This is Clarence Stein's valuable document of the housing and planning experiments that began with Sunnyside Gardens in New York City during the nineteen-twenties and which marked the beginning of modern planning and housing in the United States. It is a study of deliberate planning and replanning of suburban towns to make them safer, more efficient, and better adapted to modern living.
Lewis Mumford remarks in the introduction: “No book in this field could be more pertinent to our present task, or more salutary; for both the housing and the city planning movement have reached a point where, to justify their existence they must depart from their familiar stereotypes and strike off boldly along the lines indicated by the planning work of Clarence Stein and Henry Wright.”
The work Clarence Stein took part in as architect and planner went on against a background of wider public education and social concern and had as its ultimate aim the use of the power and wealth of the State to co-ordinate all the forces that create communities and to make them serve public rather than private and selfish ends. Stein treated these experiments in housing as a proving ground for methods that would later be used on a far wider scale. He became something more than an architect and planner: he was the foremost exponent, in his generation, of urban statesmanship. The work he has demonstrated are not forms to be copied, but a spirit to be assimilated and carried further, a method of integration to be perfected, a body of tradition to be modified and transmitted and in time transmuted into new forms that will reflect the needs and desires and hopes of another age.