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Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change

Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change shows how the resilience of iconic planned communities, from New Lanark to Seaside, depends upon diverse approaches to sustaining their visionary spirit and features while adapting them to the needs of later generations.

Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change

Edited by Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay, and Robert Freestone

2019 | 544 pages | Cloth $49.95
Architecture / Public Policy / History
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Table of Contents

Introduction. Toward Critical Resilience in Iconic Planned Communities
—Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay, and Robert Freestone

Chapter 1. New Lanark: Sustaining Robert Owen's Legacy in Scotland
—John Minnery
Chapter 2. Riverside: The First Comprehensively Designed Suburban Community in the United States
—David Schuyler
Chapter 3. English Garden Cities: Challenges of Conservation and Change
—Mervyn Miller
Chapter 4. Uplands: A Residential Park in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
—Larry McCann
Chapter 5. Menteng: Heritage of a Planned Community in a Southeast Asian Megacity
—Christopher Silver
Chapter 6. Colonel Light Gardens: History, Heritage, and the Enduring Garden Suburb in Adelaide, South Australia
—Christine Garnaut and Robert Freestone
Chapter 7. Den-en Chōfu: The First Japanese "Garden City"
—André Sorensen and Shun-ichi J. Watanabe
Chapter 8. The Jardim América and Pacaembu Garden Suburbs: Facing the Changes to the Metropolis of São Paulo
—Maria Cristina da Silva Leme and Carlos Roberto Monteiro de Andrade
Chapter 9. Garbatella: Heritage, Gentrification, and Public Policies in Rome, Italy
—Sandra Annunziata
Chapter 10. Sunnyside Gardens and Radburn: The Common Legacy and Divergent Experiences of Community Life
—John J. Pittari Jr.
Chapter 11. Cité Frugès: Le Corbusier's Paradoxical Appropriation in Pessac, France
—Gilles Ragot
Chapter 12. The Römerstadt Settlement: The "New Life" in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
—Susan R. Henderson
Chapter 13. Soweto: Planning for Apartheid and Preserving the Garden City Townships of Johannesburg, South Africa
—Angel David Nieves
Chapter 14. Wythenshawe: Manchester's Municipal Garden City
—James Hopkins and Michael Hebbert
Chapter 15. Sabaudia: Foundation, Growth, and Critical Memory in the Last Italian City
—Jean-François Lejeune
Chapter 16. Greenbelt: Sustaining the New Deal Legacy
—Mary Corbin Sies and Isabelle Gournay
Chapter 17. Bat˙ovany-Partizánske: A Functionalist Company Town in Slovakia
—Alena Kubova-Gauché and Isabelle Gournay
Chapter 18. Tapiola: From Garden City to National Landscape Icon in Finland
—Arnold R. Alanen
Chapter 19. Seaside: Iconic Community of the New Urbanism
—Steven W. Hurtt
Chapter 20. Iconic Planned Communities: The Power of Visual Representations
—Isabelle Gournay
Chapter 21. Afterword: Lessons of the Iconic Planned Community
—R. Bruce Stephenson

List of Contributors
Index
Acknowledgments


Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

Introduction
Toward Critical Resilience in Iconic Planned Communities
Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay, and Robert Freestone

What happens to iconic planned communities once their glory days are over? How have they fared in navigating the inevitable challenges of growth and development, economic changes, and shifting demographics? What impact does their planning pedigree have on their viability? And what solutions or responses have stakeholders devised to preserve the key features and ideals of their purposeful designs while adapting to changing circumstances? Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change offers the first thoroughgoing attempt to address these questions by presenting nineteen international case studies examining the challenges that diverse iconic planned communities have faced in the decades following their initial heydays.

We conceived this collection in order to begin an international conversation on whether to conserve these iconic places as they evolve through time, and how to preserve the spirit and practical value of their innovative planning. A worldwide group of scholars brings the histories of these places up to date, reporting the ideas and strategies for preserving and building resilience in iconic planned communities in the recent past and present. By including a range of case studies on six continents, our volume encourages comparative analysis and cross-fertilization of the strategies that communities have deployed to sustain their planning legacies. Our aim is to bring prominence to these issues and to share knowledge among planners, planning historians, architects, preservationists, and local stakeholders around the globe.

