Through his own work and through Lewis Mumford, the influence of Patrick Geddes on twentieth century town and country planning has been profound. He is remembered as an advocate of survey-analysis-plan scientific planning, but, as the above quotation reveals, Geddes also had a full appreciation of the importance of ideals and imagination in guiding the planning process.
Our whole life is governed by ideals, good and bad, whether we know it or not. North, south, east and west are only ideals of direction: you will never absolutely get there; yet you can never get anywhere, save indeed straight down into a hole, without them.
Landscape quality is a public good. The distinction between private and public goods is that the former can be purchased, owned and consumed. Houses, apples and seats at the opera are examples of private goods. The characteristics of public goods are non-depletability and non-chargeability. A lighthouse is the traditional shining example (Fig. 2.1)! However many people benefit, the source of light and safety is not depleted. A lighthouse has to be paid for, but it is impracticable to levy a charge on the individual sailors who are warned away from dangerous rocks in tempestuous seas. In cities, the following points about public goods should be kept in mind:
Plans are required for public goods.
|• We cannot charge for fresh air, beautiful views, clean rain, fine townscape, access to public space, listening to the birds or the presence of hedgehogs.|