Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/49

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27
OLD TOWNS AND NEW NEEDS

presence of trees and grass, and the comparative paucity of houses within the prescribed area.

I quite realise that outside and beyond this sacred grove the process of graduated squalor might possibly recommence, but I have faith in the notion that if London were once girdled in with a cheerful and definite garden four or five hundred yards in width, the amenities of street architecture and street life would be maintained up to that limit. The enterprise which keeps a town healthy and bright and gay would not suffer a gradual despair on its outward course, if it could feel that it had on this circumference a region of attractive and residential importance rather than a gradual collapse into the wilderness.

Let me briefly summarise the foregoing conclusions:

The word town-planning at least implies a certain aim, can it be said also to imply a definite and scientific method? History and facts seem to answer No. For though one may argue that as the building of a house requires the forethought of an architect, so, but in a much greater degree, does a city demand a designer. Yet experience shows first that towns tend, whatever their originator or their guardians may prescribe, to take matters into their own hands, secondly that with the utmost forethought no man can plan a large town ab initio, nor can even a large section of a town be replanned with the certainty of acceptance by posterity; and thirdly that large towns are always changing the units of their formation, old houses give way to new, and one district gives way socially to another.

Are we then to conclude that town-planning is merely a