must include a pragmatic use,
syntactic order and structure as prerequisites. While this model is useful
from a creative point-of-view its essential criteria of meaning is limited.
While meaning is an essential element it isn't necessarily a matter of
design nor is the message that is intended always the one that is received.
Meaning very often is assigned and is often associative or symbolic. Nor
is it absolute, it may evolve or change over time as perceptions or cultures
change. The mere hut to the sophisticated western artist of the 18th
century may be a sacred edifice imbued with the highest metaphysical
meanings to a primitive tribesman. The same can be said of a 19th
century bank possessing a facade modelled on a 5th century B.C. Greek
28


temple front, while the multiple meanings of La Tourette would escape all
but the educated architect.
A further criticism is that given an obscure work of architecture and
several educated critics, each to independently assess the work's meaning,
the likelihood of agreement is very remote. This supposition while
unproven is in the worst case commonly accepted. This is not to assert
that there are no commonly accepted meanings in architecture. Only that
there are very many. Often more than one meaning or attribute can be
assigned to an architectonic element. And so given our different
perceptions and preconceptions various interpretations of meaning are not
only likely but inevitable. However, if we take the same work and
assuming its a good work conforming to well known architectural
principles then allow the architect to explain its intended meaning to the
educated critics, they will probably agree.
As language is the product of abstract symbols, words, arranged
according to a logical and reasoned syntax to transmit meaning, so is
architecture. As languages evolves and develops, continually adapted and
articulated over time so does architecture. Both are the result of their
origins as is everything else. So the study of that history is important in
that it illuminates its meaning through its collected precedents and
principles. But like beauty, its in the eye of the beholder. Not wishing to
overlook anything that may possess beauty or meaning my personal
definition of architecture is inclusive and eclectic depending on situation,
context, and intent.
The very earliest evidence of shelters constructed by humans are
from the Gravettian culture (c. 30,000 B.P.) of southern Russia. They
consisted of hide covered bent-pole framed lodges measuring about 12 by
40 feet. Yet there is no evidence that these shelters constituted human
settlement, rather most speculation is that these people were at least semi-
nomadic. In this region as in other contemporary fossil sites the
29


Figure 1; Primitive shelter, circa 30,000 B.P.
indications are of small extended family groups of perhaps twenty who
subsisted by hunting large Arctic herbivores such as the wholly
mammoth. Because the evidence is so scanty the only recourse
researchers have is to draw comparisons with better known cultures of
more recent times. This practice is well established and has yielded a
wealth of knowledge about primitive cultures. In general what has been
found is that these cultures are not primitive at all but quite rich in
detailed social relationships, art, and philosophy. Their only primitivism
is technological. Some of the Gravettian tents strongly resembled tipis of
the American Plains Indians. Interior organization of American tipis in
turn strongly resembles that of Mongolian yurts. The corollaries are
endless and have proven to be very useful in forming conceptual
frameworks to understand cultures less well known. Using the same
techniques to conceptualize the origins of architecture are equally valid
since it is a cultural phenomenon just as the arts, crafts, and complex
rules of social behavior are.
30


The variation in primitive
dwellings is vast depending on
culture, climate, and technology
but until the coming of the
agricultural revolution all
settlements remained small and
relatively temporary. The advent
of agriculture (c. 10,000 B.P.)
allowed groups to settle
permanently in single locations.
Life became less tenuous because
these people could rely on steadier
rates of food supplies. The oldest
remains are found north of the
Tigris and Euphrates river valleys Figure 2, Typical village circa 10,000 b p.
in Mesopotamia. They appear to be
conglomerations of cubical units made of mud bricks and plaster. They
are similar to the pueblos of the southwestern Indians except they are
single story. They did have an organization of space into public and
private realms. These villages were groups of houses clustered about
small courtyards. As the towns grew more clusters were added and
connected to the others with narrow alleys and streets. The houses and
alleys were irregular but the basic order is evident. Besides providing
privacy and a social realm these towns met the needs of security and
storage of agricultural resources. An important example is Tepe Sialk
in western Persia because its existence spanned many centuries (c. 4500-
2000 B.C.) and gives a consistent record of development from the most
primitive. Most of the houses at the lowest level were equipped with a
small niche presumably for spiritual purposes. 300 years later the town
had houses of significantly different sizes with the larger ones seeming to
be in dominant relationships to groups of the smaller variety. The town
also had a separate temple centrally located. In the next level the temple
was replaced by a larger one situated on a square and flanked by two
31


other buildings of a public nature. These developments indicate a
stratification of society and a greater importance assigned to public
activities. Each is articulated architecturally by site, size, and elaboration.
Nothing is known for sure but the inference is that each house held
a nuclear family and each cluster an extended family or clan. The elder
or patriarch and his personal household inhabited the larger house and
perhaps one of the public buildings was a meeting hall in which all the
elders could congregate. Later there was the addition of a complex that
appears to be a palace indicating a further stratification of society.
Perhaps because of our democratic biases we would expect the leader to
be centrally located in an exalted position, however, the opposite more
often seems to be the case. The palaces and fortresses were often located
on the perimeter and away from the main entrances to the towns and
cities. A common explanation is that tyrants had as much to fear from
their subjects as they had to gain. Again the principle of security is
paramount and expanded. Sociologically this represents a serious
division in organic societies between the classes. Previously the towns
and their architecture represented an indivisible whole as opposed to
everything outside, be it human or animal.
As interesting as Tepe Sialk is in view of the development of
western civilization, there are other equally valid examples from others.
One I find very interesting is the Yanomamo villages of modem
Venezuela. They are, or were until very recently, a very primitive tribe
living in clan groups deep in the equatorial highland jungles of the
interior. They practice slash and bum agriculture growing primarily
plantains and gourds. They also hunt extensively and so only represent
an example of incipient permanent settlements. Because of soil depletion
they must move their villages every seven years or so. However, each
clan has fairly static territorial boundaries and the village is rarely moved
more than a few miles. The construction is of poles, bark, and fronds and
forms one continuous circular structure. There is one entrance several
32


Figure 3; Yanomamo group houses.
yards wide and opposite it is placed a large trough carved from a tree
trunk. The trough is used to prepare and hold a ceremonial beverage and
is similar in position and significance to an alter in a church. The
Yanomamo concept of the cosmos directly determines the circular
arrangement. They believe the cosmos consists of four discs arranged
vertically. The physical universe and where mankind resides is the
second from the bottom. Demons and bad spirits originate from below
and good ones from the disc directly above. The animistic gods dwell in
the highest level but only interact with humans indirectly and in
generalized form such as sunshine and storms. The central area of the
villages is left open to the sky forming a figurative axis mundi that is
essential to the culture. Privacy is a complex idea dependent on kinship
relationships and though there are no complete enclosures within the
villages nuclear families do have semi-private areas defined about the
perimeter that can be demarcated with light screens. Despite the
architectonic differences with the early Tepe Sialk both employ public,
33


private, and sacred space. Security is a conscious concern and each
possesses a definite gateway. With the Yanomamo, the significance of
the gateway and at the thresholds to private spaces is made even more
clear through elaborate customs, ceremonies, and feasting rituals.
In modem economic terms the coming and development of
civilization can be described as an ever increasing productivity leading to
specialization of labor. Commerce created the conditions where one
person who was particularly skilled in a craft could devote all his time to
producing items such as pottery or jewelry then trade them on a
consistent basis for food or other items. Markets developed in
centralized locations, and these villages grew to become towns. By 3000
B.C. relatively large towns marked by intense commerce had been
created in Mesopotamia and soon thereafter in Egypt, India, and China.
Writing was being invented and gold, silver, and copper were assigned
standardized values--the origins of money. The rule of law was
superseding the judgements
of village elders or tyrants.
Mohenjo-Daro in India possessed
large public baths and a
sophisticated drainage system. At
Merimde, Egypt houses were
arranged in a grid pattern along
public streets indicating perhaps
the beginning of comprehensive
town planning. A further
development can be seen at the
funerary city of Tell-el-Amara
where zones were laid out for
different classes of buildings;
artisans houses, official's villas,
workshops, and the temple Figure 4; Roman castrum
complex itself. This was also at Timgad, Algeria.
34


perhaps the earliest exampleof a company town since its primary purpose
was to produce Akhenaton's tomb. The culmination of standardized
planning was probably the Roman castrum. Originating from the
fortified frontier military settlements designed to settle a 10,000-man
legion they were later used to establish more permanent colonies
throughout the empire. The cores of many western cities still bear the
legacy of this very specific plan.
It took 7000 years for self contained and self supporting villages
and towns to develop into cities. That is the essential difference. Up
until the third millennium before Christ settlements were mostly made up
of people who were farmers. Everything they needed was produced
locally and most manufactured items they crafted for themselves. There
were few specialized artisans. The primary division of labor was by
gender within the family. Just as the pre-agricultural bands were limited
in size so were the early villages. With the commercial revolution and
the arrival of civilization the scope of activity was expanded over entire
regions which included many settlements. Artisans could truly specialize
and their wares could be distributed to a much larger group of people by
means of trade. Productivity increased creating increases in wealth which
in turn sought things to spend itself on. Cities grew up to serve entire
groups of towns and systems grew up to control ever larger territories and
complex interactions. Architecturally, there was little differentiation in
building types in the early villages since most families pursued the same
livelihood. Perhaps there would be a temple or a meeting place but little
else besides farmers cottages. Cities, specialization, increased
productivity, and civilization produced widely varied types of buildings.
A smith's shop differed from a weaver's which differed from a wine shop.
Granaries differed from warehouses which differed from stables.
Meeting houses differed from basilicas which differed from agoras.
Babylon had its famous pleasure gardens, Rome its Colosseum and
Circus Maximus, and Athens its Akropolis. By the time of Christ all the
types of buildings that compose our modem towns had been originated as
35


well as higher concepts of how they should be arranged.
The only comprehensive written source on architecture we have
from this period is Vitruvius and only in the first of his ten books does he
lecture on city planning principles. First he advocates strong walls for
defense. Next he infers streets be laid out on a grid and angled 45
degrees to the prevailing winds. And lastly that public buildings be
centrally located on high ground except for ports when they should be
located near the harbor. The principles are ones of convenience and
utility. Just as today, whole towns were rarely the result of careful
planning. Even in the cities that were carefully laid out according to a
plan it was usually limited to the streets and locating key public facilities
such as the market, administrative buildings, and the principal temples.
However, much can be learned from indirect written sources and
archeological studies.
Besides the siting of important public buildings mentioned by
Vitruvius two other practices are
very important. The first is the
notion of the "processional way"
used so effectively at Athens
though most cities had one. The
idea conforms to modem ideas
about a town's main street. In
Athens it led from the main city
gates on the road from the port of
Piraeus to the agora, the center of
public life, and then on to the
Akropolis. It organized the town
linearly which was especially
useful for visitors to the city and
provided a strong element binding
the city together through its main Figure 5; Athens, 5th cent. B.C.
36


societal edifices. This connection was both physical and psychological
and had a profound effect that was reinforced with periodic public rituals
in the form of parades, hence, the processional way.
The second element was the
use of grandiose gateways
particularly in the Middle East and
Egypt. The Ishtar Gate at Babylon
was far greater than it needed to be
for defensive purposes and was
clad in deep blue tiles adorned
with fierce beasts. The impression
on passers-by must have been
profound and imparted respect for
the power, wealth, and greatness
of the Babylonian emperor.
Another great example was the
Figure 7; Temple of Isis, Philae.
Fig. 6; Ishtar gate reconstruction.
temple complex of Amon-Re at
Kamak in Egypt. The huge slab-
like wall on the entrance side
pierced by the narrow slit-like
entrance must have been
overwhelming. It imparts a very
definite sense of passage between
the temporal world and the
spiritual. This device is repeated at
intervals through the linearly
37


oriented series of temples as one passes into ever more sacred spaces.
The sense of gateway is important because it defines the idea of entering
an area that is different from that with out and one that is special or better
than others. This sense of specialness is very important in order to
establish a sense of identity for a community.
The coming of the Dark Ages in the West meant a centuries long
hiatus in the development of comprehensive community planning there.
But it was still practiced to greater or lesser degree there and in other
civilizations. The imperial cities of Bejing and Xian in China and Meso-
American cities of the Maya and Aztec are extraordinary examples. The
only exceptions in the West were the plans of some monasteries in the
medieval periods. The St. Gall plan is the most famous and clearest
example. While they were excellent plans for self contained communities
their specialized function is not
easily translated for general use of
society. The plan is very
functional and shows the
arrangement of buildings and
pens to provide for all the earthly
and heavenly needs of the
brothers. The plan is rectilinear
with residences along the
northside and working buildings
along the other. The cathedral is
slightly off center which allows
the gardened cloister to occupy it.
An association with the English
idea of the village commons and
the New England village green
can not be overlooked. The
notion of the "dark" ages, when
civilization collapsed and all the Figure 8; Plan of St. Gall.
38


