Town Planning in Practice: An Introduction to the Art of Designing Cities and Suburbs

T. F. Unwin
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Publisher
T. F. Unwin
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Published on
Dec 31, 1909
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Pages
416
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Language
English
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Raymond Unwin
In his 1912 pamphlet for the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association   Nothing Gained by Overcrowding, Raymond Unwin set out in detail the lessons learnt from his formidable practical experience in the design and layout of housing: at New Earswick from 1902, Letchworth Garden City from 1905, and most significantly at Hampstead Garden Suburb, where the ‘artisans’ quarter’ 1907-9 was probably his masterwork of spatial design. His interest in minimising the length of paved road to number of houses served, and ‘greening’ the ubiquitous mechanistic bye-law suburb of the late 19th century provided motivation for defining a general theory of design, which under pinned Garden City principles. Nothing Gained by Overcrowding emerged as a principle which was to have a revolutionary impact on housing and urban form over the next 50 years.

Unwin's theory had developed with his work, but the origins can be found in two earlier and less well known publications. On the building of houses in the Garden City’ was written for the first international conference of the Garden City Association, held in September 1901. The following year he published the Fabian Society Tract Cottage Plans and Common Sense, in which he took first principles, ‘shelter, comfort, privacy’, and drew out general criteria and specific standards. Housing had to be freed from the bye-law strait jacket. This would sweep away ‘back yards, back alleys and abominations ... too long screened by that wretched prefix back’.

Republished here for the first time together, with an introductory essay by Dr Mervyn Miller, these three papers make clear the development of Raymond Unwin's theories of planning and housing, theories which were among the most influential of the 20th Century.

Lewis Mumford
A visionary survey of urbanism from the Middle Ages to the late 1930s, with a new introduction by Thomas Fisher

Considered among the greatest works of Lewis Mumford—a prolific historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and longtime architecture critic for the New Yorker—The Culture of Cities is a call for communal action to “rebuild the urban world on a sounder human foundation.” First published in 1938, this radical investigation into the human environment is based on firsthand surveys of North American and European locales, as well as extensive historical and technological research. Mumford takes readers from the compact, worker-friendly streets of medieval hamlets to the symmetrical neoclassical avenues of Renaissance cities. He studies the squalor of nineteenth-century factory towns and speculates on the fate of the booming twentieth-century Megalopolis—whose impossible scale, Mumford believes, can only lead to its collapse into a “Nekropolis,” a monstrosity of living death.
 
A civic visionary, Mumford is credited with some of the earliest proposals for ecological urban planning and the appropriate use of technology to create balanced living environments. In the final chapters of The Culture of Cities, he outlines possible paths toward utopian future cities that could be free of the stressors of the Megalopolis, in sync with the rhythms of daily life, powered by clean energy, integrated with agricultural regions, and full of honest and comfortable housing for the working class. The principles set forth by these visions, once applied to Nazi-occupied Europe’s razed cities, are still relevant today as technological advances and overpopulation change the nature of urban life.
 
 
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