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Department ofHistory Columbia University
"Americans sense thatsomething iswrong withtheplaces where we live andwork and go aboutour dailybusiness." So begins a recent jeremiad by author HowardKunstler on the "environmental calamity" we callthe suburbs [Kunstler, 1996,p. 43]. Criticspoint to fundamental aspects of post-war planning, suchas zoning,highway dependence, and decentralization, as the determinants of ourcurrent suburban landscape. Buthowdidbusiness come to the suburbs, andhow did zoning create the "EdgeCities" we havecometo both love and hate?Long before urban renewal, the interstate highway program, Levittown andEdgeCities, a coherent altemafive to the "congested city"already dominated popular, professional, andpolitical discourse. The new ideal of the"regional city"projected a rationally planned andzoned citywhich segregated residential, commercial, andindustrial uses, aswell associal classes. The new metropolis wouldbe anchored by a concentrated central business district, connected by expressways to concentric, low-density residential and industrial suburban tings.Most importantly, the whole ensemble would be ordered according to a comprehensive regional plan.It wasout of the debates over"regionalism" during the1920s thatthisnewurban vision emerged.
In March of 1923 critic Lewis Mumford, architectClarence Stem and
other like-minded reformers formedthe Regional Planning Association of America (RPAA),a loosely knit association of urban reformers. In Julyof the sameyear ThomasAdamsbecame Directorof Plansand Surveys for the Russell SageFoundation's proposed Regional Survey of New York and its
Environs, the forerunnerof the RPNY.• As a result of these efforts, the
• The Regional Planning Association of America wasa loosely knitassociation of likeminded individuals froma variety of disciplines. As a prominent critic andsecretary of the organization, Lewis Mumford became theRPAA's chief theorist andpolemicist. I have used
him asthe primary spokesperson. An excellent treatment of the collaborafive nature of the RPAAis KermitC. Parsons unpublished paper, "TheCollaborafive Genius of theRegional
Planning Association of America," August, 1993.I wouldliketo thank Professor Parsons forsogenerously sharing hisencyclopedic knowledge of Stein andtheRPAA.The Regional Planof New Yorkwasitselfa product of many hands. Adams became Director of Surveys
in 1923,but hisofficialrole wasas coordinator and synthesizer of the work of dozens of people in several committees. For thesake of simplicity I haveused "RPNY" to stand for the organization thatproduced both the Survey and the Plan,aswell as for the successor organization, theRegional PlanAssociation.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMICHISTORY,Volume Twenty-seven, no. 2,Winter 1998.
Copyright ¸1998 bytheBusiness History Conference. ISSN0894-6825.
" Yet in 1929. governmental activism. specifically theproposals for twoNewJersey suburbs of New York City.The regionalistsappropriated thenineteenth century critiques of "blight" and"congestion" but recast themin a rhetoric andideology thatproposed a radical restructuring of the cityaccording to zonedfunctioning and"decentralization. Whilethe ideas of theregionalists laidthebasis for contemporary zoning. andreinforce the cultural andeconomic hegemony of NewYorkCityasa regional andnational center. By weilding the concepts of the region. N.an apparent break occurred in theranks of theregionalists overthe fundamental questions: what exactly is "theregion" andwhatarethetruegoals of regional planning? The significant difference between thetwo groups wasthatthe RPNY proceeded fromanidealof metropolitanism whilethe RPAAwasgrounded in a profoundly anti-metropolitan communitarianism. andthe nature of advanced capitalism to propose a complete revision of spatial relations in metropolitan New York. theregionalists drew uponnewunderstandings of cityfunctioning. Hackensack Meadows." The difference is summarized in the contrast of the RPNY's "diffuse recentralization" andtheRPAA's "decentralization. Whilethe City Beautiful movement at the turn of the century hadidentified manyof the same urban problems. andfacilitating the removal of certain activities fromtheinnercity. and the publication of the RPNY'sten-volume survey andplan.ing realestate values. butwhilethegoalof theHackensack planwasmixeduserecentralization in support of themetropolis. Lewis Mumford called for the dismemberment of the metropolitan "cityof the dead"in favorof a web of small scale "satellite ciries. 1923-1929/ 293 "regional city"emerged during the late 1920s asthe planned response to the problems of the American industrial metropolis.. While Thomas Adams sought to rationalize. congestion. the regionalisms of Adamsand Mumfordsought to createsatellite suburbs integrating homeandwork.Unlikeits progeny. Like its present-day descendants.J.but to different ends. was a tool for segregating and rationalizing uses.and decentralization. uponcareful examination. theyalso point . regional zoning was alsomeantto be a tool for increasing efficiency andintegrating work and residence through thecareful planning and creation of Garden Cities. Thispaper will explore theorigins and transformation of suburban zoning in the plansandprojects of the regional planners of the1920s. The Hackensack Planfrom theRPNY andtheRadburn Planof theRPAAbothemployed therhetoric of regional decentralization. The rhetoric andmodels these urbanvisionaries established and popularized created a new conception of the city whichwould dominate urban discourse for the next half century. upon the construction of the RPAA'sprojectin Radburn. Padburn became a harbinger of the"dormitory suburb" andsprawl. whiletheRPAAlegitimized the flightfromthecore.THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY. reveal thatthe RPNY sought to sustain urban industry andcontain dispersal.for the regionalists. stabili•. zoning. and Radbum." typically opaque terms which. obscured by misinterpretation andmisapplication. zoning. andyet the citiestheyimagined have become invisible cities. reinterpret.
