AFTER THE PLANNERS by Robert Goodman


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At the outset, Goodman, a professional architect at MIT, promises a gloves-off attack on what is called the ""Urban-Industrial Complex"" and he does throw quite a few wild left-crosses in that general direction. The ""planners"" -- technocrats, engineers, architects, liberal politicians, corporations, administrators -- are the target of Goodman's ""bitter"" analysis; he accuses just about everyone from ""Doctor"" Daniel Patrick Moyniban (whom he equates with Hitler) and Kingman Brewster (he once extolled Henry Ford II) to architecture theorist Robert Venturi of conspiring to promote ""factory camp"" cities, riding the ""highway gravy train,"" etc. It's a mean harangue laced with much Marcuse-inspired invective. See, Goodman has been radicalized; he dreams of the ""humane society"" where we can live free from ""the architecture of repression."" Which is fine, but the problem he says is that ""we have as professionals helped to make it especially hard for people to develop places suited to the way they might choose to live,"" which is foggy. And it gets foggier: after the planners mysteriously disappear (into little boxes?) he foresees a new political system, ""community"" (or decentralized) socialism, which will replace the ""repressive and competitive"" values now enslaving us. The only methodology proposed for achieving this New Left vision of happiness is ""guerrilla architecture"" -- establishment of ""squatter communities"" in A&P parking lots, erecting tent cities in public parks, and the like. Good for reading in a sleeping bag; otherwise exit with the planners.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Simon & Schuster