New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

THE HUMAN SCALE IN CITY PLANNING

By

JOSÉ LUIS SERT

The patterns of the cities of tomorrow will be shaped by the social, political and economic conditions of the postwar world. It is useless to try to represent these future cities as abstractions detached from those conditions, as new cities, in which the machine would be the sole transforming agent. We cannot pretend that machines alone can offer the solution to all the ills of cities as we know them today. It is the forces behind the machines that count, and the purpose to which these forces put the new mechanical devices, and whom they want to favor by them.

The technical means that we could resort to today, rich as they may seem, do not lead anywhere towards benefiting the populations as a whole, as long as they are not directed towards this goal. For example, fascist countries have in some instances carried out plans that may appear interesting as technical achievements, but are always inacceptable when analyzed from a humanistic angle. Planning in these countries, like all other activities has been put at the service of military ambitions of conquest and aggression or of personal megalomaniac propaganda. 1

I dread the pictures of the "city of tomorrow" which appear frequently in popular magazines, a "city" formed of endless suburbs; one small cottage close to the next one and a helicopter in every backyard! In trying to picture these cities of the future the "Super-

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