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CITY PLANNING
HOUSING



CITY PLANNING
HOUSING



BY

WERNER HEGEMANN

WITH A PREFACE BY

R. M. MAcIVER



FIRST VOLUME OF TEXT:

HISTORICAL and

SOCIOLOGICAL



ARCHITECTURAL BOOK PUBLISHING Co., INC.
112 WEST 46TH STREET, NEW YORK



COPYRIGHT, 1936, BY
ARCHITECTURAL BOOK PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.



Reference



A?

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

872655



DEDICATION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



The author begs permission to dedicate this book to his es
teemed friends,

ALVIN JOHNSON

and

JOSEPH HUDNUT

At the time when the freedom of learning and teaching was
eradicated from those countries in which it had formerly
flourished for hundreds and even thousands of years, these two
distinguished teachers extended the hospitality of their liberal
institutions, THE NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH
and THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE OF COLUMBIA
UNIVERSITY to the author who wishes to express his apprecia
tion in the modest form of this dedication.



The author is greatly indebted to The Emergency Committee
in Aid of Displaced German Scholars, to Messrs. Frank Altschul,
George Gordon Battle, Cornelius N. Bliss, George Blumenthal,
Hon. William N. Cohen, Mr. Alfred A. Cook, Hon. John W.
Davis, Messrs. John A. Garver, Henry Ittleson, Henry Kauf
man, Mrs. William Korn, Miss Loula Lasker, Hon. Irving Leh
man, Miss Clara W. Mayer, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Morgenthau,
Mr. David L. Podell, Hon. Joseph M. and Mrs. Proskauer,
Messrs. Jackson E. Reynolds, Alfred L. Rose, John Schiff, Hon.
Clarence J. Shearn, Messrs. James Speyer, Max D. Steuer, Ar
thur Hays Sulzberger, Hon. Thomas D. Thacher, Mr. Ferdinand
Thun, Hon. George W. Wickersham, Messrs. Albert W. Putnam,
Frederick K. Seward, Kenneth Spence, S. M. Strook, Robert
T. Swaine, J. Du Pratt White, Henry A. Uterhart, Joseph P.



vi DEDICATION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Grace, and Charles H. Tuttle, who, by their endowment, made
his teaching at these institutions possible.

For valuable suggestions the author wishes to express his
gratitude to Mr. Henry Wright, Dr. Carol Aronovici, Messrs.
Albert S. Bard, Arthur C. Holden, Walter Kruesi, Albert Mayer,
and Walter Sanders.

Valuable material was supplied by Dr. Albert Lilienberg, Di
rector of the City Plan of Stockholm, and by Mr. Axel Dahlberg,
Director of the Municipal garden suburbs of Stockholm. The
author is indebted to the Appleton-Century Co. which permitted
the reproduction of the map of Washington's western tour from
their publication, "Washington and the West," by A. B. Hul-
bert, 1905.

For the reading of the manuscript in part or in full, the
author is indebted to Mrs. I. B. Hegemann, Dr. F. Wunderlich,
and Mr. Robert Weinberg.

Professor Robert M. Maclver had the kindness to read the
entire manuscript and offer important suggestions.

Invaluable was the critical collaboration of Dr. Ruth Nanda
Anshen who contributed to the book in its formative stage and
without whose patient assistance its completion would have been
impossible.



PREFACE



I welcome this work because it unites the knowledge of an
expert with the burning conviction of an enthusiast. It is this
union which inspires all important practical achievements. And
Dr. Hegemann is advocating a cause which demands and justifies
the enlightened fervor of his book. It is said that one half of
the people does not know how the other half lives. This is
literally true in respect of housing. If Dr. Hegemann is any
where nearly right in his statement that there are in the United
States ten millions of obsolete homes and that forty millions of
the population live in them, there can be few subjects of such vital
importance for the welfare of the country as the subject of this
book.

The history of the United States has been a patchwork of
planning and planlessness. There may be legitimate differences
of opinion with regard to national economic planning, though
that too has its roots far back in our history. There can surely
be no serious differences respecting the value, and indeed the
necessity, of civic planning, of intelligent provision and super
vision of adequate housing standards for the population, on
which their health, their comfort, and m no small measure their
happiness depend. From the beginning of the nineteenth century
we have been growing more and more urbanized, and countless
opportunities have been lost, in the scramble for unearned incre
ment, to establish the conditions which would have prevented
the development of slums and -fire-traps, of unhealthy congestion
and urban ugliness. The lesson can still be learned, and Dr.
Hegemann sets out to teach it.