would bein reality living in. and be limitedto 32. TheseGarden Cities wouldbe constructed through a combination of philanthropic landspeculation andcollective landownership.by creating a spatial hierarchy through land value. oftenlostin hisconcem for Garden Cityfinancing andcivics. bothgroups could trace theirgenesis to the EnglishGardenCity movement of Ebenezer Howard." thescientific study of the"orderly andtypical grouping of (thecity's) population andinstitutions" according to natural laws of group behavior andurban growth [Park.Howard'svision.Emest Burgess. pp. 1965. Burgess . wasof the removal of the workingclassfrom the congested quarters of industrial Londonto satellite townsthatwouldcombine the bestattributes of boththe townandcountry. a great andmostbeautiful city.and ethnicity.set downin his To-raormw: a Peaceful Path toReal Rearm (1898). The RegionalCity Mumford and Adamswere only the most prominentamongmany reformers espousing regionalist principles duringthe earlydecades of the twentieth century. class. Howard's Social City wasthe fttstcomplete blueprint for a region. Robert Park.1-2]. andcultural arguments.andyet all the fresh delights of the country. wasthat of the "Social City"in whicha Central City of 58. In combining physical. andLouis Wirthformed thecoreof a group of Chicago sociologists whopioneered thestudy of "human ecology. 1925.from which boththeRPAAandRPNY drewliberally. The RPNY'sdefinition of the regionand of the role of regional planning synthesized Howard's Garden Cityviewwiththe"ecological" urban analysis of theUniversity of Chicago School of Sociology. andwouldenjoy theadvantages of. MEYERS to possible solutions for today'ssuburban gridlockand battlesover the environmental impact of suburban growth. in turn determined group behavior. wouldbe withina very few minutes' ride or walk" [Howard.andimplemented in part through a series of projects around London.Parkand hiscollaborators setoutin theearly 1920s to tum theprofession of sociology from the study of society as a collection of individuals into an ameliorafive science thatsaw thesocial group asanorganic unitcapable of being controlled through thebenevolent manipulation of theurban environment. andit heldparticular sway over thethought of theAmerican regionalists. 142]. though in onesense living in a town of small size. The periodabounds with definitions of the region.p.. Theirinvestigations produced the Park-Burgess "dart-board" diagram. separated fromeach otherby forests andgreen beltsandconnected by a rapidtransit system. Howard's regional notion..000 people would anchor thecluster of smaller Garden Cities. include bothresidences and factories. so that"each inhabitant of thewholegroup. economic.294 / ANDREW A. But it wasas part of the regional cluster thatthe Garden Citywouldtrulymary]townandcountry. Although theywould come to suppress theircommon descent.000residents. whichsought to illustrate howthelaws of group behavior inevitably produce a particular city form.This form.
subways. bothAdams andMumford legitimized andpopularized an elitediscourse that would dominate thetwentieth-century conception of themetropolis. The economic critique of congestion addressed a perceived crisis in thedistribution of goods. and finallythe white collar commuter zone.But what exacdy was it? The term. Therewasessential agreement between theRPNY andRPAA overthe nature andimpact of economic congestion. the othersocial." and "traffic jams. The concentration of bothindustry . for moreefficient location of industry.. Although neither Mumfordnor Adams often felt the need to correct suchrhetoricalconfusion. the slow-moving crowd of people clambering into street-cars.. the "zone in transition" of ethnic slums and artist colonies.thestockyard neighborhoods. andresulted in calls.64]. 1923-1929/ 295 describes thegrowth of thecityas"a process of distribution..""density. By synthesizing theurban critiques of housing reformers. grounded in Frederick Winslow Taylor's principles of scientific management. The social critique of "blight" and"slums" addressed populationdensity. The Congested City Look at the greatcityin its entirety: the turbidmass of traffic blocking the streets and avenues.Look at the dingyslums of the EastSide. for reductions in building density. the zone of working class. andbothwould focus primarily ontheproblem of "congestion" in theregion.which sifts and so•ts andrelocates individuals andgroups by residence andoccupation" [Park andBurgess. andfor improvements in transportation. p.Long Island City.it is clearthat theirattacks oncongestion actually contained twodistinct concerns. andthenegative social effects of realestate speculation. health. oneeconomic." The elasticity of thetermpermitted a great &greeof ostensible concord between the RPNY andRPAA at the levelof critique. second-generation immigrant homes. theirarms pinionedto their sides." "overcrowding. Why the great city? Whatarewe putting in andwhatarewe getting out?How longcanwe stand the strains anddifficulties thatarepeodiar to ourla•ge congested centers? [Stein..p." "concentration. 1976.The natural lawsgoverning thisgrowth produce a normatire model. elevateds." that rationalizedthe observable segregation of the city into five concentric zones: the central business district." "slums. andTaylorite managers under theaegis of regional planning expertise. 1925. patrician planners.hadbecome by the timeof its adoption by theregionalists conflated withthenotions of '%light. hometo bothbusiness activity andthdhomeless population. a residence zoneof greater affluence. living conditions.inherited from the housing reformers andpatrician planners of an earlier day.THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY. 66] The specter of "congestion" haunted theinvisible cities of Adams and Mumford. pushedand packedlike catdein illsmelling cars." "mobility. Despitesemantic differences. both theRPA_A andRPNY wouldessentially embrace the Chicago School definition of theregion. a "half moon and dart board.