We focus on some of the most iconic examples of planned residential greenfield communities constructed around the world from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. They include a spectrum of types: low-density garden suburbs, middle- to upper-middle-class enclaves and working-class communities, company towns, medium-density mixed-use developments, comprehensively planned suburbs, New Towns, and modern master-planned developments. The communities vary in terms of scale, function, private or public sponsorship, natural assets, densities, proximity to metropolitan centers, housing styles, affordability, range of amenities, governance, design philosophies, and heritage recognition and protection. They collectively illustrate an instructive set of conservation challenges, responses, and outcomes.

All of these places, when conceived, represented new departures in physical planning and social and often political thought in their countries. Their subsequent development has tended to combine master planning that sets an overall vision with everyday efforts to change, maintain, improve, or adapt the community's distinctive features. Each community's planners designed the landscape and the built environment holistically, harnessing design to advance social goals (Gibson and Pendlebury 2009). We thus emphasize both dimensions in the phrase "planned community" to capture the physical and social plan contributing the broad framework that serves the residents. Our central proposition emerges with this understanding: both top-down (planned) and bottom-up (community) initiatives must contribute in dynamic combination to achieve ongoing livability and resilience.

Frequently planners, scholars, and tourists come to know the kinds of planned communities we feature through their iconic imagery. Such powerful and resonant representations—think of the languid sense of space conveyed in the design for Riverside, the artfully rendered Welwyn Garden City plan, or the pristine sunbelt neotraditionalism of the Seaside streetscape—can focus attention on an idealization of planning and architecture, as if they were frozen in time. In our collection, however, the authors reveal iconic planned communities as messier, inhabited places.

Two of the editors, Mary Corbin Sies and Isabelle Gournay, reside in Greenbelt. When they began studying how this historic New Deal community near Washington, DC, had preserved the key features of its original planning, they discovered a complicated and potentially vulnerable situation (Gournay and Sies 2010). Although Greenbelt currently enjoys robust zoning protection, the city does not control its statutory or regulatory fate; the county does. Efforts to designate Greenbelt as a historic district on the United States National Register of Historic Places have not yet succeeded. The city, which has blocked the historic district nomination, has acted nonetheless to protect Greenbelt's assets. It has purchased and renovated several key properties, spruced up the landscaping of the town center, and reacquired portions of the original greenbelt. Citizens, however, have mustered the most effective form of protection to date; they have fought diligently across the decades to help shape Greenbelt's growth and preserve its key environmental and social features. An ongoing tradition of civic activism, which takes the form of steadfast loyalty to what some residents call their "Greenbelt principles," has shaped the town's enduring respect for its original planning ideas (Gournay and Sies 2010; Knepper 2001).

This is not a unique story. All the contributors to this volume report on how iconic planned communities experience and negotiate the challenges of change on the ground. If some iconic places seem timelessly two-dimensional because we have learned about them chiefly through imagery, this volume will bring readers up to date on how such communities have changed, sustained, and survived, despite threats such as burgeoning development on the one hand or damaging decline on the other, changing economic fortunes and drivers, evolving social relations, and, common to each, the passage of time. The key contribution is to assess these places created by planning from the past as they are lived now.

We present a philosophy toward conserving iconic planned communities that emphasizes the complexities of lived places undergoing change: changes in economy, society, population, culture, politics, regional context, and the built environment itself. In his study of Seaside, Steven Hurtt restates founder Robert Davis's articulation of a key dilemma that planned communities face: "How do we preserve the physical representations of our culture, place, and history, hold onto the material culture of the past, while the culture itself evolves—an evolution that inevitably changes the material culture?" (Hurtt, in this volume). Davis takes the view that most neighborhoods naturally undergo a process of "successional urbanism" (Davis 2013, 603). It is not a new concept. In 1949 the pioneering planner and preservationist Carl Feiss observed that a preservation plan "cannot survive in conflict with the growth of the place in which it is to be found nor can its development ignore the basic drives behind our dynamic society" (Feiss 1956, 4). More recently, Dennis Domer argued that freezing buildings or districts at a moment in history "misrepresents the basis of their history, which is adaptation and change over time" (2009, 95). In this collection, the contributors grapple with how to conserve the intrinsically special qualities of physical and social planning in a way that also serves the changing needs and circumstances of the people who live in iconic planned communities now (Isenstadt 2001, 41).

