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Town planning

CT. Lakshmanan
Asst. Professor (Selection Grade)
SRM University
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To develop an appreciation of the planning issues involved at the scale of a town or a city.

To expose the students to the history and development of planning, its relevance & application to modern day principles
of town planning.


Definitions of town planning, levels of planning and steps for preparation of a town plan, survey techniques in planning,
concepts, functions, components and preparation of a development plan.
Planning concepts related to garden city, geddesian triad, neighbourhood planning, radburn layout, ekistics, satellite
towns and ribbon development.


Indus valley civilization - Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Extracts from Chanakyas Arthasastra, manasaras Vastushastra,
planning thought behind Fatehpur sikhri, Shahjahanabad, Jaipur and Delhi


Selected examples to include concentric city, radiant city, CIAM, linear industrial city and Chandigarh


Concepts in Regional and Metropolitan planning, land subdivision regulations and zoning, nature of regulations and
control, the comprehensive role of urban design in town planning process.


Introduction to human settlements, growth and decay of human settlements, influence of socio-economic factors in the
development of human settlements


1. Text book of Town Planning, A.Bandopadhyay, Books and Allied, Calcutta 2000

1. John Radcliffe, An Introduction to Town and Country Planning, Hutchinson 1981
2. Arthur B. Gallion and Simon Eisner, The Urban Pattern City planning and Design, Van Nostrand Reinhold
3. Rangwala, Town Planning, Charotar publishing house
4. G.K.Hiraskar, Town Planning
5. Rame Gowda, Urban and Regional planning
6. S.K.Khanna, Highway Engineering, C.E.G. Jhusto, Nemchand & Bros. Roorkee 1997
7. N.V.Modak, V.N.Ambedkar, Town and country planning and Housing, orient longman, 1971

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What is Town planning?

The art and science of ordering the use of land and siting of buildings and communication
routes so as to secure the maximum practicable degree of economy, convenience, and

An attempt to formulate the principles that should guide us in creating a civilized physical
background for human life whose main impetus is thus foreseeing and guiding change.

An art of shaping and guiding the physical growth of the town creating buildings and
environments to meet the various needs such as social, cultural, economic and recreational
etc. and to provide healthy conditions for both rich and poor to live, to work, and to play or
relax, thus bringing about the social and economic well-being for the majority of mankind.

Planning is a process of helping a community, identify its problems and its central values,
formulating goals and alternative approaches to achieving community objectives, and
avoiding undesired consequences of change. This process of planning results in
frameworks for coping with change. Some are physical elements such as streets, roads,
and sewer lines. Some are concepts that serve as guides to action, such as the goal of
becoming a major distribution center or of encouraging investment in the core of the city.
Some are regulatory, reflecting the desires of the community to encourage good
development and discourage bad development.

A city should be built to give its inhabitants security and happiness Aristotle

A place where men had a common life for a noble end Plato

What do planners do?

Planners deal with the fact that human communities are always in the process of changing.
The consequences of this change can be chaotic and destructive, or enhancing. It is the
planner's task to help communities cope with this steady growth, change, and renewal in
ways that will maintain-and improve-the community's quality of life.

Planners recognize the complexity of communities. As with natural environments, human

communities are strengthened by diversity. One task is to help communities become even
more diverse, broadening the variety of employment, educational, cultural, entertainment,
shopping, and housing opportunities and promoting a broad range of land uses, income
levels, and types of people. Another task is to help communities deal with the clashes of
interest produced by such variety and turn these differences into a positive force for
constructive change.

Planners share a concern about the future, a belief that something can be done about
bettering our human-made and natural environments, and the recognition that planning, with
relevant implementing tools, is the best method available for communities to achieve this.

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Aims and objectives of town planning

The main objectives of the town planning may be summarised in three words viz. Health,
Convenience and Beauty

1. Health :

To create and promote healthy conditions and environments for all the people rich
and poor, to live, to work, to play or relax
To make right use of the land for the right purpose by proper division of land called
zoning such as residential, commercial industrial, institutional and recreational etc. in
order to avoid the encroachment of one zone upon other for smooth and orderly
development of the town or city without causing future conflicts.

2. Convenience :

The object of convenience is meant in the form of various needs of the community such
as social, economic, cultural and recreational amenities etc. Public amenities required
for the proper upkeep of the citizens include water supply, sanitation, electricity, post,
telegraph, gas etc., proper sites for industrial, commercial, business enterprises to
encourage them in trade with cheap power, transport services, drainage etc.
Recreational amenities include open spaces, parks, gardens and playgrounds, for
children and town halls stadiums, community centers, cinema houses, and theatres for

3. Beauty :

To preserve the individuality of the town by developing it on its most suited natural
To preserve the aesthetics in the design of all elements of town or city plan, which
includes preservation of trees, natural greenery, improved types of domestic buildings
and buildings of civic dignity and beauty, architectural control on public as well as semi-
public buildings, ancient architectural buildings, temples, churches, mosques and
buildings of cultural and historical importance.

All stages of actions from defining the objectives till implementation and review of any planning
project in the planning process. In plan preparation, the physical planning should associate with the
socio-economical, geographical, political factors, for achieving the objective in desired direction.
The various stages of planning process are as follows:
1. Identification and definition of problems
2. Defining the objectives
3. Studies and survey
4. Analysis of data and preparation of study maps
5. Fore-casting
6. Design
7. Fixation of priorities
8. Implementation
9. Review, evaluation and feedback

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1. Identification and definition of problems :

Various problems with reference to the results obtained by studies and surveys and with reference
to the objectives are identified

2. Defining the objectives :

Here the objectives of the planning are identified. The general objectives of any planning of urban
area is
To regulate growth
to nullify the bad effects of past growth
to improve the transportation facilities
to optimize the resources utilization
to balance population and economic activities
to promote social integration among different categories
to promote a convenient comfortable, beautiful and healthy environment.

3. Studies and survey :

The following studies and surveys are taken up for plan preparation. Identification of growth
(physical, economical, social, cultural, institutional, administrative and political)
Identification of trend and direction of growth
Traffic survey
Study on demography
Resources and other potentials
Certain surveys and studies have to be made directly where as for study of demography etc. the
secondary sources of information have to be depended upon.

4. Analysis of data and preparation of study maps :

The data obtained is analysed observations and conclusions have to be derived out of the studies
and surveys. The short-term objectives and long-term objectives are identified various study
maps, charts and graphs are prepared

5. Fore-casting :
Period of demographic projection is prescribed. Forecasting of about migration, employment,
industrialization and other rapid urbanization possibilities are to be made.

6. Design :
This is an important aspect in the planning process. Need to relate existing pattern, interactions and
trends is to be examined. Preparation of development plans, formulation of zones, alteration to the
existing zoning regulations, widening of roads etc. are made in detail here. Alternatives are also
made for effective and quick implementation of plan. The plan should also be able to cope with
sudden and unexpected events. Possibility of changing from one strategy to another should be
designed at the same time keeping in view its practicability and the total expenditure involved.

7. Fixation of priorities :
Since all the proposals cannot be taken up at one time due to financial and administrative
difficulties, priorities should be fixed for taking up the implementation depending upon the
importance and urgency.

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8. Implementation :
Implementation is the most important stage where all the earlier efforts to prepare plan is to be put
into practice to achieve the objectives. The authority, which takes up the implementation, is to fulfill
all the required legal obligations in time zoning regulations, land acquisition for road widening and
for other purposes is taken-up.