ing effectsof what he termed"mobility"the "change of movement in response to a newstimulus or situation. Bothgroups agreed thatthe solution wouldrequire the relocation of industry. although theywoulddifferon thenature andextent of such "deconcentration. landprices. and was manifested in increased cornmuting time. bequest of the Commissionersof 1811. His mandate was to answer two related questions: 1) whatwastheeconomic basis of urban concentration? and 2) wheredo things "belong" in urbanareas? Drawing on an ecological model.Thus over-concentration of all economic activity in the center wasproducing a dragon boththe production and exchange of goods. all of which wouldeventually maketheNew York region aninefficient piece of "productive economic machinery" unable to compete with"other metropolitan machines. The gridstreet system." hoping in theprocess to "glimpse the outlines of an economically idealpattem or plan. he broke up theregion intothree zones thatcorresponded roughly to theChicago School model: 1) Manhattan south of 59thstreet. At thesame timethose industries thatbyvirtueof their ownidiosyncrasies trulybenefited froma central location wereoftenprevented from locatingor expanding in the center.1927]. andtraffic." .His survey of the change in the numberof employees in various industries in thethree zones suggested to Haigthatwhile the"advantages of centralized locus areundeniable for many of the functions carried on in the region. 3) the outlyingarea. Speculation andpopulation pressure mayhaveengendered congestion andblight. could not absorbthe increased automobileand truck traffic.these forces hadbecome part of the organic social structure of the city. Manhattan's monopoly of commercial and productive activity required longer andlongercornmutes." otheractivities couldbe moreprofitably conducted outside of thecenter." In Volume I of the Regional Survey.in ParkandBurgess' view.296 / ANDREW A. Columbia University economist RobertMurrayHaigbased hiscritique of congestion in theregion uponwhat he poetically termed the"friction of space" resulting frompoorly arranged uses [Haig. andimprovements in transportation. This "frictionof space" resulted in part from bad concentration (congestion) andin partfrombaddeconcentration (sprawl). As residence was pushedfarther from the centerby commerce and risingland costs. but. MEYERS and exchange on Manhattan produced a crisis in the distribution andmovementof goods andworkers.Haig's monograph established theeconomic focus of theproject with lucidanalysis and often elegant prose. he analyzed the"competitive struggle for urban sites. reductions in building density." For the purpose of surveying the placement and movement of various industries." The social aspect of theproblem of congestion became a cornerstone of regionalist ideology. costsof transportation infrastructure. 2) a twenty-mile industrial zone.For Burgess. andthepublic transit system would require vastexpenditures to accommodate growingdemands. Theseinefficiencies contributed to higher prices for goods andlarger investments in publicinfrastructure. the intensity of economic competition andsocial stimulation in thecongested metropolis ledto an increase in the destabili?.
Park hadpointed to increased dependence on the automobile as a causeof the traditional neighborhood collapse [Park. asin the zoneof deterioration in the modemcity. andliteral. theintrospective character of the neighborhood. example of themobility bothdecried andpraised by the Chicago sociologists. consolidating building lotsontolarge blocks while minimizing thearea devoted to streets. 69]. butthese too areinterrupted. In the internal street system Perrysought to segregate traffic so as to defy the centripetal force of automobile. 150]. Theneighborhood ispenetrated bya fewlarger roads. RPNY social planner Clarence Perrytranslated the Chicago School analysis into a radical uxban corrective. Mumford and Stein acknowledged theclose affinities between the"Radbum Idea"and Perry's neighborhood unitconcept in theRPNY [Mumford. It wasbut a small stepfromPerry's RPNY proposals to the RPAA's actual designs.THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY. 1926. rather thatdiffuse. In creating a prescription for combating the social aspects of blight.p. By adopting a superblock strategy.In the diagram of "Neighborhood Unit Principles.Stein." the highways and arterialstreets create boundaries to reinforce. local. and vice [Buxgess. The social andpsychological mobility identified by Buxgess became in Perry's modela puxely physical automobility andwasto be constrained by segregating regional. Eventhough Perry didnotbecome anactive contributor to the RPAAuntil1928. 1989.Where mobilityis greatest. Thefunctional segregation was made complete byunderpasses thatenabled pedestrians to walktheentire developmentwithout having to cross traffic at street level. the "Neighborhood Unit. pp.This internal "privatepark. andwherein consequence primary control breaks down completely.withitsincrease in number andintensity of stimulation. p. Stein andWright wereableto create a community green space on theinteriorof theblocks for theresidents' exclusive use. 1989. of promiscuity. 1934. consistency of thetypethatis natural in the socialcontrolof the primarygroup. Stein andWright synthesized theinterior parks andculde-sacs of Perry's plan to produce a system of overlapping yetdistinct networks of automobile andpedestrian circulation. The cul-de-sacs." whichguided the community planning strategies of boththeRPNYandRPAA.justbefore construction on Radbuxn began. tends inevitably to confuse andto demoralize the person. interiorparksand T-intersections were devices designed to protectthe residents' moral well-being fromautomobility andfromtheconcomitant social illsof uxban congestion. p. For an essential element in the moresandin personal morality is consistency. Perry's majorinnovation wasa strictseparation of through trafficfrom local traffic. theredevelop areas of demoralization." wasshielded fromcartrafficby houses arranged on cul-de-sac ." essentially an inversion of the GardenCity's external "greenbelt. It wasthemost vivid.21-39]. 15. 1923-1929/ 297 The mobility of citylife. At Radbuxn.and neighborhood car traffic.
