Andersen, Hendrick Christian [Hrsg.]; Hébrard, Ernest M. [Hrsg.]
Creation of a world centre of communication — Paris, 1913

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The same may be said of Mediaeval towns. Enclosed and protected by
massive walls, the dwellings were perforce crowded together between narrow
streets. Castle and church dominated the whole. Nevertheless, the division
of the population into classes permitted a certain order to exist. Towns and
villages, like human beings, had their individuality — an individuality in-
fused into every line and form by the energy and culture of the people
who inhabited them, for at all times, nothing so clearly illustrates the cha-
racter of peoples as their dwellings.

As nations gradually formed and their position became secure, this
change in political conditions made city walls unnecessary. The full signi-
ficance, however, of the possibilities thereby opened to city planning could
only become apparent when the means for rapid circulation made expansion
upon a vast scale imperative. In the movement towards greater centralisa-
tions, cities spread miles beyond their original boundaries. Absorbing
neighbouring towns and villages and covering the adjacent suburbs with
dwellings, they formed heterogeneous groups. The charming individuality
of many a town was swallowed in this evolutionary change, which, to a large
extent, took place spontaneously, forced by the demands of increasing huma-
nity. Growing at some points rapidly, at others slowly, cities frequently
had portions crushed and half choked by the development of neighbouring
quarters. Many of these latter were built to serve the interests of indivi-
dual owners, without restrictions and without regard for the common needs
of the people who would inhabit them. It may be said that in cities through-
out the world, the hovels and slums in which large numbers of the popula-
tion are obliged to live and bring up their children, far from the sight and
pleasure of green fields, and often pathetically crowded into close, ill ventilated
rooms, oflfer the most fertile ground for disease, crime and degeneration.

But civic art is the expression of civic life, and it seems safe to say that
cities in the future will not grow up fortuitously as has too often been the
case in the past. It is now being realised that it is more advantageous and
economical to build towns with forethought than to allow them to grow up
at hap-hazard at the caprice of corporations, ambitious industrial enterprises,
or organisations that only care for human life as a means for developing for-
tunes. Undoubtedly modern requirements will necessitate that all cities be
built upon definite plans, and each one will have its individuality according
to the expression that is dominant in the will of the people.

If we survey the plans of many European towns and capitals, founded
at different periods, their individuality is clearly apparent, and so deep is the
interest they awaken, so picturesque their beauty, that the tendency to imitate
them becomes almost irresistible. The informal beauty that resulted from
unconscious growth, proceeded, however, from conditions which, for the
most part, no longer exist. To reproduce them, therefore, becomes often
but a vain affectation.
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