One significant thing about this book is the deft use it makes

vii



viii PREFACE

of illustrations drawn from the history of the United States. It
shows that the great leaders of the past were more socially awake
and more socially daring than most of those who, with con
servative unction, appeal to them to-day. In reading American
history it is nevertheless difficult to escape the feeling that the
country would have prospered more and fared better if there
had been more, not less, planning; if more forethought and far
more statesmanship had been applied to the conservation of the
land, the forests, the mineral resources, the whole heritage of
nature, and to the reckless growth that changes thousands of
straggling villages into huddled urban areas.

You may not, you probably will not, agree with everything
that Dr. Hegemann writes, but you will assuredly carry away
from his book a new conception of the urgency of civic planning,
of the breadth and social significance of the principle, and of its
intimate connection with the present and future well-being of
the nation.

R. M. Maclver

Lieber Professor of
Political Philosophy
and Sociology,
Columbia University.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. GEORGE WASHINGTON AS PLANNER OF A NEW EMPIRE

AND OF "THE METROPOLIS OF THE WEST" 1

I. THE UNITED STATES! A PLANNED COUNTRY 1

II. FORMER AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN CITY PLANNING . . 5

III. EXTRACTS FROM WASHINGTON^ LETTERS REFERRING

TO HIS 1 PLANS FOR "THE NEW EMPIRE*' 10

IV. GEORGE WASHINGTON PLANNED A NATIONAL CENTER

OF LEARNING 14

V. THE FAILURE OF WASHINGTON'S PLANS 17

vi. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FEDERAL REAL ESTATE OFFICE 20
vii. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION TO
WARDS HOUSING THE NATION 25

VIII. PRESIDENT WASHINGTON LIMITS HEIGHTS OF BUILDINGS 26
IX. DOES THE FAILURE OF WASHINGTON'S PLAN TESTIFY

AGAINST PLANNING ? 30

CONCLUSION 38

II. NATIONAL PLANNING: A BASIC CONCEPTION OF THE

AMERICAN CONSTITUTION 40

III. HAMILTON FAVORED NATIONAL ACTION IN THE FIELD OF

PUBLIC WORKS, INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE 49

IV. JEFFERSON'S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR NATIONAL

PUBLIC WORKS 57

V. LINCOLN APPRAISES PROPERTY. SLAVES AND SLUMS. ... 67

VI. CHRISTIANITY AND HOUSING 79

VII. HOMEBUILDERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY 85

I. LINCOLN, EMERSON, MARX 85

II. HOW MARX HELPED THE CAUSE OF EUROPEAN HOUSING

AND OF THE AMERICAN UNION 94

VIII. HOUSING REFORM ORDERLY OR "FORCIBLE" METHODS'? 104

IX. COMPENSATION OF SLUM OWNERS 117

X. ALEXANDER HAMILTON OPPOSES "IMPRACTICAL COMPEN
SATION" 128

XI. ESTIMATES OF AMERICAN SLUM "VALUES" 131

ix



x CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

XII. ORIGIN OF AMERICA'S "LIBERTY" TO BUILD SLUMS SYM
BOLIZED BY BURR'S DUEL WITH HAMILTON 141

XIII. NEW YORK REGION CAN HOLD TWICE THE POPULATION

OF THE GLOBE 159

XIV. CITIES PLACES TO DIE IN? "DESTRUCTION OF FICTI
TIOUS LAND VALUES" 178

XV. AMERICAN VERSUS BRITISH, MARXIAN AND RUSSIAN PLAN
NING 194*

XVI. PROSPERITY OF LABOR ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD HOUSING:
FROM THE PYRAMID BUILDERS TO PRESIDENT ELIOT OF
HARVARD 213

XVII. AMERICA IMITATES VIENNESE HOUSING 225

XVIII. WHY DOES AMERICA NEGLECT THE STOCKHOLM EX
AMPLE ? 240



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Comparison of densities of population in lower Manhattan,

1910 and 1930 xvi

Comparison of a planned country (United States) with a coun
try which "just growed" (Germany) . . .' 3

Comparison of the plans of the main streets in Saint Petersburg,

Russia, and Washington, D. C 8

MAP OF WASHINGTON'S WESTERN TOUR, SEPTEMBER, 1784.... 12
The Rape of the Constitution, Cartoon from The New Yorker . . 48

CHART OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF PUBLIC WORKS PRO
POSED UNDER RESOLUTION OF U. S. SENATE, 1807 56

