Handout (PDF): Summary of commentaries about Moses, 1975.
In the final section of the class, four aspects of current thinking about the form of cities are examined. The first examines the process question: what is a good way of making a city? The second attempts to clarify the relationship between social and spatial structure through theory and case studies of five cities in Africa, Latin America, the USA and the Middle and Far East. The third discusses form models for the city after modernism, and the final deals with issues that have arisen in recent times but still await resolution.
A number of themes relating to the making of decisions about the form of the city are put forward and the costs and benefits of each observed. Clearly most of these do not occur singly: highway building in a city can be restricted by professional advocacy, community education and physical confrontation, to mention some, and the case of new schools for Pontiac, Michigan is framed to show how different actors use a variety of methods to achieve a final outcome.
The first theme regards decision-making as the key to achieving good city form. On the one hand, this is seen as dependent on the quality of information available and on the technological advances that can portray outcomes, illustrate probabilities and trade-offs with the use of games and simulations. Assuming that good outcomes come from better specialized knowledge, it struggles with built-in epistemological problems about completeness, time and control. Can a system ever be developed which systematizes all the pieces in an optimal relationship, or does a more disjointed incrementalism offer better learning possibilities? What are the proper time frames according to which various planned actions are determined? How much control needs to be placed in whose hands? In the latter case, the form of Milton Keynes is instructive as is its policy of using performance standards as opposed to zoning. In most contemporary democracies, a highly decentralized process is an accepted ideal, utilizing the rare knowledge of users and reinforcing their sense of competence. But all users are not competent or agree, there are indivisible goods like clean air, places such as the subway used by many transient clients, and other problems of complete participation.
Opposing the argument for inclusion is the ancient model of relying on a super-figure to determine the city's form. Arguments favoring this model range from a belief that a good city is one of grand design, that only a single figure can superintend over complexities, recognize problems and act quickly, that citizens cannot agree on strong products, and that, as Robert Moses proclaimed: "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." Moses, typical of the super-figure, is seen as energetic and charismatic, enormously able to manage. His projects as America's greatest builder and the shaper of New York are reflected upon through comments by his critics and supporters.
The invention of "advocacy", professionals using their expertise in favor of those disadvantaged in a plural society, is examined as it was first exercised in opposition to the building of the Inner Belt highway in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This opposition, in part, changed the form of the city to one without new highway building in the center and to a re-examination of the role of public transportation in it. Another process to inform good changes to the city involves the idea of heightening people's perceptual awareness. The education of citizens about their city takes many forms, such as political education (the steel workers housing in Terni), information-giving (Geddes' Outlook Tower), making the city visible (Illich and Yellow Pages), and making the city into a school-room (Montreal's metro-education and the Bedford-Stuyvesant project). Other propositions about processes to improve the city's form include direct confrontation with authority (the 1968 Brussels experience), the development of a collective memory (Alexander), designing a utopia (subject of an earlier class), helping yourself (the anarchist tradition), and revolutionizing society (the Marxist hope).
Banham, et al. Non-plan: An Experiment in Freedom.
Fishman. The Anti-planners. pp. 243-252.
J. A. I. P., November 1965 (particularly Webber, Perloff, Robinson and Davidoff)
Ferguson. Architecture, Cities and the Systems Approach. pp. 74-95, illus., 1-26.
Lynch. A Theory of Good City Form. Chapter 2.
Caro. The Power Broker. pp. 1-21.
Chapman. The Life and Times of Baron Haussmann.
McCarthy, et al. "Buildings are Judgement II."
Lupo, et al. Rites of Way. pp. 9-111.
Lyndon, and Buchanan. "At the end of Public Housing."
Pyrgiotis. The Case of Advocacy Planning. pp. 121-132.
E. F. L. A College in the City: An Alternative. pp. 1-43.
Illich. "Learning Webs." In Deschooling Society. pp. 72-97.
Parnass, and Lincourt. "Metro/Education."
Signs/Lights/Boston. "City Signs and Lights."
Wurman. "Making the City Observable."
Goodman. After the Planners. pp. 171-213.
Kropotkin. "The Expropriation of Dwellings."
Unger. The Politics of Urbanity. pp. 39-81.
Alexander. Timeless Way of Building. pp. 325-348.
Maccoby. "The Social Psychology of Utopia."
Manuel. "Toward a Psychological History of Utopias."
Myerson. "Utopian Tradition and the Planning of Cities."
Turner. Housing by People. pp. 3-24, 133-158.
Ward. "Self-Help." In Housing: An Anarchist Approach.
Engels. The Housing Question. pp. 98-103.
Marx, and Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. pp. 352-353.