9. Review, evaluation and feedback :

The work of implementation has to be monitored by taking up periodical inspections and obtaining
review reports. Feedback is essential periodically. The plan should be flexible for modifications
depending upon the necessities.


Census of India defines an Urban Area as
(i) all places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee;
(ii) all other places which has features as
(1) a minimum population of 5000;
(2) at least 75% of the male working population engaged in non- agricultural pursuits and
(3) a density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km. and predominantly urban way of
life (urbanism)
Apart from urban area & urban agglomeration rest is considered as Rural Area.
Census Classification of Cities and Towns
Class of Cities/Towns Range of Population

Class I 100,000 and above

Class II 50,000 to 99,999

Class III 20,000 to 49,999

Class IV 10,000 to 19,999

Class V 5,000 to 9,999

Class VI Below 5,000

Source: Report of National Commission on Urbanization, vol. One

Energy consumption of settlements leads to harnessing thermal and hydel power from large distances at times
causing degradation in sensitive areas.

Energy Consumption Pattern in different Era Source: Solar Architecture - an Indo-German initiative, Proceedings of the international worship, 1995

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Surveys can broadly be divided into two categories depending on the area upon which they are to
be conducted. They are:

They are those surveys, which are done over a region dealing with
PHYSICAL FACTORS like topography, physically difficult land, geology, landscape etc.
PHYSICAL ECONOMIC FACTORS like agricultural value of the land, mineral resources and
water gathering lands, areas with public services, transportation linkages etc.
SOCIAL ECONOMIC FACTORS like areas of influence of towns and villages, employment,
population changes etc.

They are done at much small scale and apart from the above data collected from the regional
surveys it also includes
For conducting proper survey, primarily relevant enquiries should be framed in the form of
questionnaires for presentation, when required.

Of the various techniques of surveys that are followed, the four listed below are most prominent
1. self surveys (i.e. mailing questionnaires to the persons to be surveyed )
2. interviews (i.e. by asking questions to the people to be surveyed )
3. direct inspection (i.e. when the surveyor himself inspects the situations concerned )
4. observers participation(i.e. when the observer himself participate in acquiring the data required )


The questions that are asked in the questionnaires formed for doing the surveys can be of various
types. Some of them ask for general things, some asks for some order of preferences or some give
stress to the time interval between two incidents. Thus the scales of the questionnaires are fixed,
which can be described as follows

NOMINAL where there is no ordering, like asking of sex, age, employment in any particular service
ORDINAL where there is a specific order of choices like asking of priorities, housing conditions,
climate etc.
INTERVAL where an interval of time is given importance like time taken to shift from LIG housing to
MIG housing, time interval to change from two wheelers to four wheelers etc. this provides an
yardstick of measurements

For conducting surveys, it is not always possible to ask each and every person about his or her
opinion. Hence, certain numbers of persons are selected for conducting the surveys and these
selected persons are known as samples of surveying. The selection of the number of samples is of
utmost importance. The basic rules for selection of sample size are as follows:

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REQUIRED. That is if the information got are poor (both qualitatively and quantitatively) the analysis
done from them will be wrong. Thus, if getting incorrect results have a very disastrous effect on the
framing up of the policies of planning; more number of people is to be surveyed.

That is, if it is expected that there will be various kinds of responses to a particular question, more
number of persons are to be asked, as more varied answers will help in getting different ideas of the
people through the cross section of the people surveyed


ARE REQUIRED TO BE SURVEYED. That is, if the total population to be surveyed is very large
then, even a small percentage of it will amount to quite a large number of samples. Depending on
the time available, the money involved and many other things, the number of samples could be
restricted by selecting a small percent of the total population.

The samples could be selected in various ways depending on the type of information required and
the importance of the accuracy of the particular information in the survey process. The various types
of selection of samples are
1. SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLING ( selecting samples at random without any criteria to select the
samples whatsoever )
2. SYSTEMATIC SAMPLING (selection of the Kth element along a particular street, where k can
be any number )
3. STRATIFIED SAMPLING ( making of a homogenous listing of the different sects of the
population and collecting a certain percentage at random from each sect)
4. CLUSTERED SAMPLING (when samples are selected from clusters and not from a
homogeneous listing )

Getting biased, having errors in measurements, not getting any direct answer are the major errors
done in surveys. Thus questionnaires should be framed in such a way so that all the answers
received are properly checked. Pilot surveys should also be conducted to check forgery and bias.


A structure plan is one that singles out for attention of certain aspect of the environment usually the
land-uses, the main movement systems and the location of critical facilities and buildings. Such a
plan aims to influence certain key vocational decisions while recognizing that there are many other
things that cant and perhaps should not be decided at the outset.

The comprehensive plan seeks to combine in one document the prescriptions for all aspects of city
development. It includes an analysis of the citys economy, its demographic characteristics, and the
history of its spatial development as a preface to plan for how the city should evolve over 20 year

DEVELOPMENT PLAN means a plan for the development or re-development or improvement of the
area within the jurisdiction of a planning authority and includes a regional plan, master plan, detailed
development plan and a new town development plan

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A well-known sociologist, who after studying the industrialist evils in Britain gave the concept of
Garden City; it soon became the landmark in the history of town planning. He had an idea which
he set forth in little book entitled To-morrow, published in 1898 which later republished under the
title of Garden City of To-morrow. He explained his idea of Garden City by an impressive diagram
of The Three Magnets namely the town magnet, country magnet with their advantages and
disadvantages and the third magnet with attractive features of both town and country life. Naturally
people preferred the third one namely Garden City. It made a deep impression in the field of town

A town designed for healthy living and industry. Town of a size that makes possible a full
measure of social life, but not larger

Land will remain in a single ownership of the community or held in trust for the community.
Not a colony, but a complete working city of population about 30,000. A large central park
containing public buildings. Central park surrounded by a shopping street. Central park and
shopping street are surrounded by dwellings in all directions at density of 12 families /
acre. The outer circle of factories and industries. The whole is surrounded by a permanent
green belt of 5000 acres. The town area is of about 1000 acres

In 1899, the garden city association was formed.

In 1903 Letch worth started, 35 miles from London, town area: about 500 acres, designed
for 35,000 persons, 3,000 acres of green belt. By 1947 it had about 16,000 populations and
about 100 factories.
In 1920 Welwyn started 2400 acres, 40000 persons design capacity. By 1947, it had
about 18,000 population and 70 factories.

By keeping the land in single ownership, the possibility of speculation and overcrowding
would be eliminated and the increment of value created by the community in the industrial
and commercial (shops) sets would be preserved for it-self. It was a thorough going
experiment based on middle-class consumers cooperation

Howards general principles, including the communal ownership of the land and the
permanent green belt have been carried through on both cases, and the garden cities have
been a testing ground for technical and planning improvements which have later influenced
all English, American, Canadian and Australian planning, particularly in housing.

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Many of the Howards idea were put in practice. For instance, Letch worth is located thirty-five miles
from London with a total of land 3,822 acres. A total of 1,300 acres of land has been reserved as a
major component of greenbelt for the uses of residences. It was designed for a maximum of 35,000
populations. In thirty years, the town had successfully developed into a garden city with the total of
population of 15,000, with more than 150 shops and industries. The second garden city that
successfully developed was Welwyn. The site is located 24 miles form London. The site was 2,378
acres and it was designed for a population of 40,000. In fifteen years it had a population of 10,000
with fifty industries. Meanwhile, Howards concept for the garden city was a means of controlling the
growth of cities through the building series of new towns physically separated from each other and
from the parent city. The garden cities were to be self-contained for the needs of the people. The
garden city concept has influenced many planners or the first group of new towns built in Britain
after the Second World War. For instance, Cumbernauld is the British new town to be built.

