Gumey Breckenfeld, a journalist, was asked by his publisher to write an account of the progress of Columbia, Maryland, a...

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COLUMBIA AND THE NEW CITIES

Gumey Breckenfeld, a journalist, was asked by his publisher to write an account of the progress of Columbia, Maryland, a ""new city"" master-minded by his old friend, John Rowse. Breckenfeld provides an economical, political and historical perspective of the development of model cities as an answer to ""concrete fungus."" Like Jorge Arango's Urbanization of the Earth (p. 992), he sees the problem as one of ""limiting the growth of towns to what their bones and sinews were devised to support."" He examines various solutions in England and continental Europe, but (strangely) finds the most encouragement in America. The exemplar is the Columbia, Maryland, project whose aims are admirably simple. What people ""want,"" they predict, is an autonomous, self-contained cellular unit which meets every human need with carefully zoned areas for industry, shopping, entertainment, and religious worship. The aesthetic key is a well-programmed landscape design, and the essential safeguard is a controlled population not to exceed 30,000. Breckenfeld concedes the psychological defects of planned city living which he calls the ""new town blues syndrome,"" but feels these can be alleviated with time. His report is comprehensive but in evaluating his effusive praise of the Columbia experiment, the reader might remember that the author's work was commissioned by not wholly disinterested parties.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 1970

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: McKay--Washburn

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1970