The Nature of Cities: Origin, Growth, and Decline, Pattern and Form, Planning Problems

The Nature of Cities: Origin, Growth, and Decline, Pattern and Form, Planning Problems

The Nature of Cities: Origin, Growth, and Decline, Pattern and Form, Planning Problems

The Nature of Cities: Origin, Growth, and Decline, Pattern and Form, Planning Problems

Excerpt

The nature of cities embodies three parallel studies. Each deals with one aspect of the city; together they form a unity. The first study deals with the city's origin, growth, and decline. It is a history of city types rather than of particular cities. The second study, on pattern and form, has to do with the two orders of planning: the geometric and the organic, which govern city types, city architecture, and city landscape. The third study considers the planning problems with which the modern city and its region are confronted in our industrial age.

The first two studies show that cities change with the changing concepts of their times. Cities are an expression of particular spiritual and material, social and political conditions, influenced and modified by the forms of production and the means of communication. The Greek city and the Roman city were both based on the work of slaves; but they differed from each other because the political and social concepts of Greece differed from those of Rome. Greek cities were small city-states; Roman cities, part of a vast empire. Medieval and Baroque cities differed from each other as well as from Greek and Roman cities. Medieval cities were based on free work and were free communities; Baroque cities were parts of growing territorial states, where manufacturing, the economic stage of production between handicraft and industry, was being developed. The cities of our industrial age have very little in common with the cities of past ages. They depend on large national states; they are based on a national economy tending to become world economy. In their extraordinary material achievement, they far surpass any cities the world has ever known.

The cities of our industrial age, however, have not yet found the pattern adequate to their potentialities, according to their function and techno-

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