Such idea of sustainable development is applied in Singapore beginning at the year of 1968. The
initial step is to plant as much as greenery as possible to improve the quality of the environment.
The concept of Garden City becomes more defined and clearer only in the 1980s. In Singapore,
Garden City is defined as a green, shady city filled with fruits and flowers, a city worthy of
industrious people whose quest for progress is matched by their appreciation for the beauty of
nature. Trees, flowers and birds within typical garden can soften the harshness of tarmac and

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A Scot who has been called the father of modern town planning, Geddes did much of his
pioneering work in the Old Town of Edinburgh, having made his married home there in 1886.
Geddes name and spirit are imperishably associated with Ramsay Garden and the Outlook
Tower, both in Castle hill.

Geddes was concerned with the relationship between people and cities and how they affect one
another. He emphasized that people do not merely needed shelter, but also food and work, the
recreation and social life. This makes the house an inseparable part of the neighbourhood, the
city and the surrounding open country and the region. The town planning primarily meant
establishing organic relationship among Folk place and work, which corresponds to triad
(Geddesian triad) of organism, function and environment.


i.e. organism i.e. function i.e. environment
(Social aspect) (Economical aspect) (Physical aspect)

Cities in Evolution published in 1915 essence of the book city beautiful movement
and too many small schemes here and there like garden cities were only poor examples of
town planning. In this book he coined the term Conurbation to describe the waves of
population inflow to large cities, followed by overcrowding and slum formation, and then the
wave of backflow the whole process resulting in amorphous sprawl, waste, and
unnecessary obsolescence.

True rural development, true urban planning, true city design have little in common and
repeating the same over all the three was disastrous and economically wasteful Each valid
scheme should and must embody the full utilization of its local and regional conditions
Geddes was the originator of the idea and technique of Regional survey and city survey.

The sequence of planning is to be:

o Regional survey
o Rural development
o Town planning
o City design These are to be kept constantly up to-date

In 1911 he created a milestone exhibition, Cities and Town Planning, which was studied
appreciatively not only throughout Britain but also abroad. From 1920-23 he was Professor
of Civics and Sociology at the University of Bombay and in 1924 he settled at Montpellier, in
France. He died there in 1932, having been knighted that year.

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The Outlook Tower Interpreters House - Index Museum - Sociological Laboratory

Patrick Geddes took over the building
formerly known as Shorts Observatory
in 1892.
From the Prospect Roof of the Outlook
Tower are spectacular views across the
Firth of Forth and the surrounding city
Positioned at the top of the Edinburghs
High Street, it still holds the camera
obscura, which refracts an image onto a
white table within, for study and survey.
A mirror at the top of the dome picks up
images and reflects then through a lens
which in turn focuses the picture onto a
white surface as on a film in a camera.
The tower was conceived as a tool for
regional analysis, index-museum and
the worlds first sociological
laboratory. It represents the essence of
Geddess thought - his holism, visual
thinking, and commitment to
understanding the city in the region.
He said of it: Our greatest need today is
to conceive life as a whole, to see its many sides in their proper relations, but we must
have a practical as well as a philosophic interest in such an integrated view of life.
Hence the first contribution of this Tower towards understanding life is purely visual, for
from here everyone can make a start towards seeing completely that portion of the
world he can survey. He can also grasp what a natural region actually is and how a
great city is linked to such a region.
Now the tower is home to the Patrick Geddes Centre for Planning Studies, where an
archive and exhibition are housed.


He came to India in 1915 at the invitation of Lord Pent land, the then Governor of Madras. He
gave his expert advice for the improvement of about eighteen major towns in India.
He laid emphasis on Survey before plan i.e. diagnosis before treatment to make a correct
diagnosis of various ills from which the town suffers and then prescribe the correct remedies for
its cure. These are the physical and social economic surveys.
He was the first man who introduced the sociological concept in the town planning. Before
coming to India, he had successfully overcome the horrors of Edinborough slums.

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The concept of neighbourhood unit was evolved due to the advent of industrial revolution and
degradation of the city environment caused due to high congestion, heavy traffic movement through
the city, insecurity to school going children, distant location of shopping and recreation activities; etc.
Hence to create a safely healthy physical environment in which children will have no traffic streets to
cross on their way to school, schools which are within walking distance from home; an environment
in which women may have an easy walk to a shopping centre where they may get the daily
households goods, employed people may find convenient transportation to and from work. It is an
environment in which a well equipped playground is located near the house where children may play
in safety with their friends for healthy development of their mind and spirit. With consideration to all
the above physical factor's the Neighborhood concept was evolved.


C.A. PERRY was the first one to specify the physical form of the neighbourhood unit (1872-1944).
C.A. Perry described the neighbourhood unit as that populated area which would require and
support an elementary school with an enrollment of between 1000 to 1200 pupils. This would mean
a population of between 5,000 and 6,000 people. The neighbourhood unit is bounded by arterial
roads or other boundaries, with open spaces, school, community centre and local shops, the latter
being on the circumference. Most importantly there was no through traffic within the Neighbourhood
unit. C.A. PERRY wrote that these principles, if complied with, "will result in a neighbourhood
community in which the fundamental needs of family life will be met more completely.

The Settlement House movement which began in London about 1885 was the first conscious
recognition of the Neighbourhood as a basic unit in the urban structure or planning. Population
criteria may vary from place to place but it depends mainly upon the size of the neighborhood unit.
In 1972, the American Institute of Architects adopted the neighborhood unit as the recommended
"GROWTH UNIT" for future urban growth. The growth unit would range in size from 500 to 3,000
dwelling units (population of between 1,700 and 10,000).



It is a unit of urban planning considering population as a criterion to decide the size of a
neighbourhood unit, in relation to convenient walking distance to most essential social services as
schools for children up to twelve years of age and local shopping centres.

Major arterial roads and through traffic route should not pass through residential neighbourhood.
Instead these streets should provide the boundaries of the neighbourhood. Interior street pattern
should be designed and constructed through use of cul-de-sacs, curved layout and light duty
surfacing, so as to encourage a quiet, safe, low volume traffic movement and preservation of the
residential atmosphere.

The minor streets or development roads, being the means of connecting the dwelling unit in a
housing group, cannot be properly defined until the actual building group is designed. They are the
integral parts of the design of the dwelling and should not be shown on the neighbourhood plan.

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Neighbourhood unit should consist of orderly arrangement of all those facilities which are to be
shared in common by the residents. The facilities primarily include primary school, shopping centre,
shopping adjacent to main road, spaces for outdoor recreation; community centre, sports centre etc.

The population of neighbourhood should be that which is optimal to support its elementary school.
When Perry formulated his theory the population was estimated about 5,000 persons for enrollment
of between 1000 to 1200 pupils. Current elementary school size standard probably would higher the
figure to 3000 to 4000 persons. In general, it may range from 3000 to 12000 people. For Chicago, in
1942 the range was from 4000 to 12,000. In the Greater London plan, 1944 by Abercrombie and
Forshaw, the unit size was 6000 to 10,000 people. The American Institute of Architects adopted
the unit range between 1700 to 10000 people.

Despite the variation the principle of the neighbourhood unit run's through all considerations for
social, physical and political organizations of the city. It represents a unit of the population with basic
common needs for educational, recreational and other services. It is the standard for their facilities
from which the size and design of the neighbourhood emerge.

