The accelerated growth of cities and the constant need for expanded business space have become characteristic of all highly developed economies and will remain a continuing factor in the urban environment everywhere. How to accommodate this growth efficiently, gracefully, and with concern for human values is the challenge which this book seeks to explore.
Urban Design Manhattan, prepared by Rai Y. Okamoto and Frank E. Williams, Urban-Design Consultants to the Regional Plan Association, uses Midtown Manhattan, “the center of centers,” to demonstrate the application of urban-design principles. The “Access Tree” principle calls for integration of the horizontal and vertical movement in our urban centers. The corresponding form consequence of “Highs and Lows” has been applied at many different scales. This urban-design study not only expose the problem but presents a powerful visual statement of what urban centers can be, always with ultimate concern that human needs and human scale prevail over the forces that are shaping urban centers today.
The problem of most urban redesign is not primarily the lack of imaginative designers or of architects, engineers, and planners, but of a practical method of harnessing the unrivaled vitality of private developers and investors to work with the city authorities and thus to concert their energies to create the new centers which fit modern needs.