great knowledge accumulated by the classical ancients was lost, is a great
fallacy. The Eastern Roman Empire continued the development of
classical architecture throughout this period, though, perhaps with more
of a Hellenistic influence. In the West, what became known as the
Romanesque style was merely the preservation of classical techniques
and forms adapted to a different culture. One which was Christian and
agrarian rather than one which was urban, cosmopolitan, and imperial.
Finally, in the late Middle Ages the traditions of Rome gave way to a new
style called Gothic which owed its origins to the new cultures of Europe
north of the Alps.
As it did in all areas of learning, the Renaissance ushered in a
period of renewed interest in architecture and planning. Many learned
men attempted to advance the art with speculative studies concerning the
ordering of the ideal cities. One of the masterpieces of Western literature
was "Utopia" by Sir Thomas More. While his work was never intended
to be a practical plan,
the works of others
were. Leonardo Da
Vinci proposed abating
the squalor and
congestion of Milan by
building ten cities of
5000 homes, 30,000
people, separated horse
and pedestrian traffic,
and gardens served by
a municipal irrigation
system. Of the few
that were built,
Palmanuova in Italy is
the most famous and it
is typical of the ideas Figure 9; Palmanuova, Italy.
39


then being generated. The architects of the day intensely studied ancient
ruins and the recently rediscovered Ten Books on Architecture" by
Vitruvius. Their dependence on the classical examples bordered on
religious worship and they were particularly influenced by the idea of
centralization. Unlike the ancients, the Utopians believed the circle to be
the ideal form rather than the grid. The circle suggested a radial plan for
the streets but this created the problem of irregular wedge shaped blocks
especially in the critical center. At Palmanuova a compromise of sorts is
reached by deforming the circle to a nine sided polygon with an open
hexagon in the center. Six main streets radiate from the center and every
other one becomes a road leading out of the town. Each is arranged to
terminate at a tee intersection in an articulation designed to further
mitigate the negative effect of the wedge shaped blocks. Public buildings
were located near the center and working buildings on the perimeter. The
wide band in between was reserved for residences. The town is small
enough that distances do not provide much of an impediment to
interaction but separating the primary work places from the civic, social,
and commercial center is
counter-productive to creating
the synergy sought through
centralization. Most of these
cities had a military purpose to
outpost a frontier and as such
share a direct link with the
Roman castrum.
The next great example of
planning is the redesign of
Rome by Pope Sixtus V. In the
Middle Ages it had become a
geomorphic hodge-podge of
narrow cluttered streets dotted
with towers and churches.
Figure 10; Sixtus V plan, Rome.
40


Sixtus sought to create, architecturally, St. Augustine's image of the city
of god. This was achieved in two ways. The first was the creation of
several broad boulevards connecting the great cathedrals of the city. This
wasn't that difficult because most of them lay outside the shrunken limits
of the city. Within the existing city of 1585 the effects were not as
pronounced. But his solution there was the enforcement of a height
limitation that was retroactive. Most of the towers that were the feudal
strongholds of powerful families were decapitated and so the prospects
to, and the dominance of the religious buildings was made paramount.
This latter act had precedents in the medieval cathedral towns but
combined with the connecting boulevards it established a new precedent
in the design of cities. The Renaissance architects were preoccuppied
with geometry and order. They applied their mathematical studies to all
aspects of design to include town planning. While ultimately
unsuccessful, they did reestablish the idea that cities should be arranged
rationally. Commercial and sociological functionality eclipsed defense as
the primary generator of urban design.
Another idea that began to emerge was that of the country estate
surrounded by the beauty of nature. In time this would lead to the
theories of Olmstead and Wright concerning a basic human need for the
natural environment and its palliative effects on the psyche and society as
a whole. Gardens of this earlier period were strongly influenced by
current theories stressing order, symmetry, and geometry7. The gardens at
Versailles exemplify the state of the art in the 17th century. These estates
did not represent an abandonment of the city rather a retreat to which one
could repair to enjoy the beauty of natural surroundings. The emphasis
was on controlling nature and plants were used much as a Navaho weaver
might use different colored yam. Still it represented a radically different
environment than the typically crowded town or city. And since its
purpose was one of leisure it was fundamentally different from most
other estates which existed that had agricultural purposes.
41


Figure 11; Plan of Versailles, near Paris.
Architecture and planning on
an urban level gained greatly
expanded opportunities with the
colonization of the New World. At
best the old cities could be
renovated but they could not be
completely remade they remained
based on the tight geomorphic and
random evolution of the Medieval
Age. In the new world explorers
and colony founders had grandiose
plans and raw land on which to
build. The use of grids to divide
property and establish street
systems proved to be ubiquitous. Figure 12; Savannah, Georgia.
42


Occasionally, there were attempts to establish radials and diagonals but
just as at Palmanuova they proved to be problematic. Somewhat more
often geomorphic patterns would be used in response to waterfronts or
restrictive terrain. A key determinant was transportation since so many
cities were founded at junctions of major routes. Often these junctions
were on rivers since much more trade and travel depended on them than
today. Unfortunately, this tended to be the extent of conscious planning.
What was built and where was largely the result of land speculation and
economics rather than the desire to create a better urban environment.
Public squares were often reserved for the location of town halls,
courthouses, and churches. At Savannah, Georgia many were planned so
that from anywhere in the city there would be one within a couple of
blocks. The reasoning for this is the same convenience and utility stated
by Vitruvius 17 centuries earlier. The difference at Savannah is that it is
taken down to the neighborhood level. The same thing had occurred in
other cities and were praised by Laugier about Paris. The difference is
that in Savannah they were part of a comprehensive plan and that plan
was regulated to provide for their perpetuation as the city grew. In the
areas colonized by Spain and Portugal similar patterns emerged though
their were different emphases of style and hierarchy.
Modem comprehensive town planning probably began with Claude-
Nicholas Ledoux when he designed the Royal Salt Works at Chaux,
France in 1775. Up until this point planning had restricted itself mainly
to street plans and squares. The vast majority of the urban fabric
consisting of residences had usually been left to its own devices. This
included a neglect of industrial and commercial types as well, with the
notable exception of Palmanuova. Ledoux paid special attention to the
functioning of this community, designing housing for workers and
administrators alike in addition to the working buildings. The master
plan was circular but because of its rural character and overall small size
didn't create the same problems of odd comers that had been the case in
previous attempts. The Salt Works represent a category that would
43


Figure 13; Royal Salt Works at Chaux, France.
predominate for the next centurythe planned industrial town. The
important shift is from the limited scope of street plans and civic
aggrandizement to examining the built environment in its entirety from a
functional aspect that includes all its inhabitants.
Somewhere between 1750 and 1850 Western Civilization began to
undergo a fundamental change since labelled the Industrial Revolution.
The revival of empirical study and science that began in the Renaissance
had displaced the previous spiritual and traditional paradigms and by the
18th century the new knowledge was being applied on a comprehensive
level. The greatest impact was on the manufacturing of goods and the
increased productivity resulted in vastly expanded markets. Up until this
time most people were engaged in agriculture and most were poor. The
middle class wasn't much larger than the wealthy class. By the beginning
44


of the 20th century a complete inversion had taken place. Most people
belonged to the middle class and were not engaged in agriculture. By our
own time only three percent of Americans are engaged in agriculture and
less than 20% of the population is classified as poor. This is somewhat
misleading because in comparison with the poor or even the middle
classes of the previous centuries ours are quite well off. Nobody starves
unless they are on a hunger strike or anoretic.
The clock replaced the sun as the regulator of daily life. The
masses were more affluent and had much more leisure time to devote to
pursuits other than survival. Cities grew exponentially because
manufacturing thrived best when centralized and economies of mass
production could be realized. Cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago
and St. Louis exploded. But all was not good. The working classes and
the poor who formed the lower rung of urban society were inhumanely
exploited and the best they could do was to eke out a living as unskilled
laborers. At best they lived week to week in debt to the company store.
In 1906 "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair was published. It chronicled, in a
vivid fictional account of an 'everyman', the degradations of this lifestyle.
The writer had a socialist agenda but his descriptions of the vast slums of
Chicago are indelible. Unpaved streets and open sewers compete with
shabby housing provided by unscrupulous speculators. The drab
housing was piled together to use every square foot of available ground.
Industrial waste flowed from the factories into streams and pits and
because there was no drainage system it all would flow into the streets
when it rained. Downtown and its adjacent affluent suburbs were
different. They reflected the best in traditional town planning but
provided a stark contrast with the sprawling slums. Dickens' London was
a similar 'jungle'. These conditions appalled the social reformers, not to
mention the architects, of the 19th century but they were relatively
powerless to make any widespread changes, as was government.
Ledoux had shown the way and gradually a few socially conscious
45


industrialists made attempts in their own enlightened self-interest to
change things. The key selling point was that a happy worker was a more
productive worker. To the worker this primarily meant higher wages and
fewer hours. The enlightened industrialist conceded as much but went
much further forming the idea that a healthy and wholesome environment
was as important. I doubt this interpretation meant much to the
American pioneers who were locked in a daily battle with nature but to
the second generation city dwellers it had a palliative effect. This idea
was the result of the convergence of several lines of thought. First was
the idea of man in nature as elaborated by the romanticists and the
picturesque school of art; Rousseau's noble savage. Second was the
developing philosophies of the Social Darwinists. The slums were
viewed as a decrepit environment that debased the physical robustness of
the race and being thus debased, fell victim to various social ills that were
at once the cause and effect of the process. These concerns and ideas
were the beginning of the modem city planning movement though it
would not be named that until the end of the century.
The first examples were the industrial towns. One of the earliest
transformations was at Lowell, Massachusetts which was rapidly changed
from a small New England town to a very successful textiles
manufacturing town. The earliest mills were located along the banks of
the river but instead of the usual crowded tenements built by slum lords
the owners built more commodious rowhousing spaced to provide
adequate light and air as well as yards for gardens. The housing was
oriented for easy access to the mills and to the old village center. Lowell
was more the result of a town preserving its small town values and
benevolence on the part of the magnates rather than planning but it set a
standard against which other industrial towns could be compared. Robert
A.M. Stem said,"here are all [the] edifices of a flourishing town in the
Old World except the prisons, hospitals, and theatres." Lowell was
transformed in the early part of the century but for the next 50 years the
legacy of the industrial towns was one of worker abuse. Perhaps the coal
46


mining towns of Appalachia were the worst. Poor ignorant farmers were
hired to work in the mines under the worst conditions imaginable. Their
housing tended towards the tarpaper shack sited amidst tailings and the
detritus of heavy industry. There were no schools only alcohol and the
company store. Credit was extended readily and on top of rent the
worker soon found himself in debt. The typical deal was he couldn't quit
unless he was debt free but that never seemed to happen.
Another result of the Industrial Revolution was the creation of
networks of cheap transportation that allowed goods produced under the
economies of mass to be distributed cheaply. One could not have existed
without the other. The railroads are one of the main icons of this new
economy but one of the first suburbs made possible by better
transportation owed its existence to the Staten Island Ferry. Mr.
Tompkins of New York owned a large tract of land on Staten Island with
an excellent prospect of the Hudson River and the City which he wanted
to develop as an upper class enclave. Despite its scenic qualities it was
isolated and all the jobs and money were in the City. His solution was to
start a daily ferry service to Manhattan. Few people today rely on the
railroads for their daily commute but the Staten Island Ferry has been in
continuous operation since 1817, well before the railroad was even
invented. This tale points out the crucial importance of dependable
transportation to the existence of the suburb and new town. Neither can
exist without it.
In 1880 George Pullman, the railroad car manufacturer, decided to
build an industrial town on the shores of Lake Calumet, outside Chicago,
which he named after himself. He believed the idea that natural beauty
would restore the worker. He hired an architect and a landscape architect
to plan the town for 8000. They provided for everything from workers
cottages and boarding houses to ten room mansionettes for executives. It
included an infirmary, theater, parks, a church, hotel, stores, parks, a
library, and schools. He attempted to provide for all the physical and
47


