Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
16
OLD TOWNS AND NEW NEEDS

realize that works of art are produced by individuals rather than by committees.

And what will this artist of plan do when he is called in? I feel sure that his right course if summoned to prescribe for a city's sickness would be to make up his mind first of all what the ideal disposition of that city would be if planned anew on the same site. That ideal plan if effected might, as I have said, prove in half-a-dozen generations to be in some respects deficient; but still it is the best aim that can be looked to and it is obviously unwise to undertake partial alteration in a city's plan without an eye to general results.

If a man of comprehensive ability and artistic skill sets himself to replan an existing city, reserving as fixed data the main, natural characteristics, such as rivers and hills, and all old buildings of architectural worth, as well as main roads of egress, he will probably be astonished to find how closely the existing conditions and disposition lend themselves to the possibility of readjustment to fit in with his model scheme, and what very simple changes will suffice to bring the real within reach of the ideal.

In any case, that exercise of wit, the replanning, will have served to open his eyes to a hundred points which call for his attention in the effort to work a particular improvement.

It is impossible and undesirable that I should attempt to review the whole field of possible city improvements called for by the most urgent needs of modern towns, but I shall venture to offer a few observations on two of the most