New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

PREWAR ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS, AND SOCIOLOGISTS IN A POSTWAR WORLD

By EDWIN S. BURDELL

Teamwork among military, naval, and air units is winning this war and is overshadowing in importance any single advance in weapons or techniques in these three services. Teamwork among engineers, architects, and sociologists can win the postwar attack on urban rehabilitation, but not one of these specialist groups fighting alone will do more than bend back, a salient here or capture a bridgehead there. For hundreds of years the war against urban decay has gone on, sometimes even championed by emperors, but a Napoleon, equipped only with an architect, Haussmann, could do nothing better than carve boulevards through urban jungles leaving the interior of the City of Paris a noisome slum. Improving the appearance of the city, facilitating its communications, strengthening its defenses against warfare, fire, and flood goes a long way toward making the city more safe and efficient, but when these material improvements are made without a keen understanding of the human needs of the great mass of urban dwellers, the urban community fails to function. City planning in taking its rightful place among the great social movements of modern civilization, alongside of public education, health promotion, disease prevention, and social legislation, has completely emerged from the City Beautiful era of Daniel Burnham and the Columbian Exposition

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