Figure 14; Pullman, Illinois.
social needs of the people who would reside there. Yet he was a
businessman first, last, and always so he retained ownership of
everything and charged what the market would bear in rents. He ran his
fiefdom with an iron fist and demanded from his employees all they too
would bear.
Finally they went
out on strike and
the ideal of
planned
industrial
paradise ended in
bitter violence
and bloodshed.
It should be
noted that despite
the ultimate
failure of
Pullman on a
social level its
physical design Figure 15; Plan of Pullman.
48


was excellent. In the realm of architecture and planning it displaced
Lowell as the new standard. Pullman also marked the rising of landscape
architecture to professional status and in the realm of planning. The most
significant principle established is the equal importance of social planning
with the physical design of the town.
At this time in England two more industrial towns were built by
enlightened industrialists. Though they were not as large as Pullman nor
as comprehensive they were both ultimately more successful. The first
was built by William Lever the soap magnate in 1888 and optimistically
named Port Sunlight. His purposes were the same as Pullman's but he
wasn't obsessed with control. The main focus was on providing decent
clean housing much of which he financed on a speculative basis. The
usual method in Britain was for the land owner to lease lots on extended
terms and for the resident to own any improvements such as a house. He
modeled the architecture on the local vernacular keeping with accepted
Domestic Revival principles and the planning was meant to replicate the
cozy social environment of the idealized British village. However, the
architects were free to experiment with the house interiors. In an effort to
maintain scale and a country estate atmosphere, they developed what
appeared to be large houses which were actually divided internally into
middle class family rowhouses. The second example was Boumville
built by George Cadbury, the chocolate manufacturer, in 1895. The odd
thing about it was that despite an almost obsessive concern for sanitation
among the people of the day, the houses were not equipped with baths, at
least not on a uniform basis.
The late 1800's were the heyday of the naturalistic English garden.
The ideas surrounding its purpose and form would come to be a
dominant element in town planning well into the 20th century. I will not
diverge into an exposition of Rousseau's noble savage, Romanticism, or
the Picturesque School of art. The result of all these theories was a deep
belief in the healing quality of naturalistic surroundings and personal
49


contact with nature and its processes. Similar to the increasing facility of
counselling in our own era, nature was seen to be therapeutic, and only in
close contact with it could individuals reach their full potential. Coupled
with the excesses of the Industrial Revolution bringing nature back into
the lives of people took on the aura of a crusade for many reformers.
This widespread belief made possible the profession of landscape
architect by extending the naturalistic garden from just the country estates
of the incredibly wealthy few who could afford them to the public at
large. The avenue to this end was the public parks movement and its
most renowned advocate was the landscape architect Frederick Law
Olmstead. It has been said that, "there is no such thing as history, only
biography". If Hegel's great man theory is true, then there is a triumvirate
of great men each of whom was the guiding light of a movement who
taken together composed the basis of the town planning movement which
would supersede them all and result in the creation of a new architectural
profession that of urban planner.
Olmstead was the oldest and began his work in the mid 1800's. He
foresaw the great migration from the country to the city that would
characterize the next hundred years at a time when Manifest Destiny and
the Jeffersonian agrarian dream were seeing their greatest expression,
namely the settlement of the west by the pioneers. He also foresaw the
coming horrors of industrialization and its sociological effects long
before his like-minded contemporaries. Politically it was the time of the
capitalists. Economically, the industrial north would win a bitter victory
over the agrarian south that charted the course of American history. It
would not be until he lay on his deathbed that the Progressive movement
in politics would attempt to deal with the questions of social equity
spawned by industrialization. In 1870 he would lay out his case writing,"
what accommodation for recreation can we provide which shall be so
agreeable and so accessible as to be efficiently attractive to the great body
of citizens, and which, while giving decided gratification, shall also cause
those who resort to them for pleasure to subject themselves, for the time
50


being, to conditions strongly counteractive to the special enervating
conditions of the town". Namely, the slums.
His solution was the creation and propagation of large recreational
parks where one may escape "restraining and confining conditions of the
town ... which compel us to walk circumspectly, watchfully, jealously,
which compels us to look closely upon others without sympathy". In his
book, "Public Parks and the Enlargement of Towns" he identifies two
types of recreation. Exertive recreation includes games and sports from
chess to boxing. Receptive recreation simply means watching somebody
else do something whether it be a concert or a sporting event. He divided
the Receptive into two more classes. Gregarious recreation includes
strolling on promenades such as the Champs Elysee or going to any large
public event. Neighborly recreation is done close to home and he
advocated providing places for neighbors to gather informally. The main
difference concerns the concept of urban anonymity. In a gregarious
setting one is lost in a crowd of strangers but at home in the
neighborhood everyone knows everyone else. He establishes a number of
principles:
** Belt of trees to block out the city
Central location but not blocking crosstown traffic.
Simple, broad, clean openspace of greensward.
Woody points and bays providing spaces that are more private
and of a more intimate scale.
** Integration into transportation network.
Open and free, never caged in prospect.
** Visual interest by detailed works, avoid broad expanses of
monotonous surfaces.
51


Use multiple scenes in rapid succession and multiple views
from and to landmarks to make the park seem larger.
** Develop vistas based on classical principles.
** Large recreational buildings adjacent to but not in the park
(museums, galleries, etc.).
Use parkways to connect the further reaches of town to the
park.
Parkways used to influence the character and directions of
growth.
** Parkways should not function as main thoroughfares but as
pleasant drives.
** Use plantings for shade, contrast, and color.
** Economy, flexibility, and adaptability because cities grow in
unexpected ways.
Olmstead secured his first big opportunity to put his theory into
action in 1873 designing New York's Central Park. His main problem
was not design oriented but the concerns of many that the park would
become a haven for ruffians and hoodlums. The partial solution was not
to allow any taverns in the park only small concessionaires selling non-
alcoholic beverages. Olmstead was no ecologically correct naturalist. He
was an artist and had no qualms about changing the environment to
create the best artistic effects. It is said he kept 3000 men with horse
drawn graders busy for a year sculpting the terrain. Local speculators
thought the park would depress land values but he argued the opposite.
Later he would claim that they increased 400% on adjacent property and
increases were realized up to a mile away. The argument would be used
by advocates across the country to gain support for elaborate park and
52


Figure 16; Central Park plan by Olmstead, New York City.
boulevard systems and city beautiful projects. Olmstead was criticized
for allowing through traffic into the park. He had mitigated the
crossroads by sinking them below grade so as not to intrude on his vistas
but they were really part of an elaborate scheme of roads, trails and
walkways that created an integrated but separate systems for strollers,
carriages, equestrians, and through traffic. Olmstead would later branch
out into town and suburb planning and many of his works exhibit a park
like environment. To the end of his life he disliked cities though much of
his work was in them. His basic sentiment was one of in the city but not
of the city.
The next great man was not an architect or artist but a court reporter
in London. His name was Ebenezer Howard and he was the founder and
guiding light of the Garden City Movement which would spread
worldwide. Like his contemporaries his over-riding concerns were for
the industrial poor and the appalling conditions they lived under. The key
elements of his solution were the dispersal of industries from the big
cities to new towns in the countryside, to relieve congestion, and
common ownership of the land. The great demon was the 'unearned
increment' made by the owners of the land on leases which he saw as
being drained away. His model was to set up a corporate trust which
would purchase and subdivide the land. Long term leases would be sold
53


on a not-for-profit basis resulting in much lower rents. The income
would then be used to pay off the mortgage on the land purchase and for
public improvements. In this period of Fabian socialism his proposals
were received with enthusiasm and a Garden Cities Association was soon
established. Several wealthy benefactors were recruited to the cause
including Cadbury and Lever who provided money for a down payment
on land for the first Garden City. A large parcel of land was purchased at
Letchworth north of London and plans were immediately begun.
From the very beginning Howard stressed that he was not a
designer and that the knowledge did not exist to guarantee a successful
result. He emphasized an experimental approach that would be refined
with each succeeding Garden City. He did put forth the philosophical
and conceptual basis for design and articulated a form that was a
combination of the good aspects of town life and country living. He
believed people would be attracted to garden cities by a Town-Country
Magnet; workers by a better life,
industry by lower rents and a pool
of high quality workers, and
farmers by a ready market. The
farm component was unique and
was a response to the perceived
rural population depletion and
poverty problems. The
conceptual design model was
based on concentric belts. In the
center was a civic and retail core.
This was surrounded by a
residential belt and midway
through it was a broad parkway in
which would be located
neighborhood schools, parks, and
other facilities. On the perimeter
Figure 17; The three magnets.
54


Figure 18; Garden City schematic diagram.
would be the industrial buildings which would be serviced by a perimeter
loop" railroad off of a mainline. The entire built-up area was to be
surrounded by a greenbelt of farms in an area ratio of six to one that
would serve as a buffer between garden cities and prevent the accretion
and congestion that was typical of tum-of-the-century London. He used a
radius of 3/4 mile to limit the size of the city and allow all residents an
easy walk to the center or greenbelt. He calculated a population of about
32,000.
55


A key element was the idea of the recuperative, therapeutic, and
civilizing effects of nature. The vehicle they grasped to this end was the
pastime of gardening which gave the movement its name Their image
of the town was one of buildings set in gardens. Each home was to have
extra land for personal gardens. Parks were to be public gardens and the
agricultural greenbelt was the city's vegetable garden. This idea may
have provided an inaccurate characterization of the aims of the movement
which were primarily social. Perhaps the best characterization is a quote
from Emerson:
To live content with small means,
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
And refinement rather than fashion;
To be worthy, not respectable,
And wealthy, not rich;
To study hard, think quietly,
Talk gently, act frankly;
To listen to stars and birds,
To babes and sages with open heart;
To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
Await occasions, hurry never;
In a word, to let the spiritual,
Unbidden and unconscious,
Grow up through the common.
Over the years a group of principles would be articulated by the
group based on the definition: "A Garden City is a town designed for
healthy living and industry, of a size that makes possible a full measure of
56


social life, but not larger: surrounded by a rural belt: the whole of the land
being in public ownership or held in trust for the community." Garden
city principles were applied to the problems of the city in an early
profession of a need for urban renewal. Howard hoped that the masses of
workers leaving the cities for Garden Cities would result in an great
lessening of congestion that would allow for a rebuilding of the old cities.
Patrick Geddes advocated an active effort by government as absolutely
necessary and to begin with a detailed survey to identify all problems in
detail. He advocated the establishment of multidisciplinary departments
to study their cities and produce "surveys" documenting problems and
preparing plans for redeveloping the cities. The first three principles
listed below are Howard's primary principles.
Common ownership of land held in trust.
** Combine social advantages of the city with healthful
environment of the country.
Attract immigrants from the old cities by providing a better way
of life at a better price.
Greenbelts to separate new towns.
** Provide for an active social and recreational life.
Life centered civilization, not centered on materialism or
capitalism.
Self sufficiency in food, employment, and social interaction.
Zoning to preserve quality and prevent encroachments.
** Means of living subordinate to the purposes of living.
** Eliminate "smoke fiend" by exclusive use of electricity.
Recycle sewage as fertilizer.
57


Experimental approach to solve problems.
Establishment of cooperatives to build homes and provide
public services.
** Regional planning authority to prevent "conurbation".
Public service in lieu of taxes.
Grouped garages.
** Billboards and oversize signage prohibited.
** Minimum wage as means of insuring a minimum adequate
standard of living.
*" Sanitary sewage systems required.
Housing forms urban fabric in contrast to public facilities
(buildings and parks).
Land speculation prohibited.
** Greater access to light and air by less density.
** Abundant playgrounds.
** Multi-disciplinary and public approach to planning.
Fostering a sense of community identity through social and
architectural means.
Clean industry to provide employment.
Covenants to prevent city problems and promote social,
economic, and design goals.
** Standard of a 3/4 mile walking distance.
Commercial center in proximity to the railroad station.
58