is essentially a piece of productive economic machinery competing with othermetropolitan machines. andoftenasan impediment to good planning. Today zoning is often equated withplanning." wouldinclude the LowerEastSideandHarlem. the "loop.p. but it exercised a profound influence upon thePlan. 1927. The TaylorizedCity The metropolis.. It is in thesegregation of functions thatthe two regionalist movements achieved theirhighest levelof consensus.. Regional Planning designates the bestuseof thisfloorspace. MEYERS streets. factories scattered helterskelter should be no more tolerated thandepartments of a factory scattered helterskelter [•g.. BothPerryandAdams heaped praise uponRadbttm. theirownphilosophy concerning decentralization. the zoneof "transition" or "deterioration."wouldinclude Wall Streetand Midtown Manhattan. Although Adams would wamthat"The1916 zoning lawwas reallya temporary measure basedon compromise" and Mumfordwould second such concerns.aswe shall see in the nextsection. The1LPNY sought to establish functional zones based in human ecology to reif'y theChicago School diagram. Zone II. efficiency... To makeroom for the commercial central city. wasseen asmerely a means. 18]. BothAdams andMumford agreed thatzoning wasa bluntinstrument: Adams insisted thatzoning wasmerely a "preliminary step in planning. anda rather clumsy means at that. density anduse of buildings. The areaof New York andits environs maybe likened to the floor space of a factory. bothshared a desire to segregate functions in the search for safety. 165]. andcommunity. butit was not•waysso.Adamsproposed removing some heavy manufacturing fromthecentral business district to an industrial belt. andtheneighborhood [Adams.to themoreambitious endof comprehensive cityandregional planning.Boththereality of existing settlement pattems. suggesting thatit should bethe model fornewdevelopment outside of thecentral city. The zoneof workingmen's homes would include theouter boroughs and northem NewJersey fromNewark to FortLee. Zone I. zoning." Mumford sawzoning asa lastresort. and. p. would prevent the1LPNY planners fromimposing thisideal without modification. thecity.298 / ANDREW A.. andsoon. They promoted the ordering of uses at all levels of planning: at the scale of the region. Indeed.basing his arguments directly uponHaig'sTaylorite callsfor . theirreliance uponthis principle was their most enduring and omnipresent contribution to later planning practice. Unduly congested streets should be no more tolerated thantheaisles of a factory impassably jammed bygoods in process. For manyof its early promoters. the legal restriction of the height. Yet in the finalanalysis bothregionalists embraced the principle of functional segregation thatlaybehind zoning. turning Park and Burgess' description into a prescription. 1929.