Sector is a combination of two or more neighbourhood units. It is considered because the facilities
which are not covered in the neighbourhood unit should have to be covered in a sector, like
secondary school, entertainment centres, big markets, major parks and large site recreation spaces.
The size of the population equivalent to the number of neighbourhood units is equal to twelve
to fifteen thousand persons suitable for a sector.


The size of the unit decides upon the maximum walking distance from the extreme dwelling unit to
the elementary school and shopping centres. This walking distance considered by C.A. Perry is
mile. Hence the physical form of the neighbourhood unit considered by C.A. Perry is mile radius
which suggests that the maximum radius for walking distance from home to the community centre
should be mile. Density should be 10 families per acre.

It is stressed to have an independent system of footway complimenting the vehicular system. Such
a system will run through the inner heart of the neighbourhood, linking together school sites, play
areas and shopping centres. Neighbourhood walkway's emerged as a primary element of the plan.

These are necessary to protect the units from annoyance of the traffic and to provide suitable
facilities for developing parks, playgrounds and road widening in future.

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The figure shows grouping of three neighbourhood units is served by a high school and one or two
commercial centres. Walking distance radius is one mile. In the figure A, elementary school is the
centre of the unit and within a one half mile radius of all residents in the neighbourhood, local
shopping centres located near the school. Residential streets are suggested as CUL-DE-SACS to
eliminate through traffic and park space flows into the neighbourhood as applied in the Radburn

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The industrialization of the United States after World War I led to migration from the rural areas and
a dramatic growth of the cities during the 1920's. This population shift led to a severe housing
shortage. The automobile, which was becoming a mainstay in American life, added a new problem
to urban living. Drastic changes in urban design were necessary to provide more housing and to
protect people from the horseless carriage. In answer to the needs of "modern society", Radburn,
the "Town for the Motor Age" was created in 1929.

How Radburn was going to meet the problems of "modern society" is best illustrated in architect
Henry Wright's "Six Planks for a Housing Platform". These ideas formed the basic philosophy that
he followed in designing Radburn. His planks were:

Plan simply, but comprehensively. Don't stop at the individual property line. Adjust paving,
sidewalks, sewers and the like to the particular needs of the property dealt with - not to a
conventional pattern. Arrange buildings and grounds so as to give sunlight, air and a
tolerable outlook to even the smallest and cheapest house.
Provide ample sites in the right places for community use: i.e., playgrounds, school
gardens, schools, theatres, churches, public buildings and stores.
Put factories and other industrial buildings where they can be used without wasteful
transportation of goods or people.
Cars must be parked and stored, deliveries made, waste collected - plan for such services
with a minimum of danger, noise and confusion.
Bring private and public land into relationship and plan buildings and groups of buildings
with relation to each other. Develop collectively such services as will add to the comfort of
the individual, at lower cost than is possible under individual operation.
Arrange for the occupancy of houses on a fair basis of cost and service, including the cost
of what needs to be done in organizing, building and maintaining the community.

The main thrust in the planning of Radburn can be summarized by the quote from architect Clarence
Stein, who said, We did our best to follow Aristotle's recommendation that a city should be built to
give its inhabitants security and happiness".

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The primary innovation of Radburn was the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. This was
accomplished by doing away with the traditional grid-iron street pattern and replacing it with an
innovation called the superblock. The superblock is a large block of land surrounded by main roads.
The houses are grouped around small cul-de-sacs, each of which has an access road coming from
the main roads. The remaining land inside the superblock is park area, the backbone of the
neighborhood. The living and sleeping sections of the houses face toward the garden and park
areas, while the service rooms face the access road.

The walks that surround the cul-de-sacs on the garden side of the houses divide the cu-de-sacs
from each other and from the central park area. These paths cross the park when necessary.
Finally, to further maintain the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, a pedestrian underpass
and an overpass, linking the superblocks, were provided. The system was so devised that a
pedestrian could start at any given point and proceeds on foot to school, stores or church without
crossing a street used by automobiles.

Another innovation of Radburn was that the parks were secured without additional cost to the
residents. The savings in expenditures for roads and public utilities at Radburn, as contrasted with
the normal subdivision, paid for the parks. The Radburn type of plan requires less area of street to
secure the same amount of frontage. In addition, for direct access to most houses, it used narrower
roads of less expensive construction, as well as smaller utility lines. In fact, the area in streets and
length of utilities is 25% less than in the typical American street. The savings in cost not only paid for
12 - 14% of the total area that went into internal parks, but also covered the cost of grading and
landscaping the play spaces and green links connecting the central block commons.

The genius of the Radburn Plan is shown in the use of the small property lots and cul-de-sac
construction to finance part of the land, as well as the grading and the landscaping which is the most
costly part of park building. The cost of living in such a community was therefore set at a minimum
for the homeowner, and the cost to the builder was small enough to make the venture profitable.

Radburn had been conceived by Stein and Wright to house 25,000 people. The boundaries of this
community were to be the Saddle River on the east (Radburn means Saddle River in Old English),
the Erie Railroad on the west, and the Glen Rock border on the north, and Saddle Brook Township
on the south. The Old Mill, now part of the Bergen County Park System, was to be the entrance of
this new city. The Depression pushed the builder, City Housing Corporation, into bankruptcy. For
this reason, Radburn could not expand beyond its present size of 149 acres which includes 430
single family homes, 90 row houses, 54 semi-attached houses and a 93 apartment unit, as well as a
shopping center, parks and amenities.

Although the physical plan of Radburn has been an inspiration to planners and architects here in the
United States and abroad for almost 60 years, equally important in the development of Radburn is
The Radburn Association. The Association is a non-profit corporation charged with fixing, collecting
and disbursing charges; maintaining services, parks and facilities; and interpreting and applying the
Declaration of Restrictions, which restrictive covenants are running with the land. Each property
within the Association boundaries is governed by these Restrictions.

The Association manages a park network of 23 acres, two swimming pools, four tennis courts, four
baseball fields, three playground areas, five outdoor basketball courts, an archery plaza, two
summer houses, and a community center called the Grange, which includes offices, a library,
clubroom, kitchen, maintenance shop and garage, a recreation room and a gymnasium equipped
with a stage. On this stage, the Radburn Players, the oldest active amateur theatre group in the

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state, produce several shows each year. The physical properties allow the Association to provide a
comprehensive recreation program for its residents all year long. The affairs of the Association are
handled much like the council-manager form of government.

In the field of planning and architecture, Radburn has been called by Anthony Bailey, "the most
significant notion in 20th Century urban development". Lewis Mumford considered it "the first major
advance in city planning since Venice". Radburn is unique because it was envisioned as a town for
better living, and it was the first example of city planning which recognized the importance of the
automobile in modern life without permitting it to dominate the environment. It was the first time in
the United States that a housing development was attempted on such a large scale, proceeding
from a definite architectural plan resulting in a complete town. Radburn is also important to builders
because of the unique way that the parks and grading were funded.

From a sociological point of view, Radburn not only exemplifies an ideally planned place to live, but
it establishes a real mode or plan of living. The planned use of the land and the establishment of the
Association create a lifestyle that is unheard of in most of modern society. It is a lifestyle of
community concern, action and participation. James Dahir saw in Radburn a new hope for a
humanistic society through planning which took into account the social, as well as the physical
needs of the residents.