Allotments in the rural belt to provide gardens for apartment
dwellers.
Master plan defining users, character of buildings, and density.
** Provide adequate water, sewage, and drainage
It was in this period that the image of the neat cottage on its
spacious lot with a garden and surrounded by a white picket fence
became an icon of what a good or the good life was all about. This image
was to symbolize a vague concept called the American Dream that was to
be what all decent people were supposed to strive for. The home and
family had become the central fact of life for Western Civilization, the
essential building block of which true culture and decent society were
built. The home was the incubator of all that is good and decent in life.
These are very powerful ideas and today's disintegration of the family
structure is widely believed to be the root cause of the most endemic
social ills.
The third great man was Charles M. Robinson who wrote "Modem
Civic Art: The City Made Beautiful" in 1903. Like Howard and
Olmstead before him his manifesto hit a public chord and the City
Beautiful Movement was bom. The movement absorbed most of
Olmstead's ideas but unlike the Garden Cities Movement it was
concerned more with instilling civic pride through grand public works
projects than improving the lives of the poor. However, all sought to
improve their built environments. It actually began much earlier but was
cast in a competitive scenario of one city trying to out do another. What
Robinson did was create a comprehensive statement of its purpose that
could be applied anywhere. Still direct applications depended on site so
results were always local in nature. The best known results of the City
Beautiful Movement are numerous civic centers and grand railroad
stations but they were also concerned with the more mundane aspects of
59


creating a better city such as sewage systems, paved streets, recreational
parks, and the like. Under its banner the movement gathered together
many other associations concerned with public improvements. There
were many transformations in the various societies and ultimately their
influence was superseded by the ideas associated with the 'City Practical'.
In practice the results of the movement varied widely. This was because
the success of various projects depended on the activities of local citizens
groups and their abilities to raise large amounts of capital.
William H. Wilson criticizes the movement writing," Their aims
included the spreading of middle class values through the uplift of
unfortunates and the establishment of their own cultural hegemony". He
makes it sound like a conspiracy. In reality they were generally
concerned with making their cities better places, places they could be
proud of, and properly demonstrative of their civic pride. In most cases
they were members of the prosperous class of people who had worked
hard to make better lives for themselves and what they wanted most was
to bring the city up to a higher standard from the conditions that were the
result of the depredations of industry and business. They refuted the
Olmsteadian position that cities were inherently ugly and the only
mitigation was the reintroduction of nature. They held that the city could
be made beautiful and incorporated Olmstead's ideas about parks and
boulevards as one of many elements.
The direct antecedent to this movement was the Village
Improvement Movement which had a very practical basis one more
concerned with public health than aesthetics. They advocated:
** Establishing drainage systems.
Providing modem sewage disposal.
** Trash collection and disposal.
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** Paved streets.
** Painting houses.
** Tree planting.
** Placing unsightly poles and wires underground.
** Neighborhood parks.
Abatement of industrial smoke.
Prohibiting billboards.
The City Beautiful Movement absorbed these objectives in addition
to those of Olmstead. Then they added their own dimension in the form
of creating a central arena for the life of the city. Inspired perhaps by the
imperial glories of European cities but more recently by the fashion of
world expositions it was the widespread belief that the best representation
of a city's greatness was possession of a grand civic center. Denver
provides an excellent example of City Beautiful plans carried out. At the
tum-of-the-century Denver was a bustling city recovered from the
economic depression of the 1890s and experiencing rapid growth. Laid
out on two grids in the valley of the Platte River it was fairly nondescript
possessing no landmarks but the state capital. A semiarid climate on the
high plains inhibited tree growth so its appearance seemed to be a jumble
of red brick commercial buildings and Victorian houses. Led by the very
capable Mayor Robert Speer, a committed group of the leading citizens
embarked on two major building programs and several smaller ones.
There was considerable opposition from business interests who opposed
the inevitable rise in tax rates and doubted that the intangible aesthetics
would create any business results.
A major selling point of the activists was that great cities attract
people "by the advantages which are offered themnot for making
61


money, but for enjoying the use of it. There are hundreds of men of
great fortune, bom in the United States who are now, with their families,
permanent residents of Paris and London, for this reason. The desire
was to create a greater cultural and social life here in their own city.
Entertainment, amusement, and recreation were all parts of the program
and not just for the elite but for everyone. The signature piece was to be
a civic center based on neoclassical design extending west from the
capital towards the mountains. The principle was to group buildings
around a formal plaza to define a grand space and frame specific
prospects. Next was a system of large parks and boulevards to unify the
city and define neighborhoods.
As great as these orderings of the city were the small improvements
were as significant, if not more so, than the big projects. Each year
thousands of saplings were handed out two or three to a property owner
with instructions on how to plant them and suggesting they be planted
along the street. Height restrictions were instituted though later they
were selectively repealed or exemptions were granted. Besides the large
parks numerous neighborhood parks were created especially in the lower
class northeast districts. The mayor, an old time boss, combined political
patronage and public services to employ thousands maintaining parks,
paving streets, and collecting trash. Cherry Creek, a tributary of the
Platte, was walled to control flooding and opened up a new area to
development. Electricity and telephone wires were placed underground
in the central business district. A system of mountain parks were
purchased to present a natural prospect to the city. The mayor also
secured many improvements, especially to the parks, by offering
memorial status to any citizen willing to pay for it (Cheesman Park and
the memorial pavilion).
Other principles of theCity Beautiful Movement included:
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** Building height restrictions:
preserve access to light and air
- prevent fire hazards
preserve visual harmony and unity
** Emphasis on spatial order, proportion, balance, symmetry,
scale, harmony, and unity.
** Outdoor lighting.
Regulated fencing to preserve streetscapes and appearance.
Preference for neoclassical styles because of its flexibility.
Landscaping to soften the edges of built forms.
** Association of parks and monuments.
Placement of the civic center at a prominent and central
location.
Public baths (swimming pools).
School gardens.
** Utilitarian aspects of beauty:
attraction of better workers
increased real estate values
** improved traffic patterns and flow
Idea that beauty can shape human behavior positively as
differentiated from the restorative power of nature claimed by
Olmstead.
** Synergy of combined improvements.
63


** Efficiency and good government.
Screening of unpleasant views.
** Railroad stations as the gateway to the city.
Public promenades and walks.
** Key values of civic pride, civic responsibility, and efficiency.
Property owners should present a beautiful front to public
spaces that is neat and clean.
** Class reconciliation and democratization.
Though the emphasis in this period was on industrial towns and
cities the improvement in transportation systems was creating other
alternatives. The residential suburb as opposed to the city ward was
springing up on the rural fringes and along the railroad lines radiating
from the cities. It was becoming a viable alternative for individuals to
commute to their jobs in the cities yet have their residences in other
neighborhoods without the urban congestion and problems, or in the
country closer to nature. New kinds of railroads were developed
primarily to transport commutersthe trolley, streetcar, and light rail.
The other type was the resort town or suburb which introduces the idea of
a settlement organized around recreational activities. These towns should
not be thought of in terms of the contemporary vacation resort based on
visitors of short duration. These settlements consisted of large numbers
of homes owned by the people who would use them. Families would
often live in them for large proportions of the year while the money
earner would work in the city and return on weekends or in lulls in the
conduct of his business. These towns constituted a type of middle
ground between a rural country estate and suburban or urban houses. At
this time these towns could only be afforded by the wealthy but they
provided a model for later developments when increases in affluence and
64


further improvements in transportation would make them affordable and
accessible for greater numbers of people.
Oak Park, Illinois, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright in his formative
years, was one such residential enclave. Olmstead laid out many
according to picturesque principles calling for "elegant drives, handsome
parks, and delight". Urban sites were to be protected by greenbelts,
gates, and other barriers to keep the problems of the city at a controllable
distance. Even then people could see urban sprawl subsuming what had a
generation before been nice neighborhoods. And the problems of the city
seemed to be uncontrollable. A typical example is the 'private places' in
St. Louis. R.A.M. Stem says," the idea of private places is one that
promotes the union of house and garden essential to the art of living
rightly ... it imparts a measure of privacy to homelife and serves to
protect a neighborhood from many annoyances that necessarily surround
localities where restrictions do not pertain ... it encourages the building
of houses of a higher standard of architecture, excellence, and thus makes
for a better life". The typical layout was to take a one block street and
fence or wall the perimeter leaving impressive gateways for access, then
arranging smallish lots around a gardened court (hence 'place'). The
Figure 19; Diagram of typical Private Place, St. Louis, 1904.
65


houses built on the lots tended to be of a larger proportion and sometimes
resulted in townhouses with no separation.
Other interesting examples included Yorkship Village, Camden,
N.J. It was designed as an industrial village which was well adapted to a
geomorphic site. The planner laid out a central plaza offset from the
main road to the site. Using three radial streets he connected the center to
the road. He then used curving drives in a concentric pattern to form the
blocks. In the center were large civic and commercial buildings framing
Figure 20; Yorkship Village in Camden, New Jersey.
66


the landscaped plaza, surrounding it were a school and a zone of
predominantly multifamily dwellings. The radial streets were also lined
with larger buildings. In the outlying areas were single family detached
dwellings. Overall, it appears to be a very contemporary plan. Oak
Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard started out as a Methodist summer camp.
Over the years the tent sites were improved with foundations and
permanent framing which gave way to simple story and a half shotgun
type wooden houses. The first group were arranged in a semi-circle
around an open courtyard campground style. Subsequent groups were
located in clusters in a similar fashion. In form, the houses were very
similar but highly individual ornamentation results in a lively variety.
This example could serve as a very good model for affordable housing.
The last example is Tuxedo Park in upstate New York. Originally it was
designed as an exclusive resort town of individually designed houses.
The membership instituted a system of covenants including mandatory
club membership and design guidelines. They also provided a village,
outside the fenced boundaries, to house tradesmen, commercial activities,
and servants.
During the years between the Civil War and the World War urban
planning had evolved as a discipline and in importance until it had
reached professional status. In the preceding eras it had been largely
defined by architects and landscape architects but by the end of the
Progressive Era those with a technical or scientific background such as
engineers and sociologists were gaining voice. A new movement was
evolving led by them called the City Practical and it was a reaction
against the perceived excesses of the City Beautiful Movement of too
great a concern for "monumentality", empty aesthetics, grand effects for
the well-to-do, and general impracticality". What the City Beautiful
Movement accomplished was to create the widespread acceptance of the
importance of comprehensive planning. The advocates of the City
Practical would inherit that legacy and eventually solve all the technical
problems through the promulgation of ordinances and codes. What they
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would fail to do, just as the advocates of the City Beautiful had been
accused of doing excessively, was create an aesthetically pleasing built
environment. The basic conflict was one of priorities which their names
imply.
In the mobilization for the Great War there was a sudden need for
new towns to support rapidly expanding industries. Beauty took a back
seat to functionality and the engineers took over. A revitalized
philosophy of civic improvement reemerged based on humanitarian
concerns called socioenvironmentalism. It held that the "true nature of
planning was not aggrandizement but the relief of urban congestion and
the ills associated with it. The influence of the Garden Cities Movement
is conjectural but the condition of needing many new towns makes it
natural. They also held that it was a fundamental mistake to advance
aesthetics before the physical problems of living, work, and play had been
solved. Solving the problems of filth, disease, degeneracy, poverty, and
crime became paramount.
By the prosperous years of the 1920's the tenets of the City Practical
were triumphant. The technicians staffed powerful city planning
departments and the 'business of America was business'. Architecture
was undergoing a fundamental change as well with the rise of the
movement and ideas of Modernism. Aside from worker housing they
were little concerned with the needs and desires of the bourgeoisie. In
the past the architect had been the 'master builder' dealing with all aspects
of the built environment. But the profession was tilting towards the
aesthetic aspects of design and abdicating or being dispossessed of
expertise in the technical aspects of building. The other great factor was
the emergence of large scale builders. In the past the subdividers of land
had often been real estate speculators whose business was selling lots to
individuals. Now more and more mass production builders were buying
up large parcels of lots and building large numbers of houses on a
speculative basis. This trend would not become the norm until after the
68


