Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/58

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36
THE TOWN EXTENSION PLAN

It is only necessary to study their diagrams to realise the thoroughness with which this work has been done. The city of Düsseldorf began seriously to plan for its extension in 1888, and has therefore had some twenty -four years experience of this work. As a result of previous extravagance in the width and number of roads, the cost of the development of land has so increased that it is becoming less and less possible to build self-contained houses within the city for people of moderate means; and there has resulted a tendency for the people to be crowded into huge blocks of tenement and flat dwellings. This tendency has not gone nearly so far in Düssseldorf as it has in other German towns, Berlin for example; but the citizens are anxious now to check the tendency, and hence the care devoted to the subject in the survey. It is very remarkable that our country, which has for a century and a half watched the wonderful economies and the great progress which have resulted from the application of proper organisation and foresight to the carrying on of great industrial concerns, is only now beginning to realise that there may be some need to apply similar principles of foresight and organisation to the development of our great industrial centres, our towns and cities. It is difficult to see how we can have imagined in the past that it was safe to leave our towns to grow haphazard, the owner of each bit of land not only free to develop it just as he liked, without any central control, but even powerless if he wished to effect anything outside his own immediate boundary. What wonder that a hopeless jumble has resulted? But for the few old