. Thecritique of congestion andcallfor segregation of uses became staples of postwar planning. This"zoning out"of industry has ledsome recent critics to blame theRegional PlanforNew York's jobloss through aleindustrialization.. Although Stein andWrightsought to separate functions through theplan of Radbum.to buildfunctional segregation intothevery planitself. The arguments for thiscompartmentalization of thepublic realm were based in communitarian values. but of industrial capital andthe commodification of the land. while paying lip service to thenotion of Garden City-style integration of workandresidence. However. asopposed to using zoning legislation.. 1923-1929/ 299 reducing the friction of space to increase productive efficiency.A. these twentieth century proposals represent thegreatest challenge to traditional urbanism proposed by regionalists: the separation of function at every scale. seemed to have faith enough in the permanency of purelyresidential use to plan streets to serve solely thatuse[Stein. TheRPAAalso segregated uses and. 47]. which comprised most of theplan.at the timethatRadbum wasconceived. It isbynoweasy to recognize the parts of theinvisible regional citythatwere realized. Thatwas contrary to thefundamentals of American real-estate gambling.THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY.. thefundamental dismemberment of thepublic realm in service of twodramatically different agendas. To planor buildroads for a particular use and no other use required a predetermined derision to make specialized use permanent. 1989. As Stein would admit later. lanes. During the Renaissance Leonardo DaVincihad proposed a similar rationalization of urban chaos in a sketch he drewfor a second-story sidewalk forFlorence.. andcul-de-sacs of Radbum couldserve no otherpurpose thanthat for which they were designed. Neither thenovelty norimport of this innovation werelost on Stein: Specialized Highways werein theirinfancy in the U. Noneof therealtors. the RPAA planners knewearlyon that Radburn wouldessentially be a bedroom suburb. The RPAAplanners sought themostcomplete segregation of circulation in anattempt to defend anintrospective andcooperativecommunity against the ravages not only of mobility. andfewof thecityplanners whoaccepted zoning as their practical religion..S.which afterallcould bechanged withthestroke of a pen.In thissense the Radbum plan represented the most intriguing convergence of the RPAA and RPNY: it borrowed fromPerry's neighborhood unittheequation of through traffic with disruptive mobility andthe desire to specialize the roadsystem to reinforce neighborhood sentiment andlocal social control.excluded industry from theirproposed satellite cities.p. in theend. Steinexpressed a desire for functional separation thatwouldbecome a staple of planning discourse. IndeedRadbum represented an attempt to go beyond legislated zoning . asexpressed . Theroads. business andindustry werestillcarefully excluded fromthe residential zone.
. The other is for theconcentration of traffic andtransportation andhighbuildings in thecentral district below Fifty-ninth Street in Manhattan. the limited-access highway. of a re-industrialized region of compact mixedusecommunities anchored by New York City.decried those"social philosophers whose gospel is 'decentralization.Radbum. failedto seewasthat the Regional Plancontained a clear andconsistent model. 1929. Just ascongestion hadpositive and negative consequences .theprojects andideas thatbecame part of themainstream conception of thecity. mistakenly arguethat the RPNY favoredsprawlto satisfy suburban land speculators andthe deindustrialization of Manhattan to serve domtom realestate interests.socialfragmentation and liberation . MEYERS in urbanrenewal and suburbanization. following Mumford's lead. p. 242]. andthatAdams' useof theterm"decentralization" wasmerely a polite coverupfor a desireto drive blue-collar jobs out of New York. Adams.in a quietdig at Mumford.and the Decentralized City As a matter of fact. and the fillingup of the open areas in the metropolitan district. whichAdamsexpanded to encompass boththenegative social consequences of mobility andtheeconomic inefficiencies of unplanned decentralization."Building the City.the [Regional] Planinvolves twocontradictory sets of proposals. Oneis for thebuilding of large neighborhood units and even gardencitiesin the suburban parts of the metropolitan region. obscured onlyby the scope andcollaborative nature of theproject andthe distaste of its director for reductive paradigms. Mumfordsawthe RPNY distinction between goodcommercial concentration andbadresidential congestion asa double standard setwing theRPNY'sfinancialmasters." In VolumeII' of theRegional Plan." identified in Haig'seconomic analysis."Thiswas theconcrete legacy of theregionalists .' no matterhowunplanned or .wasa radical alternative to the sprawl anddeindustrialization already apparent on the horizon."Adams urged that"theterms 'centralization' and'decentralization' should beavoided asthey leadto confusion of thought. andthe cul-de-sac wereall ingredients in therecipe of sprawl andthepostindustrial "edge city..But an investigation of theRPNY's planfor Hackensack Meadows shows thatthelegacy of decentralization aswe nowknow it was butoneof many roads proposed bytheregionalists.so too did decentralization. HackensackMeadows. slumclearance. Thatmodel. What he. Conventional historiesof regionalism. andmanyobservers since.to continue the congestion andto preserve theland values thathave beenfounded uponthis congestion [Mumford. The difference between the regional models of the RPNY andRPAA canbe summed up in thejuxtaposition of theunfortunately opaque terms "diffuse reconcentration" and "decentralization." The realconcern of thePlan wasthe"friction of space.300 / ANDREW A. The removalof industry from the center.