Second World War but the seeds were sown here. Business factors were
becoming more important than design.
The second major change was the widescale adoption of the
automobile. Before the First World War the vast majority of people
depended on public transit or simply walked to work. Automobiles were
expensive and unreliable. But Henry Ford changed the future when he
introduced the Model T. Even though it cost as much as a small house
initially, it was reliable and with mass production the price soon fell to
affordable levels. Ford foresaw a future where every family could own an
automobile and the practical freedom it would mean to its owners. By
the late 1920's the garage had become a standard fixture in home design
and in planning. The automobile also extended the range at which people
could live away from their places of employment and they were not
limited by the relatively few directions that railroad track could be laid. It
was also available all the time and not confined to schedules. The
automobile truly was an extension of the self as fully adaptable as ones
own legs or those of the horse. New developments began to spring up
even further out from the city centers that were designed specifically with
the automobile in mind.
The icon of the automobile suburbs was Radbum, N.J. designed by
Clarence Stein. Already by 1928 the automobile was perceived to be a
disruptive element in the urban fabric. Steins solution was to design a
community along Garden Suburb lines and integrate the automobile into
it in an unobtrusive way. His solution was to arrange the buildings
around a central area where automobiles were not allowed. Extensions of
land reached out to more distant areas. Around the perimeter road tee
shaped cul de sac's extended inward allowing automobile access to one
side of the houses while on the other side the extensions of land from the
center connected on interior pedestrian paths. This was an innovative
concept but it did create some considerable problems. To work properly
it required a superblock of land. These superblocks did not mesh very
69


well with the typical grid of most urban
areas. The double fronted nature of the
houses created a kind of schizophrenia and
the residents soon discovered that they had
been robbed of their private backyards.
Conceivably, wider sideyards could have
been used for private outdoor space but the
designers did not anticipate this need. If
residents wanted to walk to other
neighborhoods they still had to cross even
busier streets. Experience showed that most
residents used their cars just as much even
for trips within the development. The
central park-like area didn't work for
commercial uses because they were isolated
from the greater traffic at the perimeter. And
finally, though the cul de sacs were designed
as service entries the residents and visitors were using them as the main
entrances.
Beverly Hills near Los Angeles used larger lots. To reduce costs
blocks were lengthened eliminating expensive cross-streets. Though the
ultimate success of this suburb was based more on wealth and
exclusivity, the planning showed that automobiles require more space and
larger lots to accommodate them and other means of economy are
required to offset the costs of doing this if the lot costs are to be kept
commensurate with traditional residential development. At River Oaks a
modified cul de sac that was really a loop was used to create a small
neighborhood park or garden court similar to the ones in St. Louis'
private places. The difference was that these were open to the through
street. One undesirable trait that became predominant was for the use of
single styles in developments. At Palos Verdes, a 16,000 acre
development, the developer restricted design to the Spanish mission style
Figure 21; Typical lane,
Radbum, New Jersey.
70


in an attempt to provide character. Instead these types of schemes
resulted in a depressing monotony. Today, motivated more by economy,
builders will resort to just a few plans, alike in color and materials
determined by a marketing derived formula not to ruffle potential buyers.
The Great Depression stopped most large scale development and
turned the planning profession almost totally into government
bureaucrats. By this time zoning ordinances and building codes were
mandating measures that effectively solved the public health problems
associated with the previous era. Electricity, underground sewers, hot
and cold running water, full bathrooms, and heating were all standard
requirements in new building by the end of the 1930's. Despite the
Depression most older dwellings were also retrofitted with these items
and most Americans were enjoying a better standard of living.
Considering the output of ideas in the previous generation the Interwar
Era was particularly lacking in new thought. The early Modernists were
almost obsessed with 'worker housing' but remarkably little was built.
What was seemed like monotonous rows of barracks and, almost
universally, the residents detested them. The Modernists were more
concerned with esoteric theories of how they thought people should live
rather than studying how they did live and creating an environment better
suited to it or to improve it.
The two best known architects that made serious attempts at
formulating new philosophies were Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd
Wright. Typically perhaps they were radically opposed in their views of
urbanism and the values they emphasized in their schemes. There is no
point in characterizing them in terms like European urbanism versus
American suburbanism since both proved to be uncanny predictors of the
future in the venues they selected. Le Corbusier in mass urban housing
and Wright on the suburban frontier. Both took a comprehensive view
but Le Corbusier can be disposed of the most easily. His plans dealt with
rebuilding the city to relieve the congestion and bring nature back into its
71


Figure 22; "Contemporary City" by Le Corbusier.
midst. The two basic elements were huge skyscrapers for offices 60
stories tall on a cross shaped plan and long blocks of apartments six
stories tall. The basic premise was by building upwards more of the
surface was freed for parks and gardens. Integrated into these schemes
were superhighways, subways and high speed trains. At the time his
plans were very radical especially in contrast to existing cities. What is
most remarkable is how closely they resemble contemporary scenes of
public urban housing projects and office complexes. The one thing that
is applicable to this thesis is his cellular garden apartment module which
has his 'roof gardens' inserted into the mid-density buildings in a
checkerboard fashion.
Wright, on the other hand, displayed the typical American hatred of
the congested city and the best course of action was to use the automobile
to escape into the countryside. When comparing him to Le Corbusier its
almost a case of fight or flee. Le Corbusier chose to fight and Wright
chose to flee. His rationale was very similar to that of the Garden City
Movement but instead of a garden for every family he advocated an acre
of land as a minimum. All was to be connected by the automobile. His
72


main tenets were a democracy of individuals and organic design. At the
community level this meant including all the parts in such a way that it
functioned together as one 'organism'. This meant not just removing
residences from the traditional city but facilities for work and recreation
as well to be combined in small central locations and surrounded by the
acre plus home sites.
After the Second World War the war industry was converted to
civilian uses and the economy took off on an expansion that was to last
until the 1970's. A great demand was created for single family detached
housing by the hoards of the newly affluent. The late 1940's and the
1950's saw the emergence of mass production home builders. The man
who most epitomized them was William Levitt. At Levittown on Long
Island the construction was pure economized production. First
everything was graded to ease construction. Then the streets and utilities
were laid in. Though it wasn't a straight grid, the masterplan was
orthogonal to ease production. Then came the crews who built the
foundations who started at one end of a street and worked to the other
end. There were only a few different plans so production was very rapid
because the construction crews didn't have to deal with many variations.
Following the foundation crews, came the framers hot on their heels to be
followed by the roofers, then the siding installers, windows, doors,
plaster, electrical, and so on. Working in this way a house could be built
in less than two weeks. Levitt and his compatriots were roundly
criticized by architects for the blandness of his developments but he did
provide a product that met a demand and at a price that millions could
afford. Millions of people were able to escape the rate-rent trap so
vehemently criticized by the Garden City Movement and Wright.
Millions escaped the congested cities and were able to get a little bit of
nature. Despite the criticism, the lives of millions were vastly improved.
The initial appearance of Levittown was quite bleak, however, over time
the trees grew up, gardens were planted, a suburban community
developed from people who had much in common with each other. As
73


they became more affluent they added to their homes and remodelled
according to individual tastes. Now the appearance is very different than
it was in the beginning and demonstrates that in time everything changes.
As long as social and economic conditions are improving so will peoples'
homes.
Planning had two primary tools to control building. The first was
zoning which was used to determine where various types of building
would be allowed. The second was really part of the zoning
classifications but would form the basis for criticism by private practice
designers. Each classification was differentiated by maximum density
standards usually expressed in dwelling units per acre or floor to area
ratios. The unintended consequence was the phenomenon of suburban
sprawl and segregation by use. The resulting sprawl was often
characterized by a lack of integration among the various types and a
culture dependent on and isolated in their automobiles. By the end of the
1950's architects and planners had adjusted to the changed nature of the
construction industry and the potential clientele. The idea of
comprehensive planning had become embodied in the terms
masterplanned communities and planned unit developments. There were
many abuses of these terms by business and marketing oriented people
just as there had been with garden cities and suburbs but the designers
were beginning to give this idea serious thought again and to attempt
better plans. They came up with several innovative ideas, some of which
became typical and some that didn't work out.
The overriding factor was the automobile and the traffic system of
roads to support them. In the past streets had been the result of how the
land had been subdivided, typically based on the ubiquitous Jeffersonian
grid. One mile square sections were divided into grids based on lines
spaced l/8th and 1/16th mile apart (330' x 660'). Two features that
became standard devices were curvilinear streets and the cul-de-sac.
They were organized into hierarchies of width and speed. At the bottom
74


were the cul-de-sacs and at the
top were the new controlled
access superhighways. Joel
Garreau tells us that throughout
history the longest commute
humans will routinely tolerate is
45 minutes. The mode of
transportation doesn't matter
what is important is time. This
is especially true in today's 'rat
race'. Time is everything, time
is money, time is the critical
resource that we can't make
enough of. The fit person can
comfortably walk about two
miles in 45 minutes barring
traffic. If he has to wait at too
many crosswalks that range is
drastically reduced. The Garden
City designers calculated about
3/4 mile and the New Urbanists
1/4 mile. Buses and trolleys are
limited by their routes but given
the high densities, and hence
traffic, required to make them
economical, the range only increases to perhaps ten miles. But with
efficient superhighways that range can extend up to a mile a minute less
the time it takes to get to and from ones carup to 40 miles! The trick is
to keep the traffic moving and the best way is with a system collector
streets feeding into arterials feeding into the expressways. The uniform
grid was anathema to efficient traffic flow because it requires frequent
stops at major cross streets.
Figure 23; 1960's plan types.
75


Fast moving traffic is very dangerous, especially to small children
of which there was a boom. The cul-de-sac was the best solution to
secure their safety because there is no through traffic and only the people
who live on them would be using them who would be more careful to
look out for their own and their neighbor's children. So these two
elements were coming to dominate contemporary subdivisions which
were getting larger and larger. Construction economy was the paramount
issue and land developers were finding that curvilinear streets and cul-de-
sacs could deliver savings up to 25%. A new layout was developed based
on clusters of houses on small lots. The advocates claimed they saved up
to 50% of street costs
while providing the
safety of the cul-de-sac,
high trafficability,
extensive greenbelts,
and openspace. Cluster
plans did not prove to
be popular and very few
were built. It was soon
discovered that they
created problems of
maintenance in the
public areas where
responsibility was ill
defined. Residents
neglected what they
didn't own, or fees for
collective maintenance
proved to be excessive
and unacceptable to most. Figure 24; Proposed cluster plan.
The loop street and superblock were revived with varying success.
In the latter case designers tended to make the same mistakes as
76


exemplified at Radbum despite this now famous example and regardless
of whether they were working with houses or apartment blocks. Since
the problem of access to air and light had been solved by density
maximums public planning officials were loath to relax them to allow
greater latitude in design. The Planned Unit Development process was
advocated successfully on the basis of maintaining overall density
maximums for the subdivision but allowing a tradeoff of smaller lots for
public amenities like parks and civic centers. However, efforts at
revising zoning to allow a greater integration of uses met with little
success despite the seminal work of Jane Jacobs describing the dynamic
functioning of mixed uses that creates vibrant neighborhoods regardless
of economic class.
The opposite of the cul-de-sac, the circular block, was tried in an
attempt to decrease the amount of streets but didnt work because it either
wasted land or created pie shaped lots. The cul-de-sac did the same but
the excess space was in the backyards which correlated with the semi-
private backyard barbecue culture of the suburbs. Hexagonal schemes
and circular lots were also tried but also failed for the same reasons as
those cited above. Another attempt to save acreage and street costs was
double fronting streets with flag or spade shaped lots. One of the
concerns was the waste represented by small sideyards typically used for
separation of houses and utility easements. While they did increase the
number of lots on a given length of street the juxtaposition of adjoining
outdoor spaces proved awkward. Zero lot line lots or row houses
remained better solutions and some claimed that better privacy could be
achieved with sound proofing than with actual separation by sideyards.
It was also in this period that developments organized around social
function and recreation became increasingly popular. While their history
extends back into the previous century those had been very exclusive
developments and usually located in vacation areas far from the sources
77


of daily life. With the
supremacy of the
middle class a demand
was created for more
of these opportunities
in the suburbs. The
most popular are golf
course developments
but others are
extremely popular as
well. The key idea is
locating the amenity
within easy proximity
of most of the home
lots. Lots with direct
access tend to sell for
upwards of six times
the price of regular
lots and can represent
a doubling of overall Figure 25; Spade shaped lot plans,
homebuilding cost. The
willingness of buyers to pay these premiums proves their desirability, at
least in market terms. Another central feature of this time is the country
club. They usually include some sort of restaurant, tennis courts, a pool,
and meeting rooms. Most large developments today as a matter of course
include the derivative civic or recreation center. Though the terms may
be more egalitarian the function is the same--to create a social center for
the community.
For various reasons communities have come to feel increasingly
threatened. The perceived spread of crime is probably the most important
and marketers and politicians have used this fear to advance their own
agendas for decades. Distrust of government and a general sense of
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78


