A Noteworthy Report
The city of St. Louis, Mo., last year adopted the Zone system for its future development and a City Plan Commission was appointed to study existing conditions and provide for amelioration of undesirable features, where possible and avoidance where that could be effected. The Commission has recently handed in its report, of which this journal has received a copy and it proves to be a noteworthy document that might be used by other municipalities, to advantage. The building code already in force, is supplemented and strengthened by the legislation which created the commission and its members have shown their capacity for valuable constructive work in the report. Sanitation, fire protection, water, light and transportation service, all are taken into consideration in the plans for transforming what some of its residents do not hesitate to characterize as “a dirty, unattractive town” into a beautiful as well as constantly expanding municipality. The introduction to the report on the zone plan may be quoted, as the clearest exposition of the idea. It says, in part: “Zoning” is that part of the City Plan which coordinates the other component parts of the plan by regulating the use, height, size and arrangement of buildings in accordance with a predetermined city-wide scheme of development. Zoning is a legitimate exercise of the police power in the interests of public safety, health and general welfare. The establishment and growth of cities is partly a natural and partly an artificial process. It is the function of the city plan, and particularly of the zone plan, scientifically so to promote the natural processes and so to curb and direct the artificial processes of growth that the city may become a place of safety in which to live and work. where healthful living conditions obtain, where the amenities of life may be enjoyed and wherein the physical structure of the city mav be commensurate with the city’s need.
The appalling wastefulness of cities in human life and in economic resources has given rise in recent years to demand for remedial action rather than to depend further upon unsatisfactory palliative measures which neither cure nor completely curb existing evils. Overcrowding of the land with its consequent increase in immorality, crime and disease is but one of the direct results of unrestrained city growth. Wholesale shifting of neighborhoods with consequent deterioration of property and depreciation of property value is but one of many more conditions that now prevail in large cities, and are in process of formation in smaller cities, as a result of undirected growth.
“City planning has for its object, as already stated, the building of new cities and the rebuilding of existing cities along sound economic lines, and not, as so often erroneously stated, to make cities merely beautiful. Tersely stated, city planning aims to bring order out of chaos and chaotic practices in city growth. It is the whole plan that counts, and to consider streets, transit, transportation, recreation or the creation of districts for industry, commerce or residence without considering its relation to the others, is to ignore the basis upon which the entire plan is based and to fail to grasp the full purport of the city plan.”