He writes that Radburn is: "social planning of an advanced order. It is manipulation of physical
elements to induce and encourage a social and human goal. It is a kind of planning which
recognizes that the growing edge of civilization is in the human and not the mechanical direction,
though the mechanical factors must be carefully aligned and allocated to support and advance the
communal achievements and the social inventions of a free people of autonomous family life."

As the country struggled out of the Depression, the influence of the Radburn Idea was first reflected
in the various Greenbelt communities of the Resettlement Administration and later, in Baldwin Hills,
Los Angeles and Kitimat. B. C. The Idea then showed up in England and later in Sweden at
Vallingly, the huge Stockholm suburb; at the Baronbackavna Estate, Orebro and at the
Beskopsgaden Estate, Goteborg. It was in post World War II England that Radburn achieved
generic status. The "Radburn Plan", the "Radburn Idea", the "Radburn Layout" appeared first at
Coventry and later at Stevenage, Bracknell and Cumbernauld. It has since spread to Chandigarh,
India; to Brazil; to several towns in Russia and to a section of Osaka, Japan. The Japanese
community is almost an exact duplicate of Radburn. The "Idea" finally returned to the United States
at Reston, Virginia and Columbia, Maryland. Several towns since have been modeled after the
"Radburn Plan". Brasilia and the capital of New Zealand are current projects which are consciously
implementing Radburn-based concepts.

The importance of Radburn is clearly seen in its influence on the planning of many towns throughout
the world. Its sociological impact through its planning has made the style of life noteworthy and right
for modern living. Hundreds come each year from all around the world to see and study the Radburn
Idea. New towns are being built each year modeled after the Radburn Idea, using both its planning
ideas and covenants in designing their urban development. Radburn, planned as a "Town for the
Motor Age" is truly a "Town for Tomorrow"

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To understand Chicago of the early 1900s, consider this observation from Truesdale Marshall, the
protagonist of Henry Blake Fuller's novel, "With the Procession:" "[Chicago is a] hideous monster
so pitifully grotesque, gruesome, appalling." Many people, foreigners and Americans alike, felt the
same way about most cities in America. By 1910, many cities contained one million residents, but
few planned properly for such a population explosion. As a result, cities developed in an ad hoc
fashion. This made them shapeless, inefficient and, in many cases, dangerous.
Daniel Hudson Burnham, a Chicago architect, began to address these issues in an approach to
urban planning that would become known as the City Beautiful movement. City Beautiful was
characterized by the belief that if you improved form, function would follow. In other words, an
attractive city would perform better than an unattractive one. Beauty came from what Burnham
called "municipal art" -- magnificent parks, highly designed buildings, wide boulevards, and public
gathering places adorned with fountains and monuments. Such beautiful additions to the cityscape
could not directly address perceived social ills, but they could, at least in Burnham's thinking,
indirectly improve social problems by enhancing the urban environment.
Burnham first displayed the City Beautiful principles at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in
Chicago. His dream city, known as White City, featured large-scale monuments, electric lights and
state-of-the-art transport systems. It also removed all visible signs of poverty so that the roughly 27
million visitors who streamed through the exhibition witnessed a true urban utopia.

Stock Montage/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Administration Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where
Daniel Hudson Burnham's City Beautiful movement made its debut.

Burnham then applied City Beautiful ideas to several city designs between 1902 and 1905. He
directed plans for Washington, D.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Manila; and San Francisco, Calif., but the
culmination of the movement came in 1906 when Burnham teamed up with Edward Bennett to
prepare the Plan of Chicago, the first comprehensive plan for controlled growth of an American city.
The Plan encompassed the development of Chicago within a 60-mile radius and called for a double-
decker boulevard to better accommodate commercial and regular traffic, straightening of the
Chicago River, consolidation of competing rail lines and an integrated park system that
encompassed a 20-mile park area along Lake Michigan. Some of these features, such as the twin-
level roadway, were firsts in any city, anywhere in the world.
Although the City Beautiful movement was revolutionary in America, it drew upon urban planning
ideas used for many years in Europe. In particular, Burnham used Paris as a successful model of

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urban planning. Planning of Paris began in earnest in the 1600s during the reign of Louis XIV when
architects used great foresight to build squares, parks and avenues in areas that were barely
settled. As Paris increased its population, it was able to grow into its design. Then, in another era of
notable development beginning in the 1850s, Georges Eugne Haussmann, appointed by Napoleon
Bonaparte, began reworking the city, making it more suitable and attractive for the vast numbers of
visitors, merchants, manufacturers and residents who filled the city.
Burnham also recognized the contribution of the ancient planners responsible for Athens and Rome,
as well as the planning tradition that went back for centuries. In the next section, we'll look at how
this tradition manifests itself today in the hands of modern planners.

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The idea of Broad acre City, or as Wright often referred to it Broad acres, was developed at
the pinnacle of Wrights professional career and late in his life.

Wrights discontent with the city arose in the years of the Great Depression which occurred
some years after the Great War (1914-1918) as a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. He
viewed the centralization of cities as overbuilt.
He mocked the idea that a man in his right mind would leave the opportunities granted in the
countryside to live in the confines of the overcrowded city. As one author is quick to point out,
Wright is the product of an agrarian society, his interest in architecture possibly fuelled by an
early interest in geometry.
He felt city as it was, centralized, was demoralizing the individual by the pressure created from
the concept of rent rent for land, rent for money and traffic in invention. He further surmises
that the Great Depression is a direct result of the government and private enterprises controlling
profits and giving the wageslave a false sense of prosperity, thus inverting disrupting the
equilibrium of a capitalism base apex at the ground and base in the air.

It would fall for the same reason that masonry or monarchy falls, as all despotism
surely falls: the law of gravitation and the law of diminishing returns (a law of nature).

In it, the individual is forced to conform to the speed and the business of the city, keeping up
appearances eventually leading to the deterioration of his individuality:

He, the wage-slave in some form, puts his own life into bondage, or is busy
managing to get the lives of others there just in order to keep up the superficial
privileges to which he has consciously, fatuously, subscribed and which are often
described to him as great, beneficent free enterprise.

He believed that a mans true success lay in a greater freedom of movement which he
suggested would be possible with the improvements in technology which brought about the
automobile, electrification and improvements in communication. True democracy would be
achieved by reclaiming ones individuality and engaging in natural architecture rather than
communal living of the cities.

His aim was to develop a truly American, and or as he later renamed Usonian, way of life
which was not an imitation of European counterparts to foster creation. He was not entirely
against the facets of the existing city, such as the skyscraper, but shunned the notion of large
masses of them interspersed by the concrete jungle. Rather, he anticipated fewer of such
structures within an open, beautifully landscaped terrain. There was a time when centralization
was necessary, but with electrification, mechanical mobilization, and organic architecture there
is no longer any difference between a few blocks and a few miles.

Broad acres was to accommodate at least one acre per individual (adult or child) since at that
time there was fifty-seven green acres available per person in the United States. This would
eventually lead to a density of about 500 persons per square mile, which Zygas notes as
scandalously low. In this landscape, each entity was enveloped in some kind of green space.
Entities included factories, skyscrapers, schools, places of worship and places of recreation.

