Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/60

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comfort, and happiness of the people, and to the enormous increase of their death-rate. It is impossible to estimate the increase in expense of administration; but I am told that in your city on three separate occasions since the year 1833 has it been necessary to widen some part of Cross Street to provide for increased traffic; and that the value of the land which has had to be purchased for this purpose has risen from the date of the first of these widenings to the present time by 1,300 per cent.: that is, the amount of widening which at that time would have cost £1,000 must now cost £13,000. This sort of thing has been going on in nearly all our growing towns for want of the Town Extension Plan; and most of this confusion and loss to the community can be avoided by such a plan.

It is true that you cannot foresee exactly what the development of a town will be; that you may possibly provide for a wider street than will be required; that you may reserve an open space for a park on a site where as it turns out only a sparse population will settle; that, on the other hand, you may not reserve quite enough open space, enough sites for schools, police, fire, and other administrative buildings, in other parts where the population becomes denser than was foreseen. But put these errors of judgment at their very worst and compare them with what happens now. Is the town likely to suffer severely in pocket or in any other way from having bought up a little open space, beyond what is actually necessary, at slightly more than agricultural value; or for having made a road a little wider than actual requirements, at a time when the