Resilience

We have carefully considered whether and how to characterize our preservation goals for iconic planned communities with the term resilience. A contested concept, resilience has a range of definitions, but for our purposes, we define it in two ways: (1) the capacity of a community to experience stress or acute trauma while retaining function, structure, communal activity, and identity and/or (2) the capacity to change and adapt in order to maintain signature planning features and, therefore, identity and sense of place (McPhearson 2014, 3). Recurring stresses in the context of iconic planned communities include rising housing costs, inadequate transportation links, loss of open space, deteriorating infrastructure, development pressures, crime, adaptation to changing fashion, and community conflict. Acute traumas encompass infrastructure failures, loss of symbolic landscapes or structures, planning violations (such as highways bisecting communities), dramatic changes in political structure, and economic collapses caused by recessions or deindustrialization. Resilience is a process that happens in context, where, as our case studies will show, the devil is in the details and no single formula can foster resilience in every location.

The constant contextual factor for iconic planned communities is their distinctive planning legacy, environmental and social, which effective resilience planning has to acknowledge. For that reason, we insist that preservation must become a central component of how we think about resilience, despite the fact that heritage considerations are frequently omitted from discussions about planning for resilience or sustainability (Kroessler 2014). In iconic planned communities, protecting heritage promotes resilience by contributing to cultural identity, social cohesion, stakeholders' sense of place, and, in some communities, economic vitality, as long as the original planning features continue to enhance livability and the needs and well-being of community members (Jigyasu 2013).

Heritage also expresses culture's important role in ensuring the effectiveness and inclusiveness of resilience planning because cultural action is required to lay the groundwork for a resilient and sustainable community. Timon McPhearson (2014) advocates that planners link resilience to sustainability, so that the former helps communities move toward the latter aim of securing a world that can continue to provide future generations with a satisfactory quality of life. Jon Hawkes goes so far as to embrace culture as the "fourth pillar" of sustainability alongside economic development, ecological responsibility, and social equity. He argues that "a sustainable society depends upon a sustainable culture" with a shared sense of meaning and purpose (Hawkes 2001, 12). Cultural values and practices give a community identity, cohesiveness, and meaning; thus, the cultural pillar plays a vital role in activating a community's will to achieve sustainability. Heritage has a strong role to play in that process. According to Rohit Jigyasu, UNESCO Chair Professor at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, cultural heritage is increasingly instrumental in influencing the resilience and well-being of communities: "The acknowledgement and conservation of the diversity of cultural heritage, fair access to it and equitable sharing of the benefits deriving from its use enhance the feeling of place and belonging, mutual respect and sense of collective purpose, and ability to maintain a common good, which has the potential to contribute to the social cohesion of a community and reduce inequalities" (2013, 15). Many, though by no means all, iconic planned communities articulated social compacts like these in their original planning, and many scholars have pointed out how important the maintenance of cultural diversity and genuine civic engagement are for any strategy to build resilience (Jigyasu 2013; Vale 2016). With appropriate understanding and encouragement, each iconic community's planning heritage should feature prominently in its ability to mobilize action and improve the structures and functions that make it vital, livable, and adaptable to change (Jigyasu 2013).

