Professional opinion on Planning
Excerpts from learned professionals in the field of Urban Design and Planning including architects and consultants:
1. "Only rarely has environmental quality been considered at the scale of the whole city or region. The technical and political effort that will be required to control regional landscape quality and to think of humane conditions of existence at that reach of size has still to be made." (Encyclopedia Britannica, c.1976, p. 1061d, Urban Design - by Kevin Lynch)
2. "Much of what is being built these days would be described by planning professionals as well planned or even planned at all; but some kind of solemn official* approval has been given to virtually all in accordance with government regulations.” (APA Journal, Spring 1989, p 131) * "Specious authority" is the term used by the architect, F. Ll. Wright.
3. "What is needed is to show policy makers a new pattern that is superior to what is being followed now; the consequences of current development planning are all around us: things will only get worse if something isn’t done soon." (Ibid. JAPA p. 135)
4. "Florida is a leader among about a dozen states that have acted to devise a system of managing growth by Compact Urban Development."
(Zoning and Planning Law Handbook, 1989, p. 55, 58)
5. "Neither planners or developers plan America; bureaucrats and bankers do." (JAPA, Autumn 1990, p.498) ..."the financial community follows a herd instinct, bankers will not finance new concepts; they depend on developers to initiate the projects and to assume the risks." (ibid. p.498-9) ..."Developers and planners need each other as never before." (ibid. p. 499)
6. "Planners (non-architect) tend to regard land use as an allocation of resources problem, parceling out land, for zoning purposes. Without much knowledge of its three-dimensional characteristics, or the nature of the building that may be placed on it in the future. The result is that most zoning ordinances and official land use plans produce stereotyped and unimaginative buildings. Land use would clearly be improved if it involved someone who understands three-dimensional design." URBAN DESIGN by Jonathan Barnett, c. 1977, p. 186. Explaining Broadacre City Wright said, “...the mountain sites would make the nicest building sites. I advocate building (perhaps high buildings) on those portions of the land least useful for other purposes. It is possible to build anywhere in this new sense of organic building...you could build wide-spread ground-built houses such as I have described, or upstanding slender isolated ones...
7. "The planning profession has lost sight of the future and is abandoning its responsibility in the design of cities and oriented more toward social sciences and scientific method. Work of other professionals is not being properly coordinated." Andrew M. Isserman, Dare to Plan, TOWN PLANNING REVIEW, 1985, 56, 4:483-91 (JAPA Autumn 1990, p. 502). Compare James S. Russell, AIA, Architectural Record, June1989 p. 79: "Perhaps it is time to say no to commissions in which merely adequate architecture is the best that can be hoped for, and instead seek to promulgate a new vision of the livable city."
8. "I've been right about a good many things. That's the basis of my arrogance. And it has a basis - that's one thing I can say for my arrogance. We can save ourselves. We're smart. We have a certain rat-like perspicacity; but we have the same courage, and that's what's the matter. I don't know of a more cowardly...well, I'm getting too deep in here now, and I can't swear - not tonight. But we are certainly a great brand of cowardice in America. We've let all our great opportunities to live a spiritual life with great interior strength and nobility of purpose in mind go by the board... If we're ever going to get anything better, if we're ever going to come by a more honorable expression of a civilization such as the world is entitled to from us... It isn't the fault of institutions. It isn't the fault of any class. It isn't the fault of the big boys that make the money and make the blunders and shove us over the brink we spoke of a minute ago. No. How would they learn better? ...How are they going to find out? They can only find out by your disapproval. They can only find out by your telling the truth, first to yourselves, and then out loud wherever you can get a chance to tell it."
Frank Lloyd Wright, Excerpt from 1949 AIA Gold Medal acceptance speech. Also see - Ethics
9. Dark Age Ahead is a 2004 book by Jane Jacobs ..."describing the decay of five key pillars in the US and Canada; this decay threatens to create a dark age unless the trends are reversed. Jacobs characterizes a dark age as a 'mass amnesia' where even the memory of what was lost is lost. The pillars under threat are:
11. Smart Growth "the consequences of "stupid" growth (mindless growth, aimless growth, anarchic growth) are now becoming too apparent to ignore".