George Washington's Slave Quarters healthier than New York
Tenements 73

Comparison of modern garbage collector with the obsolete dirty
method still in frequent use in America 153

Modern telephone for one hand use 1 Ib. 4 ounces to be lifted
compared with old-fashioned telephone for two-hand use
4 Ibs. 11 ounces to be picked up still in frequent use and
even being newly installed 1 54

Dimensions of Egyptian, American and Russian structures. ... 196

Typical row-houses of London 201

Plans and views of old and new apartments in Vienna 227ff

Sketch-plans and views of Stockholm's Municipal cottages .... 248ff



INTRODUCTION

RECOVERY OF CIVIC PRIDE IN AMERICA

This slender volume of text and a second one in preparation
on "City Planning and Housing" and the accompanying atlas
of pictures and plans are intended to supplement and within
a small compass to bring up to date a previous and much
larger volume entitled "The American Vitruvius, an Architect's
Handbook of CIVIC ART." The text and the 1200 illustra
tions of that large volume (published in 1922) were dedicated
to civic art in its more restricted, i.e. exclusively esthetic sense.
At the time of its publication the esthetic aspects of city plan
ning seemed to demand, at least in America, primary attention.
The rest of the world was suffering from the aftermath of the
World War. But America's economic and social problems in
city planning and in most other fields would, it was perhaps
assumed, rapidly solve themselves, dissolving automatically, so
to speak into a new and permanent prosperity based upon the
large material profits accruing to America during the period
of and after her bloody sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of
her best young men.

Since the recent breakdown of "permanent" prosperity the
previous preoccupation with Civic Art in its narrower sense re
quires a word of explanation on the part of an author who re
ceived some of his first training with the great sociologists Charles
Gide, Simon N. Patten and Lujo Brentano, and who in his former
and subsequent writings has emphasized the adequate solution
of problems of social and political economy as preconditions of
artistic possibilities and civic beauty.

The dedication of the previous large volume to the artistic
problems of city planning was intended to be an antidote to
that lack of discrimination which, during the years intervening
between the Chicago World Fair of 1893 and the World War,
had made many advocates of city planning appear somewhat
ridiculous. The "city beautiful" had been advertised as a prof-

xi



xii INTRODUCTION

itable enterprise by men who had neither esthetic sensibility,
training, nor a just appreciation of economic possibilities. Even
secretaries of American City Clubs or Chambers of Commerce
and, occasionally, even architects who should have known bet
ter, had recommended expensive "beautification" schemes, some
of which were actually carried out in spite of their merits being
even more dubious from the point of view of esthetics than from
that of traffic and economics.

The first volume dealing with Civic Art began with the
assumption that "there was never a more deadly plague than
the ugliness of modern cities." Fortunately, or unfortunately,
many or most men are immune to the effect of this plague, be
cause they are indifferent to beauty other than the female kind.
And even the self-appointed civic beauty specialists often can
not agree on what they wish to designate as beautiful.

The present volume approaches the problem of city plan
ning from the more general premise that no city should be con
sidered more beautiful than its most ugly and unsanitary
tenement house. A chain is never stronger than its weakest link.
"A world that is squalid in one corner is squalid altogether";
(H. G. Wells).

But most people, ruthlessly, adapt themselves even to squalor.
Science has discovered microbes which fatten lustily on the filth
in which they live. By a similar process of adaptation and se
lection even dignified and well-to-do representatives of the human
species develop a naive or cynical blindness to any squalid or
miserable aspect that may present itself not within direct and
immediate sight but just around the corner. "Within three
minutes of Park Avenue's expensive apartments there are 1,737
families without washrooms in their tenement homes . . . 17,334
Manhattan families spend less than three dollars per room per
month for their flats." (New York Times, August 27, 1934).
However, even those fortunate ones who are able to spend more
than three dollars per room per month have lately learned not
to remain quite indifferent to such almost daily newspaper head
lines as: "400,000 Families on Relief Jn City at 201,000,000
dollars cost" ; or : "25 per cent of Homes here lack Sanitation" ;
(N. Y. Times, Aug. 27, 1934). We hear that "more than a
million and a half people in the City of New York live in houses



INTRODUCTION xiii

which are unfit for human habitation. ... As long as nearly
one-third of our fellow citizens are condemned to lives of filth
and squalor we cannot call ourselves humane, nor socially intel
ligent" (from the Radio address of the Chairman of the New
York Housing Authority, Hon. Langdon W. Post, April 25,
1935). It will be shown in this volume that, according to the
latest investigations, approximately 40 million Americans live in
slums and blighted districts.