andthe "friction" of working-class commuting. cost. however well planned and arranged. andrecreational "wedges" thatcutacross theconcentric zones. but it could also create newproblems of itsown.Diffusionof residence into compact residential neighborhoods thxoughout thewhole urban region integrated withthe industrial sections so as to reduce distances between homes and places of work. Mumford wasin general accord withAdams on the desirability of moving some industry out of Manhattan. pp. Third..between homes andplaces of work. p. discomfort and fatigue. Unlikelatercritics. Inefficient or impractical decentralization was justasdangerous asunplanned concentration. Adams wasskeptical concerning the benefits of manufacturing dispersion. An indiscriminate process of socalled "decentralization" will be of littlebenefit. Adams vision wasa complex composition of industrial. the transport hurdle of the Hudson River. rendered by HarveyWiley Cotbert's architecture committee. Whatappears to be wanted is: First.The rezoning he did encourage wasdirected to establishing anindustrial "halfmoon"in whatwouldbe ZoneIII of theParkBurgess diagram. 1929a.For Adams. transportation. His general complaint wasthatthe Regional Planneither decentralized industry enough nor called for . Rather thana blindreification of the Chicago School bull's-eye. the areaof workers' homes. . 1929a. asa means of overcoming the combined problems of highManhattan landcosts. p. Adams' vision for the Regional Planwasof highly selective and carefully considered industrial relocation. Theclosest Adams evercame to concisely stating thePlan's basic strategy to combat this friction came in whatappears to be a critique of Mumford's imprecise prose: The term "decentralization" is a misnomer unless the intent behind it is to entirely break up compact communities. decentralization could relieve the social infirmities andeconomic inefficiencies produced by congestion. which is injurious to bothliving conditions and business" [Adams. unless it addressed the"friction of space" by integrating new industrial centers with residences. 1923-1929 / 301 haphazard" [Adams.p. andengendered the "inter-penetration of allparts of the Region thatbrings thepopulation in convenient contact withemployment and education centers andrecreational opportunities" [Adams. 34]. 151]. Contrary to thepicture of indiscriminate expulsion of industry painted by hiscritics.Yecond . 1929b.. residential. And contrary to the Plan's illustrations. and recreation.The friction of space represented "agreater degree of separation measured in terms of time. 14%150].. 310]. Adamsargued against a total removalof manufacturing fromthe core. 1929a..Diffused re-centralization of industry with the objects of lessening the density of congested centers andof creating new centers.Sub-centralization of business soarranged asto provide the maximum of convenience for residents[Adams.THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY.
The RPAA satellite was essentially a complete inversion of Howard's idea.It waszoned into business. pp. based upon theautomobile andobsessive segregation of uses. andaccess to nature. For theRPAA. the RPAA soughtto rectify the situation environmentally. thenbothMumford's andAdams' versions represent something of a fallfrom grace. middle-class suburban character: the . as exemplified by Hackensack Meadows and Radbumand regional transportation. At first glancethe RPNY GeneralPlan might appearto be a prescription for sprawl. less profitwouldgo toward the "paper value" of an industry. While Howard's "Social City" required a large central city. space.92-93]. which they disparaged asthe"dinosaur city.. asStein wouldadmit. Within the Social City network the satellite garden city was to house and employ 32.of unionlaboritself). withitsundifferentiated gray mass of residential use. urbanity." or "necropolis.with those of diffusion: economy.The RPAAplanners tolerated largercitiesonlyas an imperfect stepon the way to true decentralization.but the zonesproduced fingersthat stretchinto other zones." Civicfunctions werealsosuppressed in favorof an intemalization of Howard's surrounding green belt.It was not a mere reification of the Chicago School bull's-eye but a combination of "wedges. and recreational areas. industry. Even whileretaining the rhetoric of the GardenCity. MEYERS a concomitant decentralization of commercial businesses and residences..the RPAAregion did not. These differences aremost apparent in fundamental divergences on thenature of satellite cities. residential." Byremoving thehighcostof advertising.000 working class residents andencompass residence. If the"Satellite City" was thefruitof Ebenezer Howard's Garden City. industrial. Physical decentralization wouldengender moreeven distribution of wealth andpower[Mumford. whose wages wouldothenvise stagnate whilecapital values soared. ground rents.industrial decentralization wasnota means of reducing the"friction of space" but ratheronlyonestrategy for implementing an "industrial counter revolution. overhead (and. indignation over the concentration of wealthin a class was displaced ontotheconcentration of wealth in •pace. belts. 1976b.Defenders of the RPAA's position asthatof naive utopians point to theonset of theGreat Depression as theexplanation for Radburn's whitecollar. andmoreto theworker. the RPAA "decentfists" hadfromthebeginning chosen a pathto reform thatcontradicted Howard's vision in significant respects. Whereas theRPAApromoted decentralization asa means of eviscerating thecentral city.000 andexiled industry to adjacent "employment centers. andnodes" thatsought to synthesize thebest attributes of congestion efficiency. Thesearguments canbe traced backto Chase andhiscallfor localproduction andconsumption of goods. TheRPAA/Radburn model.to spread therealincome of industry by decentralizing industry. Absent a Marxistcritique. convenience . and civic functions thatwerezoned butintegral to thewhole. projected a middle-class population of up to 100." RPNY planners sawregional "re-centralization" as a means of sustaining theindustrial metropolis andrestructuring theregion to support it.302 / ANDREW A. Without attacking theclass structure that producedsuchinequities.