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The area was fed by super-highways (at least 6 lanes) which feeds into progressively smaller
roadways, the size of which was determined by the use of the associated entities (that is, main
roads had at least 4 lanes and residential streets were the most narrow often ending in cul-de-
sacs). Railways and truck right-of-ways were to remain separate and out of sight from main

Wright also despised the citys wires on poles and proposed the placing of utility lines
underground. Other aesthetic contributions included no open drainage along roadways, large-
scale landscaping over the entire site (including broad views of native vegetation), and all
terminal buildings and warehouses were restricted to ports of entry or under tracks (this is the
only area for which concentration is permitted). Other elements include fueling and service
stations, and county seats would be located at various important intersections; underground
refuges (for times of war) would be kept as storage units during times of peace along or under
railways; highways would be built with the terrain at safe grades; road construction would be
done by the regional governing agency but supervised by architects, landscape architects and
structural engineers; and minor flight stations would be installed for the safe landing, takeoff and
storage of private flight vehicles.

With the various elements working together, Wright supposed that employment was no longer
done on a need-to-pay-rent basis. The individual will now work based on what he wanted to do
or liked to do because he was no longer absolutely dependent on the operations of others for
his success. This is what he determined to be true democracy and true individualism. This is
further encouraged by the fact that professional offices (clinics, small shops, studios, art
galleries, etc.) were expected to be located in close relation to home or be minor features of the
landscape, but professionalism would be diminished. Financial services, public services and
other commercial enterprises would operate close to county seats (close to important
intersections) or public functions (such as police or fire stations).

The 1934 Broad acre City Model

In his 1934 model, Wright became more specific in his designation of the various elements. In a
model representing four square miles, he proposed a main arterial adjoined to rectangular field
used for agricultural purposes (vineyards and orchards). There was a meandering stream in the
southern portion. Zoning was done by activity and function, and single-family home was the
predominant building type. Large thoroughfares were intersected by large street at half-mile

Architecturally, buildings would be designed by organic architecture, to reflect the individuality

of the population, one of the objectives Wright hoped to achieve. This would eliminate the
imitations which he felt were reflected in the World Expositions in Chicago (1893) and New York
(1939-40). He further advocated the use of more modern material such as glass and steel which
keeps the elements (of weather) out, but allows the outdoors in, putting man less separate from
nature and eliminating what he likens to a fortification. Additionally, each of buildings regardless
of function was not to be monstrosities, but rather groups of smaller units in a beautifully
landscaped setting. He advocated the concept of mobile hotels and houseboats which promoted
the freedom of movement aforementioned the freedom to stay or the freedom to go.

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The idea of Broad acres was to let go of traditional form of the city as a whole, and of
individual pieces such as the hospital (sunlit clinics), the church, the universities (institutions
for creative expression and deep thought the settings for becoming more universal), public
schools (no longer to resemble factories, but set in the choicest part of the whole
countryside as a conglomeration of smaller schools hosting 25 students each with common
outdoor/activity areas, flower beds and gardens giving the student the opportunity to work
with the ground).

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The Mile High Illinois, Illinois Sky-City, or simply The Illinois was a proposed mile-high (1,609
meters/5,280 feet) skyscraper, envisioned by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956. The design, intended to
be built in Chicago, would have included 528 stories, with a gross area of 18.46 million square feet
(1.71 million square meters/171 hectares). Had it been built, it would be the tallest building in the

This is arguably the most famous of the semi-serious visionary buildings meant to be an alternative
to the increasing urban sprawl occurring in most cities. None of these have ever been viewed as
financially feasible. The design of the Burj Khalifa tower is said to have been inspired by that of The

In keeping with his belief that architecture ought to be organic, Wright likened this system to a tree
trunk with branches. He planned to use gold-tinted metal on the facade to highlight angular surfaces
along balconies and parapets and specified Plexiglas for window glazing.

Technical feasibility
Wright believed that it would have been technically possible to construct such a building even at the
time it was proposed. At the time, the tallest skyscraper in the world was New York's Empire State
Building, at less than a quarter the height suggested for the Illinois. It probably would have been
possible to erect a self-supporting steel structure of the required height, but there are a number of
problems which occur when a building is that tall.

The material used for towers at the time, steel, is quite flexible. This causes the tower to sway
substantially in the wind, causing discomfort for occupants of the higher floors. Though Wright
acknowledged this problem in his original proposal, he claimed the tripod design of this tower
(similar to that of the CN Tower, which was not designed until a decade after Wright's death)
combined with its tensioned steel frame and the integral character of its structural components
would counteract any oscillation. It is also possible this could have been solved by placing a
counterweight somewhere within the tower as was done in the Citigroup Center. Also, the late
1990s and early 2000s have seen substantial increases in the load-bearing strength of concrete,
making it a possibility to build entirely in this less flexible material.

The space needed to service the elevators (needed to reach the higher levels) would occupy all of
the space available on the upper floors, thus defeating the purpose of the building's height. This was
complicated by Wright's slender design. This problem has also been addressed in smaller buildings,
such as in the Taipei 101, by using double-deck elevators. In the World Trade Center, the building
was divided into three sectors, each with its own sky-lobby, where occupants changed between
large express elevators and smaller local elevators. However, even with both of these measures
implemented, the problem would still exist. Wright's solution was five-story elevators, running on
ratchet interfaces located on the outside of the building (presumably on the unseen side in his
painting) to conserve building space.

Another concern is fire safety. The need for emergency stairwells would bind much of the available
space in the upper floors in a similar fashion. This could be overcome by designing elevators to
remain operational during a fire.

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Albeit at a smaller scale, the same problem as with the elevators is encountered with water and
sewage. A possible solution would be to recycle the water used in the upper floors; this is easier
today than it would have been in the 1950s.

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A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to miniature
metropolitan areas on the fringe of larger ones.


Satellite cities are small or medium-sized cities near a large metropolis, that:

Predate that metropolis' suburban expansion;

Are at least partially independent from that metropolis economically and socially;
Are physically separated from the metropolis by rural territory; satellite cities should have
their own independent urbanized area, or equivalent;
Have their own bedroom communities;
Have a traditional downtown surrounded by traditional "inner city" neighborhoods;
May or may not be counted as part of the large metropolis' Combined Statistical Area

Vision 2020 -- Why satellite towns remain distant dreams by P.V. Indiresan
Published in Business line - Monday, Jan 14, 2002

LAST WEEK, when I gave a talk at IIM Calcutta, local journalists asked me what my solution was to
the problems of Kolkata. High cost of real-estate is the main problem of Kolkata (and all other cities
in the country). The problem is man-made. As many cities round the world have demonstrated, a
cure is not impossible.

It is strange but true: World over, land prices are low wherever habitat quality is high; land prices
skyrocket only when the environment becomes bad! This phenomenon is the result of overcrowding
that feeds on itself to overcrowd even more.

Urban congestion may be tackled in three ways: The most popular one is to go vertical. That
generally makes matters worse because it increases congestion, escalates land prices and hurts the
poor more and more. This option is for shortsighted megalomaniacs.

Expanding horizontally is another option. That increases commuting distances, worsens the
congestion at the centre, and is no better than vertical expansion from the social point of view:
children and parents get separated for long hours. This option is for lazy administrators who prefer
to let matters drift.

The third (and so far the least successful) solution is the satellite town. Kalyani near Kolkata and
Maraimalainagar near Chennai are standing examples of their limited appeal. Yet, in the final
analysis, the satellite town is the best option. It leads to lowest land prices, and hence offers the
poor the best chance for proper housing. In every way financial, ecological, ethical, and social
satellite towns are the best cure for Kolkata and other cities but it is difficult to get them going.

For instance, people prefer to live in Delhi and to commute everyday to work in the neighbouring
industrial town of Faridabad. This practice sharply contrasts with the US experience where the
fashion is to work in the city but live in far away rural counties. In India, the old city is the dormitory,
the satellite town the work place. In the US, it is the other way round. That happens because
American satellite towns offer high quality services of the type that may be described as tele-

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ineffective the kind of services that have to be close to the home and are of no use if they are far
away. Indian satellite towns are poorly designed in this respect.

