The Design of Residential Areas: Basic Considerations, Principles, and Methods (Classic Reprint)by Thomas Adams
The present concerted movement to provide proper dwellings for the citizens of this country finds our minds in very much the same unsettled and shifting state that is evident in our experiments in the regulation of business and industry, in the care of those who cannot
Excerpt from The Design of Residential Areas: Basic Considerations, Principles, and Methods
The present concerted movement to provide proper dwellings for the citizens of this country finds our minds in very much the same unsettled and shifting state that is evident in our experiments in the regulation of business and industry, in the care of those who cannot earn a living, and, indeed, in democratic government itself.
Our belief and our boast have been, "There is opportunity for all, and any man who will work can take care of himself." At the same time we felt that a man's business was indeed "his own business." Whatever he could get legally, he was entitled to keep. So long as there was still room for expansion and for exploitation of natural riches, we could believe both of these things at the same time. Now that the frontier is gone, and opportunities are not unlimited, we see that the unrestricted seizing of opportunity by one man means the lack of even reasonable opportunity for another.
We now believe in regulation, just as we recently believed in individualism, and we are likely, just as we did with individualism, to trust it too far and to expect it to accomplish all things.
The answer to our problem lies at neither extreme. Rather it consists in preserving the driving forces of self-help, self-expression, even of self-seeking, but restraining some people, encouraging some, and guiding all, so that there shall be enough opportunity for decent living to go around. This simple aspiration is as old as history. It is highly probable that it will never be fully realized, but if we can use the intelligence which we have, we certainly can make a closer approximation to the ideal than we have done in the last few years.
This book by Mr. Adams is an application of intelligence to the above ends in one part of the field of residential planning, carrying further and applying more widely his contribution to the subject in a previous report, Neighborhoods of Small Homes. In the present volume, he considers fundamentally two things: first, what are reasonably good living conditions; then, what is their least cost, - in thought, in effort, and in relinquishment of conflicting objectives.
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