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TitleA Theory of Good City Form
PublisherMIT Press (MA)
ISBN 139780262120852
File Size26.1 MB
Total Pages525
Table of Contents
                            Prologue: A Naive Question
	1 Form Values in Urban History
	2 What Is the Form of a City, and How Is It Made?
	3 Between Heaven and Hell
	4 Three Normative Theories
	5 But Is a General Normative Theory Possible?
	6 Dimensions of Performance
	7 Vitality
	8 Sense
	9 Fit
	10 Access
	11 Control
	12 Efficiency and Justice
	13 City Size and the Idea of Neighborhood
	14 Growth and Conservation
	15 Urban Textures and Networks
	16 City Models and City Design
	17 A Place Utopia
Epilogue: A Critique
	A A Brief Review of Functional Theory
	B A Language of City Patterns
	C Some Sources of City Values
	D A Catalog of Models of Settlement Form
Sources and Credits
Document Text Contents
Page 2


Page 262

Growth and Conservation

If the absolute size of a settlement is less important
than we have thought, except perhaps at the neigh­
borhood scale or in a political sense, we cannot be
indifferent to the rate of change of size. Rapid
growth means constant turmoil, facilities which are
ill fitted to demand, and institutions whose capa­
bilities constantly lag behind the need for them. The
landscape is scarred with construction. Sense suf­
fers, and access is confused. Events seem out of
control, and decisions may be made badly under
stress. Most serious, perhaps, are the constant
breaking and remaking of social ties that is required
and the political conflicts that arise between natives
and newcomers.

Some of these problems are results of a growth
in total size, while others derive from the move­
ment of people, whatever the resulting net growth
may be. Mobility and the growth of places are not
the same. Much back and forth population move­
ment can occur with little effect on aggregate
growth rates. In the United States at present, gross
migration is something like ten times its effect in net
growth. Much of the world, and the United States
in particular, is on the move: immigrants, refugees,
job seekers, vacationers, tourists, travelers, and
retirees. Where it is voluntary, this human flux, like
the mobility of capital, has important advantages,
since it brings skill and labor to places where they
can best be used and people to places which they
prefer. But much mobility is far from voluntary,
and so moving entails serious costs, of which psy­
chological depression is not the least.

There may be some environmental ways of
coping with these emotional costs. One thinks
of better communication and information, rituals of
transition, training newcomers to understand new
places, transporting artifacts other than furniture,
the migration of whole communities, "sister" rela­
tions between exporting and importing places,
second homes located in both, and so on. But
considerations of that kind are rarely introduced
into public policy, which simply offers, if anything,

Page 263

a subsidy to pay direct relocation costs. Population
movement is a fact of our time, and there are ways
to enhance its human qualities. But the conse­
quences of rapid mobility are such that there are
good reasons for policies that will moderate it.

To control the movement of people is to with­
draw an important personal freedom, to restrict
access in a most fundamental way. In theory this is
unconstitutional within the United States, but any
extensive local growth controls will have that in­
direct effect. The freedom of movement between
nations has increasingly been restricted, just as
(and because) migration has come within the reach
of poor people. If equity of access is our aim,
growth rate control at the settlement level should at
least be accompanied by some rationing of reloca­
tion opportunity that does not discriminate by in­
come. Even in highly controlled societies, severe
measures have been necessary to block migration,
or to direct it where economic plans would like it to
go. We must wonder not only about what an opti­
mum growth rate might be, but also about the best
way of achieving it. Do we restrict the movement of
persons, or stop house building, or prevent the
expansion of jobs, or raise development standards
so high that the costs discourage newcomers?
Surely the more humane devices are those that
encourage investment where people are, rather
than those that prevent it where they wish to go or
promote it where they are not. Apparent growth
may also be caused by the replacement and enlarge­
ment of facilities. While this may consume (and also
create) resources, it may have few of the negative
consequences of a population shift. Keep in mind,
moreover, that our concern is the growth of settle­
ments, and not other changes that are vilified under
the same name, such as growths in consumption,
production, waste, or crime.

In any event, it is apparent that the growth in
size of a place or a change in its function can often
be too rapid for successful adjustment of the vitality
and fit. While growth was once applauded, and still
is in economics, we have recently come to see
dangers in it, and some argue for "zero growth,"
just as Plato did. But absolute stability is hard to
maintain. Moreover, since populations and places

Freedom of movement
and zero growth

L. Gordon

Page 524


and local landscape
style, 301

and living processes,
awareness of, 308

and living things, re­
sponsibility for, 308

and machines, evalua­
tion of, 306

and devolution of Man­
hattan, 309

migration in, 298, 310
and ownership by user,

295- 296, 299
pets and working ani­

mals, 308-309
and pilgrimages, 314
and place and mobility,

production in, 301-302,

and regional land trusts,

296- 297, 299-301
and resident communi­

ties, 296-297
and residential space

and services as pub­
lic utilities, 299

responsibility for land­
scape, 310-311

and rituals,
settlement, cycling of,

social distribution in,

social and functional in­

tegration in, 302
sources for, 316
and time measures, var­

iations in, 313
and threatened species,

transparency of, 312-313
and wilderness and

wastelands, 301, 303,
306, 309

and conflict with per­

formance dimen­
sions, 223

and decision, 1
and designers, 150
and city form. See Val­

ues, city, sources of

and form, 36, 105
in functional theories,

36, 38-39
human, and physical

city, 1
individual, development

of, 102
and negation of chaos,

primary, 79
inherent in theories, 343
strong, weak, wishful,

hidden, and ne­
glected, 54-56

Values, city, sources of,
balance, 370
in cacotopias, 363-364
in childhood memories,

cleanliness, 370-371
comfort, stress, nuis­

ance, safety, 370
compendium of, 367-369
compilation of, 359-372
contact with nature, 370
cost, 369
in desirable places,

diversity and choice,

esthetics and amenity,

of economists, 361
in metaphors, 360-361
and motives of city

builders, 359-360
of North American

adults, 365
in novels and poetry,

and shaping of perform­

ance dimensions,

and discarded perform­
ance dimensions,

of planners and design­
ers, 366-367

of prototype advocates,

social change or stabil­
ity, 369

social interaction or in­
tegration, 369

Page 525

Other books by Kevi n Lynch

This wid; ly adopted text examines
the "imageability" of three cities-
Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey
City. "Deserves careful study by
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city, its streets, districts, and monu-
ments."-The American Journal of
available in hardcover a11d in paperback

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·- La11dsrnpi' Architecture
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Revised second edition. A completely
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