One of the most promising indications of our time seems to
be that people are becoming weary of being huddled into bad
tenements. The New York Housing Commissioner assures us :
"The recent Harlem riot was not purely a race riot, as many
suppose the Harlem riot was a slum riot." What a perspec
tive ! Even the French Revolutions have aptly been described as
Parisian slum riots to which an end could be put only by the
billion dollar slum clearance of Napoleon III who was determined
to "slash the belly of revolutions." Will the negroes of New
York initiate similarly historical achievements and awaken the
white conscience of the world's largest city? For the 697 plate
glass windows smashed in 125th Street and 7th Avenue, the in
surance companies had to pay $147,315. This would be a low
price if it could lead to New York's realizing and improving the
unbearable housing conditions of Harlem.

The negroes of New York and other American cities are
forced to pay as much as 40 per cent higher rents than their
white fellow sufferers pay and even then to accept worse quar
ters. The negroes' healthy rebellion against this injustice is old
and has already manifested itself in some highly promising crea
tions all over the country. The miserable white neighbors
of New York's Park Avenue in their less than three-dollar rooms
present a rather poor figure compared with the prouder and
more efficient Harlem negroes living in the Paul Laurence Dun-
bar Apartments financed by Mr. Rockefeller. There the colored
tenants pay an average rent of $14.50 per month. The negroes
living in the equally well designed Michigan Boulevard Gardens,
Chicago, even pay rentals averaging $16.25 per month per room.
And in making this startling comparison between whites and
colored people, one can fathom the difficulties of American hous
ing problems by remembering that even this five-fold rent paid



xiv INTRODUCTION

by the negroes covers barely one-half of what could be called a
normal interest on the capital invested in their model housing
scheme.

Can present American wages pay for what, at present, is
considered to be decent housing, or even for that minimum of
housing decency which physicians, educators and statesmen, to
day, must demand? Or are the American building codes, tra
ditional building standards, "zoning" ordinances, valuations and
assessments of real estate, so designed or depraved as to en
courage and enforce indecent and unhygienic housing for large
sections of the American people? Who has made such depraved
laws? And for whose benefit? And if American wages cannot
pay for what to-day is considered to be American decency in
housing, how is the deficit to be paid? Or is indecency to prevail
permanently? There may still be quite a number of Americans
who attach a definite meaning to the right to the "pursuit of
happiness" promised in the Declaration of Independence and to
the provision in the Preamble of the Constitution that entrusts to
the Government the promotion of the general welfare. Those
Americans who cherish such ideals may refuse to accept indecency
in American housing as inevitable. But do they realize that in
order to change the present unsatisfactory situation very com
prehensive measures must be taken and rather large sums be spent
to meet the emergency? And can these sums be spent in a hap
hazard way, patching here and there, or is a plan necessary in
dicating how these sums should be spent most effectively? What
plan should that be? Is the experience of foreign countries worth
while studying? They have made gigantic attempts to meet a
similar emergency and to stamp out indecent and unhygienic
housing. Have they succeeded? Can similar efforts be hoped
for in America?

Fortunately civic pride as well as efficiency of the white in
habitants of American cities are rapidly increasing. The old Eng
lish saying cannot be too often repeated, namely that one may kill
or disable a man just as well with a bad dwelling as with an ax.
As long as this disguised state of lawlessness is tolerated and
encouraged by building codes and law courts, the resistance
against criminal abuse must come from the surviving victims.
A grocer is forbidden to sell decayed food. As long as a slum



INTRODUCTION xv

owner is encouraged or compelled (by tax assessor and sheriff)
to sell decayed and poisonous housing, as long as such enforced
crime is euphemistically labelled "maintaining the credit struc
ture of the country," so long does the hope for social security and
regeneration lie in the victimized tenant and in his energy for
self-assertion.

Cheering symptoms can be found in the report (written by
a prominent New York realtor, Mr. Louis Carreau) on the "Re
moval of Obsolete Buildings and the Rebuilding of Slum Districts
in New York." Here the following words refer to the obnoxious
"old law" tenements : "The sons and daughters of the immigrants
will not live in them, and ironic as it may seem, people that are
today on public relief rolls refuse to live in them."