" Themajor exception was to bein therealm of finance and entertainment. p.. p. the most wholesome living conditions. 1929a. andwalking paths [Adams.[is] growing toomuch in theditecrion of having separate districts devoted to industry. Although Adams was reluctant to publish specific proposals for satellite cities. and550 for business. wasthelast large parcel of undeveloped landnearManhattan. Thissystem would becomplemented byanarray of "nerve centers" inwhich a certain amount of nodalconcentration wouldpermit"the industries. butnot tothe degree that interfires udth the convenient relation ofone tothe other." and "nerve centers. 1923-1929/ 303 economic collapse prevented the CHC fromattracting industry andworkers and from purchasing land for a greenbelt.The plan calledfor the creation of "a community whereindustrial. business andresidence. Radbumwouldneverhavebeenaffordable for the working-class and was planned from the startto be predominanfiy. andthegreatest economy in work and travel [italics added] [Adams. over 22.c. offices.pp. '%vithout an industrial base thegarden cityis onlya fancy namefor a suburb" [Mumford. It wasthe onlyinstance whereAdams permitted his designers the luxury of working on virginland(or virginweftand).340-341]. canals. p. warehouses andisolated condominia. But.. 569]. which wereto be the exclusive purview of . asspeculators could driveup prices before landassembly could begin. as Steincandidly admits.The neighborhoods were based onthePadbum principle butwere easily accessible to adjacent offices andfactories bypublic transportation. As Mumford himself noted. 1929a. 1929a. What is calleda well balanced community is one in whichthese functions aresorehted asto produce thehighest efficiency." "wedges. Of a total of over 30. 327.000acres. if not exclusively. pp..THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY. residential. The Hackensack Meadows.and industries connected by overlapping systems of parkways.000 for new industrial areas. today thelocation of a sports complex andan"edge city"of highways. 242]. businesses. 1932a.almost4. he overcame thisreluctance and vigorously promoted theHackensack plan.. the residences and thecultural and recreational facilities of a [satellite] city[to]be interspersed withoneanother.400for parks.000 would be reserved for residential use. residential andrecreational areas aredistributed in wellbalanced proportions" [Adams. Adams'RPNY proposals for satellite drieswere closer to Howard's SocialCity idealin several important respects. andtheir proposal for an industrial community is a glimpse of the RPNY'sunfulfilled ideal. 4. forit was a plan thatexpressed thecoreof histhinking about recentralizafion: NewYork. 546-547]. parks. Adams saw the well-planned region asanassembly of "belts." Wedges would balance circumferential and radial developmentto permit what wewould today call"mixed-use communities" thatcould provide fortheemployment and recreational needs of a residential population. A plananda series of fascinating thumbnail sketches illustrated anintegrated satellite cityof neighborhood units.4 good •oning planaims at the segregation ofthese three uses..
19-21]. suchas thesuperblock. Theproposals of theregionalists were static. Stein.As JaneJacobs astutely pointed out. Adams' regional decentralization without the integration of uses wouldbecome sprawl. andtheRPAA."The fatalism of the Chicago School's organic modelstripped of the desire for .Not onlydid the RPAA contribute specific decentralizing devices to the planning profession. Conclusion: City of Tomorrow In 1939designer Norman BelGeddes concocted a fanciful model of the "Cityof Tomorrow" for theNewYorkWorld's Fairwhich imagined cities of towers setin a landscape of highways andsuburbs.the newvision that wouldemerge wascloser at heartto thatof Mumford. Whileborrowing selectively fromboth. 1961. butrather theapplication of regionalist ideas in theservice of other agendas. Yet to the extentthat it wasrealized afterWorldWar II. thefunctional separation of traffic anduse. andthe townless highway.pp. cul-de-sac. ratherit offereda meansof sustaining the concentration that supported urban culturewhile mitigating its worst attributes. asa result of its grandiose misapplicafion in thehands of RobertMoses. Generally it isAdams' RPNY. in which they would appear in forms thatwould not be recognizable to theircreators. but for differing reasons thatmaybe traced to thecontrasting agendas of professional legitimizafion andcultural regeneration. Sucha scheme sought to balance the efficiencies of functional segregation with thoseof integration.304 / ANDREW A. MEYERS Manhattan. theCityof Tomorrow would notbethevision of either interwar regionalisms. a radical alternative to whatwould become thedominant paradigm of post-war sprawl. The RPAAvision of a webof functionally segregated satellite driessought the dismemberment of urbanity itself. The RPAA'sanfi-metropolitanism shomof its socio-economic radicalism wouldlegitimize "whiteflight.It wasessentially a metropolitanized version of Howard's Social City. They were ideal dries. The RPNY's Hackensack planwasnot a merereificafion of real-estate interests. thathasbeendeemed moresuccessful andtherefore receives thecredit andcriticism for theregional citythatresulted. in favorof a romantic ruralutopia. requiring the engines of speculation or governmental activism to makethem partof NewYork's reality. the RPAA planners wereaptlylabeled the "Decentfists" for their desire to define all that was urban as bad and to thin out the greatcities at all costs [Jacobs. but mostimportantly it popularized the anti-metropolitan mantra of decentralization. whether imagined bycultural critics or pragmatic professionals. Each challenged themarket asit existed. while reserving certainactivities for a regional center in the central city. The forces drivingthe transformation of New York wouldborrowthe RPAA'santi-metropolitan rhetoric of dispersal and the RPNY'svisions of a cityof towers to produce a "cityof tomorrow" driven by downtown officeand suburban residential speculation. The model drewuponthe regionalist ideas thathadpercolated through the•eitgeist since thepublication of the Regional Planand the construction of Radburn.
