Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/20

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OLD TOWNS AND NEW NEEDS

ordered forethought which we habitually apply to individual buildings.

Nothing could be neater as a definition, nothing more reasonable as a proposition.

Let us think of it thus:—the social and economic philosopher observes that houses on the whole are successful creations and that towns on the whole are—from his social and economic points of view—failures. In fact he might even say that the more important are the towns the greater are the failures. And why? Pure reason leaps to the answer. "The man" she says "who builds a house, even if he only spends three hundred pounds upon it, takes the precaution of spending three hundred shillings on an architect and a plan; but the town which is worth a hundred thousand times as much, perhaps a million times as much, is built by random accretion, by accident, by whim, by error.

So the social economic philosopher brings forth town-planning and makes it as clear as daylight that the newborn craft is to be the mother of millennium.

In short, to go back to our bit of Aristotle, if there is an art and method to which the name town-planning can be applied there is no doubt as to the existence of its aim. The aim is indubitable, but does the method, does the craft exist?

Please believe me, I speak in no mockery of town-planning, and if I am about to suggest to you that it is impossible to lay down a general code or science which under that name can be said to have universal application, it is not because I ignore the need of such a science but