powerlessness are other symptoms of the problem. The motivation of
gaining a better quality of life is giving way to one of trying to preserve
and protect the quality of life one has. All of these things contribute to
the citizens of communities trying to organize to regain a controlling
voice in their communities. The forms can vary from neighborhood
groups that advise government to gated private communities that provide
nearly all of the services normally associated with public government.
The creation of homeowners associations is the norm and in nearly all
new large developments they are created at the very beginning. The
associations provide certain services usually limited to the upkeep of
public areas and amenities for which fees are charged. Typically they
include systematic design covenants concerning such things as the type
and placement of fences, upkeep and appearance of property, and
procedures for the improvement of private property. Their purpose is
usually specifically stated to be to preserve the appearance, character, and
quality of the community.
All of these trends have resulted in the creation of vast amounts of
suburban landscape derisively known as sprawl. Many of the reasons for
this type of development have been discussed already but it is important
to recognize that sprawl is the result of an evolution of often separate
efforts to create a better built environment. All of the goals of the 19th
century reformers have been met. The sprawl is hygienic, clean, light,
and airy. Greenery abounds though much of it is in the form of lawns
rather than gardens. Privacy is greatly increased through private
property, single family detached housing, and the ubiquitous privacy
fencing. The forward facing attached garage is a favorite target of critics
but it must be acknowledged that they are much more cost effective and
convenient than the alley oriented separate garage and much more
functional. The difference in cost alone makes them accessible to a large
portion of the people who otherwise would have to do without. The
proliferation of wide streets is another factor roundly denounced. Their
proliferation is the result of an oversensitivity about safety. An historic
79


concern about fires mandated streets wide enough to accommodate the
ever larger fire fighting vehicles in use. The fact that separated units
vastly decreased the likelyhood of fires spreading has been largely
overlooked. Traffic safety also dictated the widening of residential streets
and the prohibition of on-street parking so that motorists would have
clear views, especially of small children who might unwittingly dart out
into traffic. The opposite effect was achieved because wide open streets
encourage greater speed by motorists hence less safety. Much of these
effects are the result of the law of unintended consequences. Throughout
the history of humanity the lesson is one of solving one set of problems to
be faced with new ones that we have created. The theory is cyclical but
the general trend is one of improvement. The twentieth century has been
consistently concerned with improving the material and physical factors
of our built environment but in largely solving those, the social and
quality aspects of our communities has often been overlooked, or worse,
ignored. The typical result is areas of housing presenting blank facades
of rows of garage doors to the public spaces. In the worst cases they
resemble rows of prison cells isolating their inhabitants from their
neighbors. The resident comes home and drives directly into their garage
by means of an automatic garage door opener. They debark directly into
their house through the kitchen. If they want to go outside they go into
the backyard surrounded by its privacy fence. Then for an average of
four hours a day they park themselves in front of their televisions and
experience the world through remote control.
This milieu has continued until the present but a new generation of
architects and planners have been formulating a new design philosophy to
deal with the shortcomings of suburban sprawl. They are known
collectively as the New Urbanists. Unlike most others they have
considered the problem of sprawl in its entirety, examining the dynamics
of all the parts and trying to create a better whole. So far they have
experienced only limited success in building their new communities but
they have articulated a set of ideas and principles worth examining. The
80


two major advocates in the United States are Peter Calthorpe on the West
Coast and the partnership of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk
(DPZ) on the East Coast. Of the two Calthorpe's work exhibits more of a
concern with improving the current urban typology to better meet urban
needs. His major vehicle is the Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
centered on a transit station, preferably rail but bus is acceptable, and
including all the commercial, civic, and social facilities within a high
density, mixed use inner zone of about 2000' radius that is designed to
accommodate the pedestrian. Housing is to consist of a large proportion
of multiunit dwellings of a range of pricing to encourage a mix of socio-
economic classes. Beyond the inner radius he advocates placing the large
public facilities that use a relatively high amount of land but don't
contribute to greater density. An example would be a high school with
large playing fields displacing apartment buildings. He also allows the
fabric of this outer zone to be made up mostly of larger single family
detached houses on contemporary lines. He has laid out a coherent
philosophy in his book ''The Next American Metropolis" which includes
the following:


Imperatives:
^ Social integration.
^ Economic efficiency.
^ Political equity.
^ Environmental sustainability.
3 General Principles:
^ Regional plan based on public transit
^ Mixed use and pedestrian (human) scale
81


^ Orientation on the public domain and pedestrian scale
rather than the private domain and automobile scale
Seven Specific Principles:
^ Organize growth on a regional level to be compact and
transit supportive.
^ Place all within walking distance of a transit station
^ Create pedestrian friendly street networks which directly
connect local destinations.
^ Provide a mix of housing densities, types, and cost.
^ Preserve sensitive habitat, riparian zones, and high quality
open space.
^ Make public spaces the focus of building orientations and
neighborhood activity.
^ Encourage infill and redevelopment along transit corridors
within existing neighborhoods.
Four Levels of Planning
^ Regional Plans
^ Comprehensive Plans (counties, cities, towns)
^ Specific Area Plans (district, subdivision, neighborhood)
^ Zoning Ordinances and Platting
82


DPZ draw much more from history in terms of design so its not
surprising that their model is called the Traditional Neighborhood District
(TND) or Traditional Urban District (TUD). They do agree with all of
Calthorpe's principles though he doesn't rely as much on history for form
and style. However they are quite adamant in the advocation of their
premier tool, the town planning code. In short it is a zoning code but
rather than dealing with large residential, commercial, and industrial
zones it is based on their masterplan and determines the density, mass,
and spacing of buildings on a much smaller scale, typically a street or
block and often by the lot. It is important that their code follows design
and preserves it rather than preceding and controlling it. Idiosyncrasies
include build to lines rather than set-backs to preserve the streetscape and
keep it at human scale. They particularly like traditional forms and are
enamored of front porches for their supposed social effects helping to
create more interaction among neighbors. Like Calthorpe they advocate
centered communities but on a quarter mile radius (rather than 2000')
which they calculate is the distance of a five minute walk or the distance
an average person will walk locally before opting to drive. Unlike
Calthorpe they do not allow an outer zone for less dense options. They
have a well defined methodology that reflects their philosophy. The
process begins with a charette that is executed using a multi-disciplinary
approach. The process will include architects, traffic engineers, planners,
citizens groups, bankers, and others with a stake in the outcome. They
gather all the interested parties they can, present the program, everyone
comes up with a solution for their area of expertise, they then analyze the
results and go through a comparative process where everyone critiques
what all the others have done, this cross-fertilization, guided by DPZ, is
meant to create a synergistic plan rather than a mere additive collection of
systems. Their method includes the use of a set of graphic tools that are
diagrammatic. These are a regulating plan that will form the basis for
their codes, a more detailed master plan showing actual building
footprints, figure ground diagrams for the street network, pedestrian
network, public buildings and squares, and street sections. The DPZ
83


School advocates 10 rules of design in planning good communities:
^ Neighborhood size determined by the five minute walk.
^ Network of streets rather than hierarchies.
^ Use streets to create public spaces. Divide uses down the
centers of blocks so that like uses face each other across
streets.
^ Define center and boundaries.
^ Define streets and squares as positive open space.
^ Use a hierarchy of buildings.
^ Create terminated vistas (down the main streets).
^ Place important buildings at terminated vistas.
^ Create imaginable bus routes and pleasant locations for stops.
Design parking lots as blocks or squares.
The preservation of ecological systems and sustainable systems
were early emphases of Calthorpe's thinking but he admits that his earlier
work overemphasized these aspects to the detriment of social values.
Perhaps he realized that most people had no desire to give up their
amenities in order to live a primitive life in the wilderness feeding a wood
burning stove to cook their organically grown vegetables from their own
extensive garden that took all of their liesure time to tend. Both schools
have an almost pathological distaste for the automobile seeing it only as
something to be controlled or done away with. If there is a 'fatal flaw' in
the New Urbanist typology this is it. They advocate matrices of streets to
84


offer alternate routes to motorists to spread out traffic more evenly rather
than concentrating it on a few arterials. They are particularly fond of
radial schemes despite the space they waste. The problem is that every
street becomes a through street none of which are safe for the small
children limited access streets are designed to protect. Their refusal to try
to accommodate the freedom afforded by the automobile as well as
improve the public and social aspects of community architecture is a
tradeoff. For the last 70 years Americans have consistently chosen the
auto over the traditional neighborhood. Any solution will have to
preserve that freedom and compete on the automobile's terms and against
it's advantages. Footpower lost decisively and reviving it as the primary
method of transportation is not likely to work. The emphasis on public
space and preserving the social aspects of everyday living are laudable,
but just as with the automobile, if the solution is based on a tradeoff with
the qualities of privacy, security, and space, it will not be accepted. So
far the New Urbanists have relied on models from previous eras that have
been superseded by new developments. Going backwards is hardly ever
a viable solution. However, they have shown us in great detail what we
have traded away that was of value and which most agree is missing from
our society today. The quest is to reconcile the advantages of both
typologies into one that is workable. The problem is that many of these
advantages, when considered together, present an either/or choice. This
may present us with an unsolvable paradox. However, it is our obligation
to progress, our profession, and our fellow man to continue to try.
85


CURRENT TRENDS
Assessing current trends involves some guesswork and predicting
specific outcomes is nearly impossible. However, it is important in all
endeavors to have a vision of what you want to accomplish. An old
saying says, "if you aim at nothing, that is what you will hit", and it is as
true today as it ever was. History provides us the framework of
knowledge of where we came from and where we are now.
Historiography and modem methods of surveying and statistical analysis
provide us with methods that, within limits, can help us to form a vision
of what the future will be like. This is important because if you buck the
trends too much your work is very likely to fail or at the least be
irrelevant. However, if you can predict the future environment you can
adapt your product to take advantage of and improve on those conditions.
In short, to best serve the needs and desires of your market.
Architecture is a social act. At its best it responds to, profoundly
touches, and helps form the society in which it exists. A deep and
comprehensive knowledge of society is absolutely essential to the
architect if his work is to be successful. Demographics are a natural
place to start and every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau surveys the
entire country in great detail. The census forms the bedrock on which
demographic studies firmly rest but there are many other organizations
compiling data as well. In general society is becoming much more
fragmented and mobile. Most people no longer growup, live and die in
the same community. They tend to growup then move to where they can
find a job. This can be across town but evermore frequently it is across
the country. One finds a job in Atlanta, a brother moves to Seattle, a
sister to New York, and a cousin to Denver. Each marries and produces
1.7 children. Half divorce. Nor do they fit the profile of lifelong
employment in one type of job or much less so with one company. On
average an individual will have seven different jobs and will change
86


careers once. The dynamics are overwhelming and we have ceased to
become a nation of stable communities and families and are increasingly
a nation of semi-nomadic individuals. We don't even have a tribe to rely
on as traditional nomadic cultures did. Not even the nuclear family is
intact. From high points in the 50's and 60's the share of households
consisting of a married couple with children has slipped to 26 percent and
the trend continues. Part of the reason is the phenomena of the baby
boom. This massive age group dominates our society and will continue
to do so until they die out. Ranging in age between 30 and 50 they have
produced a baby boomlet of their own but mostly they are past that now.
What is important is that its oldest members are nearing the years of their
maximum earning power (middle 50's) and just beyond, retirement.
People whose children have grownup and left home are called empty
nesters and a typical trend involves moving into a smaller but higher
quality residence. The planning implication is a need for a higher
proportion of high end apartments, condominiums, and townhouses as
opposed to single family detached homes. But they are looking for more
than just a more appropriate dwelling. Often they are looking for a
lifestyle in a community that supports their specific choices. A great
example is the explosion of retirement communities in places like Florida
and Arizona.
Many analysts now think the trend of family disintegration may
have bottomed out. For the last several years the divorce rate has
stabilized as has the number of out of wedlock births. The raising of
family values to political status is a strong component of what the
electorate cares about, regardless of party, and serves to refocus debate on
our society as an interconnected whole rather than a collection of
independent systems. Still vast changes have occurred over the last 30
years and they will not be reversed. 54 % of women work outside of the
home. More remarkable is that women are not being raised to grow up,
get married, and raise a family as their life's goal. They are being raised
to choose a career and pursue it with all the commitment that men are.
87


