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Chapter 14

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Western University
Sociology 2152A/B
William Marshall

Sociology 2152b Chapter 14 • Visions o Ebenezer Howard had a vision = influenced by Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward o People went to overcrowding cities only to experience misery and despair o Howard set out to solve city problems what he called the “Garden City of To- morrow” o Howard wants to celebrate the “marriage” of town and country (Garden Cities Plans) nd o First garden city = Letchworth (1903), 2 = Welwyn until the 1940s remained Britain’s only attempts at “planned” towns o The entire history of urban planning = evident in the story of Howard’s new towns o Suspicion typically greets plans for urban redesign (because of many failed attempts and it involves more than brick and mortar people’s lives are also implicated) • City Planning In World History o Every cultural in world history had history of urban planning o Why Plan?  Early city planners sought first, to solve specific urban problems (e.g planned underground sewage lines for health reasons)  We know that the motives of city planners in early urban planning culture was to glorify those in power  City planners had a good reason to glorify them since the elite employed them  City planning often proceeds from the “top-down”  We need to ask whom are cities planned?  3 focus of urban planning = glorification of important cultural values  The faithful find a powerful religious experience in the setting; reminded citizens about their culture and value  City planning reflects social changes (example: Sir Christopher’s plan of rebuilding London after the great fire of 1666 with roads leading not to the famous church but to financial stock building)  3 concerns appear again and again in the history of urban planning. People plan their cities base on  1) solve specific problems  2) serve the interest of those in wealth and power  3) reflect and intensify cultural ideas o Planning in the Industrial Era  Howard saw little hope for the industrial city = viewing it as a monument to greed and to the interest of the few rather than many  Howard believe effective planning could never exist in an industrial city because of its size  Planning on a city wide scale did not exist in early cities  Profit and efficiency carried the day with the transformation of space into a standardized commodity (Right angled houses are the cheapest to build and the most convenient to live in)  In the new, trade-dominated city, tradition counted for little  Profit motive fundamentally shaped all of New York  The “City Beautiful” Movement  The City beautiful movement started at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where Daniel Burnham "white city” proposed a city constructed around monumental civic centers built in neoclassical style, with great public spaces and a network of parks all linked by spacious boulevards  Burnham’s ideas had considerable influence on urban planners across the country (Chicago, Detroit, LA all had city beautiful movements after the fair)  Cost was too much, and private business people resisted the change = city beautiful movement simply went away o The New Towns Movement  Sociological concept of New Town = deals with large scale, holistic planning of a mixed-use, self-sufficient community  British New Towns  WWII Nazi bombings led to housing shortage in London, England = renew interest in Howard’s new town concept  1946, Britain passed the New Towns Act  Providing for government sponsorship of new urban communities to draw population away from London and other cities  One central goal = limit London’s sprawling by surrounding the city with a “green belt”  Directly from Howard’s vision  Great Britain built 34 new towns = successful because of government funding  First community = Mark I towns = adhered closely to Howard’s vision and were modelled after Letchworth and Wlewyn nd  2 waves of new towns = Mark II towns = REALLY different from Howard’s vision because need to solve 2 problems: 1) the small cities built were insufficient to alleviate population problems, 2) too many small towns consume too much land. Sacrifice greenery for density and to emphasize central (rather than neighborhood) shopping and recreational facilities  Most of these new towns are socially rather the same, with the same ethnic and class prejudices that one would encounter in large cities  Critics claim that homogeneity is the product of the planning process itself = emphasis on neighborhood = in-group solidarity would lead to out-group hostility  New towns were too inflexible = cannot adapt to changing human needs but stuck rigidly to the original plans = result = sense of inefficient and even oppression  New Towns Worldwide  Early British new towns were anti-city, and anti-growth  Recent new towns (France, Netherlands, and Spain) take a different approach = attempted to stimulate growth = new communities draw population from countryside as well as from huge cities  Sweden = look on new towns as “suburb control” = planned a series of satellite cities linked to the central city and to each other by efficient transportation = Vallingby Complex (each small city has 10,000 people living)  Sweden also built higher density new towns = with unattractive high rises which look like housing projects in the U.S = ONLY attracted low-income families  Australia new town concept = new urban region, home to the national government (isolated rural area)  Canberra (1912) = successful beautiful city that now has a population exceeding 350,000 (oriented towards the service industry and public admin)  Canberra = government and planners had total control  Canberra = for middle to high class families, low-income families cannot afford to live there  Brazil = Brasilia (1950s)  Now exceeds 2.3 million people  Brasilia have so much poor people, that people started to build houses there from anything they could find = favelas = squatter shantytowns  New Towns in North America  During the early history of the U.S, government-planned communities were not unusual  Except for one program in the 1930s, ALMOST all U.S new towns for more than 100 years have been completely dependent on the ideals, plans, and investments of private businesses  Radburn (Clarence Stein) = direct attempt to realizing Howard’s dream of a new town (garden city)  Radburn attempted to separate people from cars completely  Radburn ran into financial difficulties, and was never completed as planned  The Radburn plan has been an inspiration to planners for 3 generations (impact on the design of Winnipeg and Calgary in Canada)  Greenbelt towns  Rexford Tugwell convinced Roosevelt to create the Resettlement Administration with funding from the Emergency Relief Appropriation during the Great Depression  One of Tugwell’s objective is to provide housing for the poor urban dwellers outside the city  3 cities were part of this plan = Greenbelt, Maryland, Greendale, Wisconsin, and Green Hills, Ohio  These towns were failures because they were built before the super highway age, and did not provide enough incentives for industries to relocate themselves  By 1949, government sold these towns to private investors  The Greenbelt towns became and remain more like suburbs of the large nearby cities than like the independent small cities originally planned  Reston (Robert E. Simon)  Simon planned his quality urban environment around 2 town centers linking 7 villages approx. 10,000 residents each. He intended Reston to be economically self- sufficient (failed) and diverse, with mixed-income housing (failed, only attracted middle-high class families)  Columbia (James Rouse)  James Rouse intended to create a people-friendly social and physical environment that would simultaneously allow
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