Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/19

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Old Towns and New Needs


By Paul Waterhouse, M.A., F.R.I.B.A.


Every art and every method has some object or end. It was Aristotle who said this, and knowing the authorship we claim the dictum to be beyond controversy true.

But what of its converse?

Has every object an art or a method which leads up to it? That is the question which we find before us in our present subject.

"Town-planning" is now an accepted expression. What is its meaning? Can we define it? Still more, I ask, can we go beyond a mere academic definition and give it practical illustration? Can we in fact proceed from our definition to the exposition of universal working formulæ capable of concrete and uniform issues.

In other words while we admit that the expression townplanning at least implies that there are certain human activities which have an object—the creation of perfect towns—can we go the length of stating that those activities and those desires may be formulated into anything resembling a science or a method?

I had well nigh begun my essay with the statement that town-planning is as easily defended by logic as it is defeated by history.

What is town-planning?

From the point of view of clearheaded lecture room reasoning it is the application to a town of that process of