Tele-ineffective services are mainly three schools, general hospitals and retail stores. People do
not expect colleges to be nearby, but kindergarten and elementary schools have to be close at
hand. They would be willing to go even a thousand miles for open-heart surgery, but maternity
hospitals must be accessible at short notice. The same is true for retail shopping too. In all three
cases, satellite towns of the US offer first-rate facilities.

In India, the situation is quite the opposite. It is the city that offers the best schools, medical facilities
and shopping, not satellite towns. Maraimalainagar lay dormant for decades because it offered no
schools or hospitals of repute. Kalyani started with a university but no schools worthy of note. That
is why Kalyani too did not succeed. Basically, satellite towns will take off when two conditions are
satisfied: One, when they offer superior quality schools, hospitals and departmental stores. Two, the
cost of commuting to the city is low to access tele- effective services such as universities and
airports that only the parent city can offer. These are not onerous conditions but require ingenuity
and a new paradigm in habitat management. Therefore, this option is only for the competent and for
those with the courage to experiment with new ideas. By world standards, prestigious satellite towns
such as Salt Lake City, near Kolkata, and Gurgaon, near Delhi, are over-crowded. So, they do not
relieve the parent city as well as they should. Suppose we limit the population density of our satellite
towns to that of New York. As New York is one of the most crowded cities of the West that is a
modest target indeed. In that case, our satellite town should offer, on an average, a minimum of 200
square metre of residential space per dwelling plus another 200 square metres for non-residential
uses. That is ten times more than what Kolkata offers. With 200 square metres as the average, even
the poor can hope to have 70-100 square metres enough to live with dignity. Our satellite towns
should offer that much space as the barest minimum for civilised urban development. They do not.
They do not do so because of a false notion that cities must be congested. In truth, allocation of
urban space on the lines of New York will need only one per cent of the country's land area to
accommodate the entire urban population of India. So, the problem is not physical but political and
cultural. Overcoming the inhibition against allocating adequate space, and designing habitats with a
minimum average of 200 square metres of residential space, plus an equal area per dwelling for
non- residential use, is Step One in the development and promotion of satellite towns. Only then, will
satellite towns be better than cities like Kolkata.

The space should be evenly distributed. New York has hotspots of high congestion As a thumb rule,
in every locality, minimum allocation per dwelling should be: 80 square metres of roads, 20 square
metres of commercial space, another 20 square metres of parking space in commercial centres, 40
square metres of gardens and parks, 10 square metres for schools and hospitals with another 40
square metres for industries, etc. Uniform distribution of space on these lines is Step Two in satellite
town development.

If land allocation is ten times that in Kolkata, to limit costs, land price should be at least ten times
less that in Kolkata. That will be possible if the satellite town is located far enough from the city,
preferably on marginal land. Choosing such a location is Step Three.

These three steps require high administrative competence to implement. The urban problem is not
merely administrative; it is cultural and political too. As a political ploy, State governments in India
offer a tax holiday to attract entrepreneurs. That is of limited use. To make satellite towns truly
attractive, there must be a holiday for over-restrictive labour laws, the Rent Control Act and

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extortionate stamp duty too. That requires political courage. Fortunately, not much of that may be
needed if these holidays are restricted to satellite towns. These holidays are Step Four.

State governments can help much more. They should take active steps to promote high quality
schools, hospitals, and shopping malls in satellite towns. For instance, they may minimise entry
costs for investors by leasing land rather than selling it outright. In a matching fashion, the
government may acquire land from farmers for the satellite town not by outright purchase but on an
annual lease.

I have found that farmers are happy to accept an annual fee equal to twice the prevailing price of
what they grow at present. It would be an added bonus if they are offered also, say, ten square
metres of shopping space in the new town for each acre of farmland they surrender. That way they
will have guaranteed, inflation protected income some three-four times their present net earnings.
Leasing of land from farmers for a fee that is indexed to grain prices instead of buying their land
outright and sub-leasing the same to investors is Step Five.

All these are pull factors. To complete the mechanism, we need some push factors too. I suggest
two: One, let it be made the statutory duty of every employer to offer a minimum 100 square metres
of living space to every employee (half the average dwelling space proposed above). Those
employers who fail to do so may be asked to make a refundable deposit equal to the cost of that
much space in the vicinity of their business. As a concession to small firms, only those with large
number of employees may be so charged.

Typically, that will be Rs 10-20 lakh per employee sufficient to move employers away unless they
have no alternative. When they do move, they get back their deposit, and meanwhile the State
government enjoys the credit. Instituting a compelling force of this nature is Step Six.

As a second push-force, employers in the city may be asked to reimburse in full the commuting
costs of their employees from their homes to the work place. That will make commuting from
satellite towns as affordable as it is in the US. To make investment in satellite towns attractive, they
may be given a holiday from this impost too. Enforcing such a selective impost is Step Seven. This
composite process for reversing rural-urban migration by making satellite towns attractive is my
solution for cities like Kolkata.

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Ribbon development means building houses along the routes of communications radiating from a
human settlement. Such development generated great concern in the UK during the 1920s and 30s,
as well as in numerous other countries.

Increasing motor car ownership meant that houses would be sellable even though they might be
remote from shops and other services. It was attractive to developers because they did not have to
waste money or plot space constructing roads.

The practice became seen as antithetical to efficient use of resources and as a precursor to urban
sprawl, meaning that a key aim for the United Kingdom's post-War planning system was to halt
ribbon development. It led to the introduction of green belt policies.

Following the Industrial revolution, ribbon development became prevalent along railway lines -
predominantly in the UK, Russia, and United States. A good example of this was the deliberate
promotion of Metro land along London's Metropolitan railway. Similar evidence can be found from
Long Island (where Frederick W Dunton bought much real estate to encourage New Yorkers to
settle along the Long Island Railroad lines), Boston and across the American mid-west.

Such expansion of human settlement is now seen as positively helpful in the fight against
environmental destruction caused by building along roads.

It can also occur along ridge lines, canals and coastlines, the latter especially occurring as people
seeking sea change lifestyles build their houses where they can get the best view.

The resulting towns and cities are often difficult to service efficiently. Often the first problems noticed
by residents is traffic congestion as people compete to move along the narrow urban corridor while
ever more people join the ribbon further along the corridor. Urban consolidation is often a solution to
encourage growth towards a more compact urban form.

Ribbon development can also be compared with a linear village which is a village that grew along a
transportation route, not as part of a city's expansion.

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The attempt to arrive at a proper conception and implementation of the facts, concepts and ideas
related to human settlements, and the attempt to re-examine all principles and theories and to
readjust the disciplines and professions connected with settlements, led to the need for a special
discipline of human settlements, the discipline of Ekistics. Ekistics is the study of human settlement,
which examines not only built forms, but also the interface of time, movements and systems in the
built environment. It is an integrative body of knowledge organized into a cohesive system. Doxiadis
saw ekistics as an intellectual approach to balance the convergence of the past, present, and future
in human settlements as well as a system for creatively coping with the growth of population, rapid
change and the pressures of large-scale, high-density housing.