"Ironic as it may seem," people on relief, today, have a more
just appreciation of what is good for them and for the tax-
paying community at large than the former legislators of New
York City who made the unbelievably stupid laws creating the
"old law" and the almost equally bad "new law" tenements. It
is the enlightened and vanishing slumdweller who helps in the
realization of Henry Ford's prophecy: "Nothing will finally
work more effectively to undo the fateful grip which the City
habit has taken upon the people, than the destruction of the
fictitious land values which the City traditions have set up and
maintained"; ("Ford Ideals," p. 157).

Partly as a result of this reawakening common sense, the
Lower East Side's assessed valuation on land and buildings de
clined from 324 million dollars in 1930 to 270 million dollars
in 1933. This is a decline of 16.6%. In 1933, 20% of the "old
law" tenements were left standing vacant while six years previ
ously only 8% had met this necessary fate. Such a march of
events would, indeed, look like hopeful progress if there were
not the obvious danger that the growing housing shortage would
again fill with tenants even those numerous and abominable tene
ments which ought to be destroyed as rapidly as possible. The
depression having forced many of its victims to "double up" in
"old law" tenements, a "return of prosperity" may make them
spread out again and refill some of the at present empty fire-
traps.



xvi



INTRODUCTION



DENSITY 1910



PER ACRE




Z4 " B 45O

214 Tracts As of 191O



(See text on preceding page.)

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK MAYOR'S CITY PLANNING COMMITTEE.



DENSITY 1930

PER ACRE




267 Tract*



(See text on preceding page.)

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK MAYOR'S CITY PLANNING COMMITTEE.



INTRODUCTION xvii

The following example, although a perhaps less reassuring
one, further illustrates the new growth of civic pride. When,
in 1934, the Massachusetts State Housing Board recommended
that Boston's slums be razed at the expense of the Federal Gov
ernment, the Mayor of Boston (according to a report of the
New York Times) did not object, but instead insisted that Boston
had no "slums." In the City Council, therefore, a resolution in
support of the State Board's recommendation had to be amended
by the substitution of the phrase "rehabilitation of substandard
areas" for that of "slum clearance." (N. Y. Times, Aug. 30,
1934.)

The increasing moral and esthetic sensibility of such au
thorities as the Boston City Council, of such badly housed masses
as the Harlem negroes and of the intelligent white slum dwellers
who have fled from lower Manhattan justifies the old contention
reemphasized in this volume that the main problem of city
planning is decent low cost housing.

"What House Can One Get for $10 a Month? This is the
Most Important Question in City Planning," was the title of
the concluding chapter of the author's "Report on a City Plan
for the Municipalities of Oakland and Berkeley, California" ;
(published in 1915 ; p. 119ff.). To-day, when more than one half
of all Americans have incomes of less than $1000 per year, a
similar slogan might advantageously inspire all city planning
in America.

The strengthening of civic pride and the recognition of the
importance of housing the masses decently must soon become
one of the main objects of social, economic and political en
deavors and of historic research. A corresponding reorganiza
tion of all human enterprise and of all human appreciation is
necessary.

The history of great cities (such as Athens and Rome) and
of nations (such as the Egyptian, the French or the English)
was formerly, for the most part, written in terms of coronations,
battles and conquests, domination and starvation. Later and
wiser historians wrote histories of "cultural" development. But
upon closer inspection this culture turned out to be largely the
preoccupation or sport of a comparatively small upper class
without due consideration for the masses slaving for their "bet-



xviii INTRODUCTION

ters." Histories of "economic progress" have been written and
were largely accounts of the achievements of "robber barons."

Although most historic writing is produced and consumed
by city dwellers and deals with the progress of cities, the history
of city planning and housing and their political background is
still for the most part unconsidered and unwritten. Only such
history, however, can reach the rock bottom of facts. It can
thus reveal the truth about the economic, social and political
position of the individual and of the masses.

How many square feet of sheltered floor area and of open
garden space, how many cubic feet of air, how much privacy,
free movement, easily accessible play area and forest, how
much water for swimming and boating can the average indi
vidual enjoy undisturbedly in a given region or country? If
we can supply the answers to these important questions, we can
not only measure the essential achievements of city planning
but we also are permitted a fairly accurate idea of the individ
ual's true opportunities in his material life; and we even come
curiously close to knowing what his opportunities may be for
a spiritual life and for communication with nature or with his
God, and also what hope there is of his escaping his devil, real
or imaginary.

The outworn term "civilization" will gradually give way
to the fresher and more specific (although etymologically almost
identical) term "urbanism" and its new, definite, but wide im
plication.



Since the conception of this volume quite a number of new



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