Robert Murray. Perhaps a clearer understanding of the alternatives latentin regional planning. "ThePlan of NewYork. 1965).THE INVENTION OF THE REGIONAL CITY. The Mysteries ofthe Great City (Columbus. McKenzie. anda disappearing nmal environment it is tempting to wonder. bedroom suburbs. 71 (15June 1932a). "HomeFromNowhere. MA. . (NewYork. Park. It wasa prescription to sustain the metropolis whilemediating thegrowing spatial conflicts engendered by corporate capital.Planning the Fourth Migration: The Neglected . "Regional Planning. Haig. mighthave produced a citycloser to Adams'or Mumford's vision. it appeared that the well-connected regionalists were poised to realize thek crystal cities. volL (NewYork. The Death and l_a•ofGreat Ameffcan Cities (NewYork. and urbanrenewal."in TheNe•vRepub•c. but the product of human will. suburban gridlock. speculation.1963)..1929).Invisible Cities (NewYork. Burgess. 4358.1988). and a government morewillingand ableto applyit. I-7. Howard."in The Ne•v Repub•c. a balance between localsegregationandregional integration of uses. ed. 1923-1929/ 305 amelioration undergirds the presumed inevitability of today's "gatehouse suburbs. between zoning andplanning." The dominance of "congestion" and "blight"in planning and housing discourse woulddriveunprecedented federal interventions in road building. ed. 146154. Calvino. Garden •'IiesofToraorro•v (Cambridge." in R. in bothpostwar phnning practice andplanning history. Jane. chronic urban fiscal crisis.O'ties ofToraorro•v (Oxford. Mumford. 1993). Hall. ed. Hypertrophic central business districts. In thissense the RPAAwas most"successful" in the eventual dominance of its anti-metropolitan rhetoric andits interpretation of the region asa crucible for radical diffusion. E." in CarlSussman. andR. Before this splitwas explicit.of choices made under theinfluence of historically constrained ideas.1961). Burgess. Lewis. John D.The Urban Corarauni•y (Chicago. 1926). andcul-de-sacs wouldall be born of an increasing reliance on functional zoning without a recognition of itslimitations. The most intriguing omission. worldwar. 1996).. Kunsfler.. The RPNY's "diffusere-centralization" was a potentially prophetic alternative to sprawl anddeindustrialization.The Regional Plan of Ne•v Yorkand ItsEnvirons: voh. in which the bull's-eye of the Chicago Schoolwas mitigated by Adams' "wedges" to overcome the "friction of space" that wouldresultfrom either excessive decentralization or concentration.. is the RPNY's call for re-centralization. Fairfield. Italo. "Major Economic Factors in Metropolitan Growth andArrangement. In order to address these contemporary concerns it isnecessary to understand that theyarenot theinevitable result of natural forces. James Howard. The City(Chicago. "ThePlanof NewYork. eds. 1925). As we look out upon thecontemporary hndscape of homelesshess. 71 (22June 1932b).1927).andunprecedented changes in America's political economy wouldphcethek dreams on hold. Jacobs. "TheGrowth of theCity. Thomas. Ernest." Atlantic Month• (September. 121126. andtechnological change. if youwill." in The Regional Surffy of Ne•v York.. slumclearance. . References Adams. but a depression.Peter. Ebenezer. --.
ed. TovantNev Tovns•rAm#ica (Cambridge." inR. "Introduction. "Regions .306 / ANDREW A. Robert E. eds. McKenzie. MA. ed. Cornell •2688. E." in Sussman. "Industrial Fatigue andGroup Morale." in C. .Charles Dyer. "TheCity: Suggestions fortheInvestigation of Human Behavior in theUrban Environment. and R. "Forest HillsGardens.. .Proposed Public Statement to be Issued by theExecutive Committee of the Advisory Plan Commission." in American Journal ofSodolog• (November 1934).. "TheNeighborhood Unit. Nov." in CarlSussman.To Live In. Park. 1976).298. Stein.. Box43. . Norton. 1909. Reprinted in a letter from Charles Norton to Frederic Delano. "Dinosaur Cites. RPAArchives. MA." promotional brochure. Carl.. Burgess. 1976b). MA. Clarence."in The Regional Survfy of Nev York. The Ci• (Chicago. Park. 1921. 1989). .1929). MEYERS Vision ofthe P•gional Planning Assodation of Ametica (Cambridge. 1976a). 1989).Planning the Fourth Migration: The Neglected Vision ofthe R•gional Planning Assodation of America (Cambridge. Sage Foundation Homes. KrochLibrary. 1925). volVII (New York.Planning the Fourth Migration: The Neglected Vision ofthe R•gional Planning Asso•ation of America (Cambridge. . Perry. Toward NewTowns forAmerica (Cambridge. MA. Stein. Clarence.
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