Doxiadis said It is only the beginning since the problems we are facing are not only multiple, but
also acutely urgent, characteristic of the critical situation which human settlements have now
entered. If we wait for the proper development of a science of human settlements, we may find
ourselves overwhelmed by the rising tide of the problems. We may even lose the battle for such a
science since humanity may find no use of systematic theoretical thinking in a period of panic

Since one of the major problems faced was the merging of settlements into much larger and
complicated organisms, Doxiadis at the Athens center of Ekistics was working on an attempt to
foresee where human settlements are going in the future. It seems that they will merge into ever-
larger groupings, which will become a continuous universal settlement, the universal city or

Ekistic units
The recognition that the wide range of human settlements can contain units as small as a room or
as large as major parts of the Earth forces us to look into the problem of dimensions. Since
settlements consist of several elements, we can define their dimensions by defining the dimensions
of their elements. If we consider the two elements, Man and Society, we can define the size of the
settlement by the number of people living in it. Thus, we may have settlements ranging from the
one-man settlement, which may be either part of a major settlement or an isolated one (for example,
a light-house with one operator or a remote railway station with one employee) to settlements of
tens, hundreds, thousands, millions and, lately, even tens of millions of people.

If we turn to the element of Nature, we can define the size of the settlement by the extent of the
space, which is covered, either by the whole settlement, or by the intensely developed part of it, or
by its built-up part only. This distinction may also serve in the case of networks. Finally, if we turn to
the element of the shells we can study physical dimensions, which can be expressed either in areas
or in volume. So, in the case of all the elements, we have touched upon the space covered by

If we now turn to the activity and the functions of a settlement we can also define it by way of its
dimensions. For example, a settlement can show a small or large degree of economic activity it
can be the center of a certain degree of productive activity, or an administrative center of a certain
degree of administrative importance, etc.

In this study we are dealing with terrestrial space in connection with human settlements, although
we may soon have to deal with extra-terrestrial space as well. The terrestrial space use by man is
three-dimensional space in which height and depth add the third dimension, not as an auxiliary, but
as an indispensable component of the space. If however we limited the dimensions of human

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settlements to three, we would be making a great mistake, for their space is not simply three-
dimensional. Since human settlements cannot be said to exist without their functions and without
people, they cannot be separated from the fourth dimension, that of time. Deprived of this, they lack
the dynamic element of motion and evolution. In the absence of time, we are incapable of
understanding the nature of human settlements. It is easy to explain why this fourth dimension is
indispensable to the study of human settlements. When we spoke of mans functions as an essential
aspect of human settlements, recognizing that they are the aspect relating man (the content) to the
shells (the container), we necessarily introduced the concept of time, for man needs time in order to
live, and his functions require time in order to take place. Therefore, human settlements consist of
and require four dimensions to be properly understood.

Doxiadis said When we try to classify the settlements according to their dimensions, we will soon
realise that they do not belong to easily definable categories of sizes but spread over the whole
spectrum of possible sizes. Any such division will, therefore, have to be somewhat arbitrary, but it
must also be an inherently satisfying and reasonable one.

Such a division has been worked out on the basis of empirical experience and is presented in a
logarithmic scale. The smallest unit of measurement is Man. He does not form a settlement in
himself since he is one of its elements, but he does have a shell (his clothing is the smallest
possible human shell and personal furniture plays the same role) and he is the Basic and
indispensable unit of measurement. The second smallest unit is a normal room. From this we go to
a dwelling, a group of several dwellings, a small neighbourhood, a neighbourhood, a small town, a
town, a city, a metropolis, a conurbation, a megalopolis, an urban region, an urbanized continent,
until, finally, we reach the largest conceivable space for a settlement, which is the whole Earth.

This Ekistics Logarithmic Scale (ELS) can be presented graphically in several ways. One way is on
the basis of the areas covered by the different units (area ELS), another way is on the basis of the
number of people corresponding to each unit (population ELS).

The ELS consist of 15 Ekistics units ranging from Man to Ecumenopolis and these units in turn
belong to four basic groups
Minor shells, or elementary units (man, room, house)
Micro-settlements, the units smaller than, or as small as, the traditional town where
people used to and still do achieve interconnection by walking
Meso-settlements, between the traditional town and the conurbation within which one
can commute daily
Macro-settlements, whose largest possible expression is the Ecumenopolis,

Ekistic elements
Man is visual animal and is apt to give greater consideration to what he can see clearly. This is one
of the reasons why although many people understand that settlements consist of five elements, they
are eager to speak only about what can be clearly seen - the physical aspects of the settlements.
There can be no question of the importance of nature and the shells, nor of the need to handle
many phenomena of the human settlements by designing their physical elements. However, this is
no reason to confine our interest and attention to the shells. We must keep I mind that the shells are
only the outward manifestation of the other elements of the settlement. Once Rodin was asked how
he managed to handle the surface of his statues so well and he answered, the surface? I do not
know; I always work inside the marble. This is how we must look at the form, shape and
appearance of human settlements. We must recognize the shells as the membrane that covers the
real life of the settlement, the life of the people, their society and their functions. We must

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understand that we have to deal with phenomena consisting of five elements, although we can see
only one of them.

Each of these elements can be subdivided once more

a) Nature
1. Geological resources
2. Topographical resources
3. Soil resources
4. Water resources
5. Plant life
6. Animal life
7. Climate

b) Man
1. Biological needs (space, air, temperature, etc.,)
2. Sensation and perception (the five senses')
3. Emotional needs (human relations, security, beauty, etc.)
4. Moral values

c) Society
1. Population composition and density
2. Social stratification
3. Cultural patterns
4. Economic development
5. Education
6. Health and welfare
7. Law and administration

d) Shells
1. Housing
2. Community services (schools, hospitals, etc.)
3. Shopping centers and markets
4. Recreational facilities (theatre, museum, stadium, etc.)
5. Civic and business centers (town hall, law-courts, etc.)
6. Industry
7. Transportation centers

e) Networks
1. Water supply systems
2. Power supply systems
3. Transportation systems (water, road, rail, air)
4. Communication systems (telephone, radio, TV etc.)
5. Sewerage and drainage
6. Physical layout (Ekistic plan)

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Chapter 1 P a g e | 37

Nature and goals of Settlements

Human settlements consist of five basic elements, Nature, man, society, shells and networks, which
together form a system. Their goal is to make man happy and safe.

If these statements are true, and my whole effort has been based on this assumption, how can we
connect them in a reasonable way? If human happiness and safety is our only goal, have the other
elements no value at all? Hardly. Even though it is man who is our ultimate goal, since he needs
both nature and society in order to survive, these two elements necessarily constitute secondary
concerns; we must care for their preservation and safety. And since man and society created for
themselves the need for shells and networks, these should constitute our tertiary goals; we must
care for their development, maintenance and operation.

In this way our pentagon of five elements can turn into a pentagon of Ekistic goals where every
element corresponds with a goal of a certain order.


Nature Society

Network Shells Tertiary

Since our primary goal is man himself, we have to face the question of how to translate into practice
the fact that even though man is singular, he is plural as well; our concern is for the individual, for
the one man, but we have many of these men. The answer is that man as an individual is our main
goal and concern. In practice this means that we must do the maximum we can for the individual.
Where he is alone, this effort will not meet with any competition. Where there are many we must
once again do the maximum we can for the benefit of every single man. In this way the primary goal
of a settlement is to maximize the services to man whether alone or in a group.

The goal of a settlement is to maximize the satisfaction and safety of all its citizens by defining the
best that can be conceived, and by coming as close to it as is feasible.

Notes on Town planning and Human settlements Compiled by CT.LAKSHMANAN b.arch., m.c.p.