The law expresses the will of the people. KYMAK de monstrates how to design cities in accordance with the Law to enable public officials (e.g., County Commissioners) to do the will of the people in promoting economic growth and full employment, to have cities designed to assure the maximum opportunity to citizens for free and independent urban living. It can only be done if those in authority can trust the professionals. Architects and Planners, as any other learned professional, must be trustworthy. Members of the Planning Profession are in a catch-22 situation; while they seek to serve the public good they may feel bound (by a paycheck) to serve the will of Politicians. On the other hand Politicians may believe they have a mandate to do what they think best for their people (create jobs) during their term of office. They ignore the law of orderly and systematic planning and development, probably without realizing it - This has been the cause of incurable disorder and imbecility in the government.. So, it has not been implemented. There is a conflict of interest that has created a vicious circle. Almost equal to that is the dilemma of the Planning Profession's ethical option which would be to find some other way to make a living but continue to work Pro Bono as citizen volunteers to execute the will of the people as expressed in State and Federal Planning Codes and as they were supposed to be educated to do in the first place. This is a very demoralizing situation which affects the whole fabric and being of our Civilization. The problem is perpetuated and greatly compounded by indiscriminate funding of highway construction alone; but this also involves funding such as CDBG'S, Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae and other building and construction projects using public funds or other people's money (OPM). This could be solved by adopting KYMAK guidelines as the basis of all Federal Funding in the interest of orderly and systematic planning and development as provided by law. An office of County Architect is recommended; KYMAK demonstrates how by its orderly and systematic layout of roadways.
12. Architects and Civil Engineers once worked together as master city builders. Beginning early in the 20th Century, Urban Planning specialists have competed with architects. However, Urban Planners are only engaging in damage control. Without the architect's knowledge of good design and the principles of building, the urban planner can only repair the damage caused by the helter-skelter haphazard growth of cities that grow continuously without good design or defined limits. Politicians holding power and control have assumed the role of the architect and take for granted that continuous growth around a central core is the best way to go. City Planners have turned a blind eye to master architect Frank Lloyd Wright's innovative machine-age linear Broadacre City concept.
While admitting their own inability, this is what Planners, with an air of superiority, said of Wright,
"Technically speaking, Broadacres cannot be taken too seriously, certainly not as a replacement for the core of big cities. Mr. Wright's vision is oriented more toward suburban life...but planners should not expect too much of architectural city designs. The architects who fancy themselves planners have never evinced an equal concern with all elements of the big city. ... It will take a really creative planner not an architect to someday give us a complete and dynamic design for the future city." - Book Reviews, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, vol. 25 (1958) p. 163-164.
On the contrary the modern linear streamlined Broadacre City, conceived about 1918 was and still is a genuine solution to the problems of planning for orderly development. Following parallel to the old land grant railroad corridors it eliminates dangerous and noisy railroad grade crossings. It has all the elements of urbanity to be found in the big centralized city except for the criminal element, the slums, the crowded conditions, the congested traffic, and the unreasonable noise. It expresses the highest ideals of American Democracy as defined by law (the will of the people). Only architects are educated to have the foresight needed to plan and design cities if they have not been co-opted by Urban Planners who are educated as specialist in damage control.
13. To be continued.
Kevin Lynch in the book Site Planning, which is required reading for architects seeking registration and license to practice, has an article on Site Selection, page 64 (ibid.) or see "site selection" in the index to the book.
"It sometimes happens and should happen more often that the site is not yet selected before a designer is called in.... Although site selection and "best use" analysis are somewhat less common than the analysis of a given site for a given purpose, site designers always engage to some degree in both of these modes of thinking, or at least they should do so. That is, they must be prepared to advise a client that his chosen site is (mistaken or) inadequate for his purpose and that he must seek a new one... While advice of this kind may terminate the designer's employment still it is his responsibility."
While architects are responsible for coordinating the total building process and site selection is the first step, those who avoid responsibility in this important and critical matter may be great building designers but they are not fully architects; because in fact, whoever controls site selection is architect by default – therein lies the problem.
Government planning agencies have largely assumed the site selection function but the law of orderly development is still being ignored overall resulting in the helter-skelter haphazard growth of cities seen all around us bringing confusion and disorder throughout. KYMAK orderly development will greatly simplify and quicken the site selection process for architects. if adopted by private citizens and or State and Local government planning and zoning agencies. Attention of County Commissioners to layout of roads is fundamental as this tends to dictate the pattern of future development.