Much has been written about the difficult choices between family and
career, as if a woman can't have both, but the reality is that of the
working mother. Employers have been forced to adapt since 35 % of the
work force is female and half of them have children. Child care, flex-
time, maternity leave for both parents are all benefits or modes of
operation that are being used to attract and keep good employees.
The most far reaching trend is the major conversion taking place in
our economy from heavy manufacturing industries to high technology
service oriented businesses. Alvin and Heidi Toffler, the well known
futurists, call this change the Information Revolution and claim its effects
will be as profound and as all-encompassing as the agricultural and
industrial revolutions that came before. Their key measurements are the
numbers of people employed in the key sectors of the economy. Before
the advent of agriculture all people were engaged in hunting and
gathering. The success of the agricultural revolution was assured when
the preponderance of humans were engaged in farming. In the United
States, perhaps as late as the turn of the century, the majority of working
people were still engaged in agriculture in some manner. It wasn't until
the Interwar Period that more people were employed in manufacturing
than in any other sector. Incidentally, the highest membership in labor
unions, a product of industrialization, was the 1930's. The high water
mark of manufacturing was 1945 which was driven by the war economy.
In the early 1950's a shift began away from heavy industry. By the 1970's
most had developed more efficient and automated processes and the ones
that didn't succumbed to cheaper foreign competition. The demise of the
steel, shipbuilding, railroad, and other industries has been bemoaned by
many old line economists but the rise in management and services has
more than compensated for those jobs. Technical and scientific jobs also
rose sharply. In the past most people were involved directly in
production and the processes were so centralized and on such a massive
scale that it took relatively few people to manage the process. By 1980
one estimate calculated that 60 percent of workers were employed not in
88


