Suburban Land Conversion in the United States: An Economic and Governmental Process

By Marion Clawson | Go to book overview

1
SCOPE, FOCUS, AND DESIGN OF THE BOOK

As many Americans know at first hand and most of the others have been informed by the communications media, the problems of the modern city are formidable and highly complex. There are economic problems of income, output, and employment; problems of design in buildings, streets, and public areas; planning problems; transportation problems. The city's welfare problems are felt not only by the poor, many of whom belong to racial or ethnic minorities, but also by the taxpayers who must foot the bill for welfare. All citizens pay the price of social problems like crime, anomie, alienation, and violence. And it is in the cities that problems of environmental pollution are often seen in their most acute form.

Cities must be concerned with growth -- in population, in area, in economic output, in housing. They must also be concerned with renewal, particularly of their older areas which were designed for a past society and economy and are now deteriorating rapidly.

At bottom, the problems of the modern city involve the whole purpose, goal, and style of modern life, for modern man is an urban man. But the problems are highly interrelated. Although there is value in examining the economic problems separately, or the political problems or any of the others by themselves, in fact the various aspects of life in the city are intertwined.

Viewed in this way, the problems of the modern city seem too large and complex to be seen whole by any one person. Anyone who writes about any aspect of the modern city must focus his analysis and exposition on those aspects of most interest and concern to him.


FOCUS OF THE BOOK

This book is about land use -- what activities are carried out on the land, how the use of one area relates to the use of other areas, the processes by which land use and changes in land use are carried out, and the like. Consideration of land use necessarily also includes some consideration of buildings and their construction, of transport facilities whereby the activities on one tract of land can be interrelated with those on another tract, with public improvements which often provide a substantial part of the value to private land, with finance as it affects

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