The “Broadacre City” concept by Frank Lloyd Wright from about 1932 to 1958 was designed to follow railroad land grant corridors. Railroads were to be replaced by a technologically advanced freeway designed within a 528 ft.-wide right-of-way (for lack of foresight and planning, freeways are now built with-in a too narrow 165 ft. R/W). Extending from the intersection of the freeway is a road and a spur boulevard one mile apart. The road connects with government facilities at the intersection of the Main Thoroughfare 1 1/2 miles from the freeway - the spur boulevard ends at educational facilities at its intersection with the Main Thoroughfare. An Industrial Drive (access road) parallel to and 528' from the Freeway. A Residential Thoroughfare is 1/2 mile beyond providing a buffer zone. This layout would have to be adopted by Law and implemented by the County Commissioners and State Highway Department with cooperation of the Regional Planning Commission. The concept was from about 1918 and published about 1932 in a book called THE DISAPPEARING CITY, by Frank Lloyd Wright. The book was edited in 1945 and titled, WHEN DEMOCRACY BUILDS; finally edited in 1958 as THE LIVING CITY. Explaining Broadacre City Wright said, “...the mountain sites would make the nicest building sites. I advocate building (perhaps high buildings) on those portions of the land least useful for other purposes. It is possible to build anywhere in this new sense of organic building...you could build wide-spread ground-built houses such as I have described, or upstanding slender isolated one...Architects are not going to build it I fear, because I see that as they are educated they are not competent even to see it.” THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE, Frank Lloyd Wright (London Lectures)
Architects normally rely on a client for financing while land developers can ignore the architect. In order to build Broadacres Wright needed to become a developer; but with the passing of his mentors, his Mother and the architect Louis Sullivan in the 1920’s - along with an increasing number of clients for the design of houses and other type buildings, he began to lose sight of the Cause of Architecture that had been his prime directive yielding to the will of his ambitious new European wife in her idea of starting the Taliesin Fellowship (now estranged from the principles of building FLW embraced). The Cause of Architecture and the future of Civilization still depend on solving the problems of City and Regional Planning; the principles expressed in the Broadacres City concept is still a genuine solution to those problems in America, if properly applied.
The City Planning movement in America began about 1920. Many States had laws requiring orderly and systematic planning of cities by 1940; a master plan was needed to get funding. Unable to solve the problem but with pressure from local government leaders designers resorted to faking it. This has become a tradition. Broadacre City appeared to be the only genuine solution I could find when I became aware of the problem in 1957 as a fourth year student architect in college. Still I could not relate it to the problem we had been given. Someone suggested that if I wanted a grade in the course I might as well fake it. Unable to solve the problem in the six weeks allotted I withdrew from college. A year later in 1958 I entered the Taliesin Architectural Fellowship as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and remained for 14 months. In its December 24, 1965 issue, Life magazine featured the problem of city planning. One article was titled, “Everything Grows Up Every Which Way And No One’s In Charge". I asked an architect in the office where I was working why architects did not take charge, to which he replied, “Because we have to make a living”. In June of 1966 I opened an office. While waiting for a client I resumed my research in city and regional planning; some time later, in a letter about the problem to the Governor of Texas I received his commendation along with information about the Regional Planning Commission (AKA, Area Councils of Government).
"Patience, — patience; — with the shades of all the good and great for company; and for solace, the perspective of your own infinite life; and for work, the study and the communication of principles"...
“Beware of the shopper for plans. The man who will not grubstake you in prospecting for ideas in his behalf will prove a faithless client.”
Frank Lloyd Wright taught that the creative artist-architect reasons deductively - from generals to particulars – this is rational thinking; while inductive reasoning called the scientific method reasons analytically, from particulars to generals – this is empirical thinking, The creative mind uses analysis only as a means to verify the general proposition or synthesis that comes intuitively. Deduction is intuition; Emerson in his Address to the Harvard Divinity Class said that intuition is the source of every prophetic utterance or vision.
Accordingly, the idea shown on these pages as the KYMAK proposal is a synthesis by analysis of the Revelations of Christ to Joseph Smith in 1831. With all due respect for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is no intent to threaten or undermine their authority which I accepted at the beginning, in 1977; but while some would have, others would not accept KYMAK and their policy requires unanimity. Among the priesthood leaders there is an aggressive and hostile opposition who insist that only the President of the Church can receive revelation for the Church; what I had was given to Joseph Smith in 1831. I had visited architects both in Church offices and around Salt Lake City who expressed appreciation for my work and one architect in a position to know said I had shaken the Mormon Church to its foundations! Consensus has stood at about two Pro to one Con. I hope they will accept it in due time. While unwilling to subscribe to the idea, they did allow that I might use it for my own benefit as well as others. When Brigham Young said, "I have many times asked the question, 'where is the man that knows how to lay the first rock for the wall that is to surround the New Jerusalem or the Zion of God on the earth?'..." he may well have been referring to a man named Alpheus Cutler, whom Joseph Smith had appointed and ordained to be the Chief Architect for the Church but who somehow got left behind in their move to the Rocky Mountain West in 1847. I maintain that the cryptographic messages in the linear and geometrical relationships described on my Benchmark page may be the most interesting if not pure evidence of the scientific validity of KYMAK. I received a letter from Church President Spencer W. Kimball in 1977 expressing interest in the idea and directing me to discuss it with local priesthood leaders.
At the opening of the Taliesin Fellowship in 1933 Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, "Taliesin sees work itself where there is something growing and being in it as not only the salt and savor of existence but as the opportunity for bringing "Heaven" decently back to Earth where it really belongs." (See - Letters to Apprentices)
Proverb: As "the reality of a building is not in the roof and the walls but in the space within" so the reality of a city is the space within and between them.
Updated 1/27/10 (Continuing 7/30/14) modifed 1/24/18 re: Proverb: