Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/47

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OLD TOWNS AND NEW NEEDS

Now I am bold enough to ask whether this perfectly horrible state of things need be.

I am aware that absolute contiguity between pure country and genuine city is almost impossible. If King Street, for example, were to end abruptly in the kind of landscape in which people hunt foxes and shoot partridges, both elements, the rural and the urban, would suffer from the contact simply because the town folk wouldn't and couldn't put up with the country roads, and the green fields and hedges wouldn't survive the friction, if I may so put it, of the citizens. In other words, a town of a certain density of population necessarily defies and defiles the immediate proximity of the country. I fear that one must acknowledge this in spite of the remarkable success with which the virginity of Epping Forest is preserved in the near neighbourhood of London.

But I do believe that we might, if we would, get rid of that painful decrescendo, that descending scale of graduated cheerlessness which at present encircles most of our towns, and I believe that the desired result can be obtained in connection with the circuit roads which town-planners are now beginning to look upon as a necessary element in the remodelling of our large cities. I am not wishing to claim originality for this idea, for I know that a girdle of green is a favourite scheme of many of the town-planning experts, and I believe that the bold intentions of Liverpool contain elements of this nature. But I should like to suggest that in towns of great magnitude, such as London, that girdle of green might be brought nearer the centre than the present