production but in processing information. The analysis was probably
exaggerated, including sales clerks and telephone operators with financial
analysts and research scientists, but advanced the proposition that the
essential nature of their jobs was processing and providing information to
others rather than a material product. Today more people are employed
by universities than in agriculture.
The icon of this change has to be the computer and by 1990 it had
become an essential tool of all of the workers mentioned above. The
process of linking computers together in networks has eliminated the
problems of time and distance for exchanging information. This has
created an environment where workers employed even continents apart
can interact with each other instantaneously. They don't have to wait for
distribution, the mail, or even Federal Express. The advantages of
placing them close together no longer applies. A broker can trade stocks
as easily from his laptop computer on the veranda of his mountain
getaway in Montana as he can on Wall Street. While the potential of this
new interconnectivity has barely been realized the trend is one way. This
decentralization trend permeates our society but is not unlimited. While
their is little economic need or advantage to congregate in crowded
masses people are still gregarious beings. The difference is that they will
no longer congregate because of efficiency but for social reasons. This
trend is demonstrated in the rise of communities centered about social
facilities rather than work places. More and more the work places are
being located on the edges of communities rather than at their centers.
The same trend holds true for civic activities and government. As a
percentage of the population the Federal government has grown little over
the past quarter century but local government at all levels has doubled and
doubled again.
Another trend in employment is the rise of the small business. It is
no longer just the mom and pop grocery store or the local gas station but
thousands of people with an idea and the courage to pursue it.
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Collectively known as entrepreneurs, they are usually not inventors with a
new product but people who have figured out a better way to do
something. The thing can be quite mundane such as the twist tie or the
rolodex but it answers a need that is large enough to generate a profit. In
building the design-build firms are trying to sell a product to potential
clients who want customized buildings but can't afford or don't have the
expertise to hire several consultants. In marketing these are called niches
and are characterized by a market that doesn't share the wants and needs
of the mass market. The trend is away from the one size fits all mass
market and to ever greater customization. 31 flavors is the norm. The
choice used to be Chevy, Ford, or Chrysler but now there are over 200
models on the market. This trend has yet to impact architecture
significantly but custom builders are perhaps leading the way. In the last
four years eight million new jobs have been added to the economy.
Almost none of those were in big businesses exemplified by the Fortune
500. Indeed, most were in new businesses employing fewer than twenty.
Another group that is rapidly increasing in numbers are contract
workers and consultants. Its debatable whether this trend is being driven
by downsizing big businesses or by the desire of individuals to be their
own bosses but either way its true. The effect to be concerned about is
even greater mobility in the working population which is self employed.
Many of these people aided by the computer, facsimile machines, and
cellular phones are working out of their homes even if they are just using
it as a base of operations. Even big companies are experimenting with
telecommuting where the employee stays at home most of the time and
communicates with the office by computer and fax. Many large
companies have built back office operations close to the better residential
communities in order to improve the quality of life for their employees,
attract better employees, and cut costs associated with overvalued central
business districts and edge city office parks.
For many people the choice of a home is no longer simply a matter
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of a good neighborhood, with good parks, and good schools. Some are
cashing out and moving to places like Durango or Jackson, Wyoming.
But more still are seeking places based on their leisure pursuits.
Communities built around golf courses are by far the most numerous.
Today no large development is complete without one. But this trend
applies to other activities as well. Out side of Brighton is the community
of Vann-Aire built around an airstrip. Alley-like taxiways connect the
homes to the airstrip and residents have backyard tiedowns and hangers
for their privately owned airplanes. Marina communities work the same
way but instead of a taxiway there is a canal. Consistent with golf
courses the adjoining lots sell at many times the price of lots without
these amenities. The main lesson is not the potential profit but that
people really want these types of amenities and build their lives around
them. The 'club' has become as important an institution of society as the
workplace, church, and school. This club is not the country club of the
recent past but the golf club, the ski club, the athletic club, and even the
AIA. Its the organized groups of people we spend our time with.
John Naisbitt uses the analogy of the magazine industry to indicate
this differentiation of society. The big all purpose entertainment
magazines like Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post are gone but
have been replaced by thousands of special interest ones. Many are based
on leisure activities such as "Skiing", "Runner's World", "Sail", "Golf
Digest", "Flying", and "Horse and Rider". Another indicator in the public
realm is the rise of special interest activist groups. Faith Popcorn calls
this the 'Save Our Society' trend and they include 'Mothers Against Drunk
Drivers", "People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals", "National Rifle
Association", "NAACP", "Christian Coalition", "Gay Alliance", and
hundreds of others. People are taking action into their own hands. As it
affects the building industry, the most important my be the rise of
community groups opposed to growth. Sometimes called "NIMBY's"
(Not In My BackYard) or "BANANA's" (Build Absolutely Nothing
Anywhere Near Anybody) they in conjunction with planning laws and
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regulations calling for public review have created environments where it
is sometimes impossible to build good or even necessary projects.
All of these trends combine into a general disillusionment and
growing distrust of the great institutions in our society, indeed of
civilization itself. Government, corporate giants, education, medicine,
the legal establishment, the media, are all under attack. The good news is
that despite all the turmoil and infighting people are finding solutions to
their problems by taking back control and relying on themselves. Voters
are demanding greater use of initiatives, referendum, and recall
procedures. Some jurisdictions can not raise or change taxes without
voter approval. Private and parochial schools are increasing dramatically.
Neighborhood watch groups are seen as a key ingredient in reducing
crime. And community groups are taking on near governmental powers.
Homeowner Association membership is required in deed covenants,
especially in newer 'master planned' communities, and they assess fees
for a growing number of services from lawn trimming, to garbage
collection, to law enforcement. Naisbitt identifies this as a "megatrend"
from representative democracy to participatory democracy. The ideal is
the New England village run by town meetings where everything is taken
care of locally and everyone has a say.
Popcorn has identified several trends for the 90's that coincide
nicely with the concept of building new towns. More about
psychographics than demographics she concentrates on how people think
and feel rather than how much they make, what they buy, and where they
live. The first is "cocooning" and refers to the trend of people to stay at
home. Based on fear of an ever-threatening public environment people
are being much more careful about not just their personal safety and
security but also about the people they choose to recreate with and the
places they do it in. The 70's disco scene is a thing of the past. Rather
than going out to enjoy themselves more people are turning their
residences into places they want to spend time in. The casual dinner
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party and the ubiquitous barbecue are making comebacks. The cocoons
are expanding to include a circle of friends who visit each others homes
rather than hanging out at some public place. Though it may be clique-
ish, Popcorn sees the need to congregate and socialize gradually
increasing the size of the groups. A corollary is the gated community, a
place where those of means can associate with others of the same class in
relative security. Much of the appeal of the small town responds to these
same desires. A close knit community of like minded people taking care
of and looking out for each others interests is the ideal.
Another trend Popcorn identifies she calls vigilante shopping.
Rather than justice, the consumer is going after quality. Not the high
priced brand name but true quality based on performance. Sometimes
called the Consumer Movement it is characterized by a shopper willing to
. research a product whether the criteria be miles to the gallon or grams of
fat or insulation in the walls. Grocery stores regularly post how many
cents per ounce a product costs so consumers can compare brands. Is a
twelve ounce can of Libby's peas better than a sixteen ounce can of Del
Monte's or is Safeway brand a better value at half the price? Consumers
are increasingly making these kind of choices and while housing still
seems to be an additive process based on amenities; a Jenn-Aire range, a
gas fireplace, an oversize bath; the main determinate is space as
measured in square footage. While the average home buyer doesn't
usually look at price per square foot. They do compare total perceived
space to purchase price in the manner of three bedrooms and two baths
for x dollars as compared to anther 3-2 at y dollars. Unfortunately few
have a sense of the quality of space, much less how it can be
quantitatively measured.
Retail markets are continuing to change with the emergence of the
superstore as the new standard. Mom and Pop were done in by the
supermarket and the department store, which were in turn compromised
by the regional mall. Now the great emporium represented by the mall is
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being challenged by the superstore. Single use zoning is partly to blame
because if you have to get into your car to go to the store you might as
well go a little further to get to the mall or the superstore. The superstore
idea converges with the demand for greater choice since they can offer
not only a line of items but they can stock items covering the entire
market such as home appliances, computers, furnishings, or home
improvement. Despite these trends which are continuing to push urban
sprawl there has been a significant backlash in the revitalization of
several urban centers across the country. Baltimore's Inner Harbor is
perhaps the most well known. A coalition of government, business,
special interest groups, and the public recreated a blighted section of
water front. The final result resembles a cross between a mall and a
traditional urban commercial street and it has proven to be very
successful drawing people from a much larger area than a conventional
mall. Though Denver's 16th Street Mall has been a failure the
revitalization of the Lower Downtown area has been very successful. The
successes are not strictly shopping areas but succeed because they have
been designed and marketed as places to enjoy oneself. A place to not
only see and be seen but where there are things to do like have a nice
meal, catch a movie, see a ballgame, or participate in a festival.
Statistically, small retail businesses still outnumber the superstores
by a wide margin but many are struggling and there is a high turnover
rate between failures and new start-ups. The figures below were
extrapolated from "American Demographics", the Aurora phonebook,
and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.
TABLE 2.
BUSINESSES PER 36.000 RESIDENTS (andpublic institutions)
Businesses (all types) @1872.0
Chamber of Commerce (members) 166.0
Eating Places 53.0
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Physicians 51.0
Architects 17.1
Apparel and Accessories 20.5
Grocery Stores 18.7
Gas Stations 14.8
Daycare 10.1
General Merchandise 5.0
Pharmacies 4.9
Furniture 4.7
Cinemas (screens) 4.3
Convenience Stores 4.2
Jewelers 4.2
Car Dealers 3.6
Grocery Supermarkets 2.6
Hotels / Motels 2.6
Hardware 2.5
Architecture Firms 2.0
Pet Stores 2.0
Specialty/Ethnic Groceries 1.7
Department Stores 1.6
Health and Athletic Clubs 1.6
Stables 1.3
Golf Courses (18 hole) 1.1
Home Improvement Superstores 0.9
Airfields 0.4
Marinas (per public access lake) 0.4
Churches 25.2
Private Schools 1.6
High Schools 0.7
Middle Schools 1.3
Elementary Schools 5.6
Neighborhood Parks 4.9
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One of the most important statistics is the population breakdown
by age. Used in conjunction with other data it will tell us how many
schools will be required, how much office space, how much retail space,
and so forth.
TABLE 3.
POPULATION BY AGE GROUP (2000 est)(per 36.000pop.)
Housing starts and home ownership rates are two key indicators in
assessing economic health in the nation. In general ownership rates are
stable at about 60 % though there has been a minuscule decline since the
late 80's. Housing starts fluctuate a great deal especially on a monthly
basis. There is also a seasonal variation that gets more pronounced the
further north one surveys. There seems to be a partial inverse
relationship with the sales of existing homes, however, in very macro
economic terms, the construction industry historically leads the economy
out of recessions and is therefore a prime indicator of periods of relative
prosperity ahead for at least a year. Another inverse relationship is that
between rental housing and owner occupied housing. When the economy
is bad there are more rentals and when it is good more people can afford
to purchase their homes.
Preschool
Primary School
High School
College / Unskilled Workers
Early Career / Young Children
Early Career / Teenage Children
Prime Career / Empty Nesters
Retirement / Medical Concerns
Under 5 6.3 % 2268
5 13 12.5 % 4500
14-17 5.7% 2052
18-24 9.4% 3384
25 34 13.8 % 4968
35.44 16.4 % 5904
45 64 22.9 % 8244
Over 65 13.0% 4680
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CONCEPT AND OBJECTIVES
At the beginning my interest in architecture stemmed from a desire
to make myself a better place to live. A place perfectly suited to me. My
focus was on my "dream house". As I began my first serious attempts at
this I discovered or rediscovered the joy of making. I experienced a deep
sense of personal satisfaction at having built something that was good.
At heart I'm a homebody and my interests in architecture have always
centered on creating a better place to live which I believe is the critical
factor in creating a better way to live. I still believe in the romantic, if
somewhat reclusive, notion that 'a man's home is his castle'. I also
believe in the American Dream of the little house with a white picket
fence. My motto might be a variation on 'a chicken in every pot', as 'a
roof over every head'. My principle desire is to do residential architecture
but a good home is dependent on more than itself. It is just as dependent
on its context; its neighbors, community, society, economic base,
regulation, and a host of other factors. The trick will be to combine all
of these to create everything one could reasonably desire in a home.
Of all material things what is more important than where we live?
For me it is the very center of life. But life can not be lived in a vacuum.
And a house is exactly that when considered by itself separate from the
world around it. Personal relationships with friends and family, love, and
the elusive pursuit of happiness are what is truly important in living a
good life. For most people these are the primary things and we, as a
society, have become quite disintegrated in our individual pursuit of
them. My perception of this disintegration is one where a person lives in
isolation and loneliness yet will travel vast distances to visit a friend or
family member for brief periods, not to mention work and recreational
activities and facilities. These are the most trenchant criticisms of the
suburbs where 60% of us live. On a lesser scale this applies to our daily
social lives as well. The basis of the New Urbanist appeal of the small
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town ideal is that mythical place where these social relationships are
intact and in proximity to each other. The quest is for that magical
synergy that occurs in a vibrant town. It is similar to when I was an
adolescent going to school with all my friends in the neighborhood who
were the same people I socialized with. Unfortunately, for most people,
the home has become what George Carlin called, just a big box to keep
your stuff in". And the neighborhood is just an ever vaster collection of
boxes sprawling to the horizon.
- Practice of architecture as masterbuilder and as the primary
craftsman of the built environment.
One description of the profession states that architecture combines
both the aesthetic and practical aspects of design to create buildings and
environments that transcend the purely functional and attain a beauty and
meaning that is truly more than the sum of its parts. Is the profession out
of balance between these two competing aspects? Another description of
the profession states that architecture has become so imbued with the
avant garde that it has become merely another one of the fine arts; that
architects are more interested in designing objects of art based on obtuse
dialectical meanings in order to make a "statement than they are in
designing works that serve people and improve the quality of our
environment. As such it is claimed that we have abdicated the majority
of building to the forces of finance and mass marketing, not to mention
the developers and engineers. In other words, return on investment and
the lowest common denominator. Has architecture become so arcane that
it is only appreciable to connoisseurs? Is it an acquired taste or does it
still possess meaning to the public at large?
I believe good architecture is essential to good living. Its not that
I'm advocating giving up the quest for high architecture nor against trying
to expand what that means and discover new forms and expressions of
art. Architects are only involved in perhaps 20 % of what is built. Most
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of that is 'bread and butter' projects far to constricted to allow much in the
way of high architecture. Our profession is the only one that makes any
attempt to imbue our built environment with more than mere utility or at
best decoration. My quest is to bring architecture back to building. To
recapture what has been lost and expand architecture to all that is built.
This is no easy task. It may even be impossible. I can not do it
myself, indeed, it will take thousands of new architects. But perhaps I
can help to discover a way to make architecture accessible and by the
example of my work show others how it can be done and to create a
demand for architecture. What is certain is that we must be willing to
compete with the professions that have dispossessed us of our legacy.
We have to demonstrate the value of architecture to the great masses of
our society and to make its qualities accessible to them. At present the
cost of architecture to most people is not worth what they receive. They
see it as being concerned with empty aesthetics that has little relevance to
them. Paying perhaps 20 % more for this slight benefit is a
misappropriation when they can get much more tangible results from
others. In order to compete we must make architecture affordable and its
benefits understandable. All of this done on an individual basis is
expensive and it would seem that there is no way to be able to compete
with the custom builders with their stock of pattern book ready to go
plans.
- The whole process not just design; feasibility, competitiveness,
finance, construction.
The answer, as it usually is, is to cut out the middle man. There are
several of them who are candidates. At the house level there is the
general contractor, at the subdivision level there is the developer. On
large projects there is the construction manager. Design-build has shown
the way, if but tentatively. Its up to us to wrest the initiative from the
others, imbue the product with greater value, and deliver a whole product
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directly to the consumer. We lose our design fees but we gain the
contractor's and developer's who, by the way, gain the lion's share of the
profits anyway. Compared to architecture; development, financing,
contracting, and construction are relatively simple even if they are time
consuming. My idea is to develop an entire town. That way developing
the land into lots and the project financing only needs to be done once.
Then rather than selling off just the lots to home builders, retailers, or
other developers, I sell turnkey packages including the lot, individual
design, and the constructed project directly to the end users at the same
price they would pay for a tract house or at a discount off the design fees
for larger projects. With over 14,000 dwellings at buildout that can keep
not only me but 30 architects plus supporting staff busy for at least 20
years if each designs 23 units a year.
- The architect as developer and builder.
The crucial part of the process is the initial development. This
includes everything that is involved in getting the land subdivided into
ready to sell lots. The most daunting part of the task is the prospect of
taking my designs and calculations to the financiers in order to get the
funding necessary to purchase and develop the land. This is the crucial
test that I have set for my thesis. It is relatively easy to design a
wonderful town where money is no object. Build a light rail system for
50,000 people? Sure, no problem! Neighborhood parks on every block?
Great idea! It will cost $200,000 for a plain three bedroom two bath
house? Who cares? The buyers care and they will go somewhere else.
In other realms intangible benefits or values can justify great expense.
Putting a man on the moon cost untold billions all for the glory of just
doing it and the associated prestige for our country. Home and town
building exists within a market of competitors where none are dominant.
It is financed by investors through middlemen whose over-riding and
often only concern is profitability. To further compound problems of
making money the construction industry is more volatile than most which
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increases the financial risks and leads to higher rates of return being
demanded by investors to accept the risk. But they do take the risks
everyday and give their money to investment bankers and sometimes
directly to developers, some of whom are very corrupt, in the hope of
making a good return. Historically, investors have shown a willingness
to give their money to anyone who can demonstrate a reasonable
likelihood of delivering the required return. Why not an architect?
The story of John Portman is inspiring and provides an example of
an architect who combined design and development to produce some
works of architectural quality. In an era of slow growth and a bear
market when architectural work was not forthcoming he decided that the
solution was to create his own projects. As qualified as any developers or
bankers to read the economy and markets he found an opportunity for a
project. This is not very difficult and we all do it. Acquainted with our
cities and built environment we all make predictions about what will be
built next and where. Portman knew Atlanta was going to grow over the
long term despite the current economic downturn and he knew his city
was going to transform itself from the capitol of a mid-sized southern
state to the regional center of the entire southeast. He started small with
an idea to convert an underutilized parking structure into a merchandise
market, sort of an urban factory outlet mall. His big break was finding a
wealthy developer willing to back the project as an experiment. The
experiment was successful so more money was provided. Soon the
project expanded into a convention center with a major hotel, upscale
retail mall, meeting halls, and new parking structures. The key to success
was identifying a blighted section of the city that was well located to
become a redeveloped center of an expanded city. Portman, reputation
secure, went on to design and build several urban renewal type city
convention centers.
Building new towns is different from grand urban renewal type
projects except for the key element of convincing the financiers that it
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will produce the required return on investment. Even though the markets
are different the techniques are the same. Many designers think of them
as crunching numbers which is quite tedious but most of the numbers are
based on judgements that for want of a better term can be called intuitive.
In this there is some art and a developers skill at this kind of judgement is
the ultimate source of success. I see the two processes of land
development and town design as being very similar in the sense that
neither is linear. Both are integrative and must consider and incorporate
a myriad host of factors to produce a successful project. It is only natural
that a fuller integration will combine both processes to produce an even
better outcome. The key factors to consider are social, regulatory, and
financial in that order of importance.
- Social: live, work, recreate. Key aspect of recreation.
As stated previously architecture is about people. By extension
town planning is about social relationships. The three major components
of life for planning purposes are living, working, and recreating. By
living I mean those activities that are connected with the home. My
intention is to provide design and build service to individual clients
whenever possible. There will be some need for rental units which will
be built beforehand but by carefully mixing these buildings with owned
buildings the sameness that marks most suburban building can be
avoided. Building lot by lot to suit individual clients should largely solve
this problem. To avoid counterproductive results control of the process
by my firms, a detailed regulating plan, and chartered guidelines that seek
to preserve the form and character of public spaces and facilities should
be sufficient. Though there is some abdication of individual and property
rights by clients, individual design should ensure a much greater amount
of variety charm, and beauty than is not typical in our modem milieu.
Mixed uses of land is an essential element but must be done in such
a fashion that individual privacy and social comfort are not aggravated.
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The common desire and preference to live next to other similar uses is
both a cause and result of single use zoning. Most communities are built
within narrow socio-economic limits and people feel comfortable in these
settings. I think by using similar massing and micro-zoning in small
clusters mixing can be accomplished while preserving social comfort.
The Denver Country Club District provides a very nice example mixing
small cottages, townhouses, mansions, and small apartment buildings
among others.
The nature of workplaces is changing and downsizing is a good
descriptor. The increases in small businesses and stagnation of the mass
employers provides an opportunity to reintegrate work into primarily
residential contexts. Home based businesses have doubled in the last
decade creating even more opportunities and on a more intimate and
human scale. Allowing them in residential areas is an important factor
with proper controls to maintain the character of the areas. However, I
doubt that a community can survive economically with only homebased
and small retail businesses. Some people will surely continue to
commute to jobs elsewhere and locating my new town within commuting
distance of Denver's Central Business District (CBD) and the Denver
Technological Center (DTC) is an important factor especially from a
marketing standpoint to ensure the initial success of the town. But
provisions should be made to integrate midsized and light industrial type
businesses within the communities and perhaps larger concerns in
peripheral areas.
The early stages of the project are crucial. An attractive reputation
must be established early to attract the numbers required and at a
sufficient pace to ensure financial success. Once established, reputation
and word of mouth should be sufficient to insure the flow of clients until
buildout. The key is peoples recreational pursuits. As discussed earlier
people are organizing their lives around their liesure activities and
developments that provide easy access to these facilities have proven to
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be very popular. Colorado is famous for its ski resorts, of course, and
some of them are based on real towns having a year round life. Still they
are based on tourism and lack a self-sufficiency that I think is more viable
both socially and economically. Golf course developments are probably
the most popular and any upscale development today is not complete, and
at a considerable market disadvantage, without one. There are others
which have proven attractive such as athletic clubs, tennis clubs, private
airstrips, and riding clubs. There are successful examples of all these
types in Colorado so their feasibility has been proven. What Colorado
and Denver lacks is a large scale water amenity. Being a sailor I am
acutely aware of this situation. It is true that there are places such as
Cherry Creek, Chatfield, and Barr Lake reservoirs where people can go to
sail but each is very small and therefore crowded during peak seasons and
none of them allow easy access to adjacent neighborhoods much less
lakefront property to build on. Concisely, the creation of lakefront
property would be able to draw on a huge untapped potential demand and
the creation of a large reservoir would create a wonderful amenity for the
State in general. The creation of a large resevoir becomes the central
feature in this project from both a design and a business aspect.
- Business plan, marketing plan, financing plan.
The business aspect is a crucial element in this thesis. Though I am
personally comfortable with such matters, I realize that most of my peers
are not. There is that faction that openly disdains these matters, and the
people who pursue them. They will seek other paths in their careers but
none will ever truly be in charge of their own destiny because they will
always be working for someone else. I believe strongly that if you want
to be taken seriously or if you really want to make a difference you have
to be willing to practice what you preach. I have little respect for that
particular type of architect who practices only paper architecture of the
avante garde and lacks the courage to put his ideas to the test yet loudly
preaches what the "true" art is. The cliche says that "the business of
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