Thus, the concept we expound here is a critical resilience, as Larry Vale defines the term: an approach that addresses contested questions in our communities. Who decides how to deal with stresses and traumas? Who controls the funding? Who benefits from those decisions? Which places and people suffer or get overlooked? (2016, 15). For Tom Slater, a British urban geographer, resilience and sustainability, for that matter, are pernicious buzzwords, veiling neoliberal policies that return cities to "the desired status quo of capital accumulation and elite wealth capture" while dispossessing the middle class and dislocating the poor (2014, 3). Critiques of neoliberal urban policies have relevance for iconic planned communities, some of which have seen the social equity of their original planning ethos eroded by gentrification or economic restructuring. Several contributors in this book raise troubling questions about equity, diversity, and runaway consumerism as they ponder questions such as the following: Who are the stewards overseeing heritage preservation and in whose interests are they acting? How are multiple heritages—either endemic to the design of iconic planned communities or introduced by demographic changes—preserved and interpreted? Do garden city forms, which guided many twentieth-century planned communities, still provide for equitable and livable places?

In connecting the importance of heritage preservation to contemporary well-being, social cohesion, and sustainable development, we advocate a critical resilience that provides an equitable sharing of the benefits of living. The critical resilience we envision is flexible and adaptable, and it has several components, beginning with the study and adjustment of the essential structure of the planning so that it can function accountably and continue to meet the needs of the stakeholder community today and in the future. Achieving resilience in these communities requires robust participation from stakeholder groups living or doing business there. The kind of grassroots planning needed is not tokenism toward different segments of the community but an inclusive effective engagement that mines cultural perspectives and knowledge bases as vital resources for achieving resilience. As Michele Grossman has argued, "ethnocultural diversity," and we would add class diversity, "needs to be understood and incorporated into resilience planning as an asset to be built upon or a resource to be valued and mobilized, rather than a problem to be surmounted or redressed" (2013, 9). This grassroots planning process has to grapple with assessing and adapting the community's distinctive physical and social design features inherited from the past to its present context and needs. It has to determine whether and how to embrace or adapt the cultural values and heritage of the place.

Effective critical resilience planning strives to be inclusive regarding who decides these matters and draws on community building and place-specific identity resources inherent to the original planning. Where appropriate, communities may debate how to acknowledge and provide for multiple kinds of uses, understandings of identity, and interpretations of cultural meaning and heritage. Readers will discover a range of efforts, with differing rates of success, for how communities address these components of critical resilience in the following chapters.

Idealism, Heritage, and Economic Revitalization

Besides resilience, three other lines of scholarly inquiry are relevant to this project, each with its own literature. The first is the history of the planned community as a fundamental touchstone of modern city planning's idealism. This particular genealogy (Daniels 2009; Reiner 1963) encompasses the continuous reinvention and refinement of planners' belief in the efficacy of the well-designed place through various sociospatial expressions: from utopian communities and garden cities or suburbs to workers' towns, master-planned communities, New Towns, eco-villages, and the like. Apart from general place histories, many examples of which are cited in the case studies, scholars have analyzed the origins of these different community types, dissected their built forms, investigated their social and power structures, and assessed their livability in diverse postoccupancy studies (Grant 2006; Hall 2014; Mandelker 2010; Ward 2002). How planned places have accommodated processes of social, economic, and physical change and how these processes affected their distinctiveness as recognizably designed environments have already attracted some interest (Bartling 2007; Department for Communities and Local Government 2006; Forsyth 2005; Larkham 2004; Lee and Stabin-Nesmith 2001; Nyström and Lundström 2006; Pacione 2011; Whitehand and Carr 2001) and will be the primary focus of our collection.

A second thread centers on environmental heritage and concern with the conservation of the built environment, encompassing a range of practices such as preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and adaptation (Domer 2009; Marquis-Kyle and Walker 2004). The importance of recognizing the heritage of planned communities was identified in a seminal contribution by Carl Feiss in the 1940s. Feiss shifted preservationists' attention toward entire planned communities rather than individual buildings but lamented that "few of those communities, designed and built as complete units, have come down to us unmutilated" (Feiss 1941, 28). Another strand of this literature explores how the conservation, improvement, and utilization of existing built resources make crucial contributions to sustainable urban development in the broadest sense (Allison and Peters 2011; Gause and Franko 2007). Beyond the resilience literature, the connections among the history of planning, heritage conservation, livability, and sustainability turn out to be richly multifaceted (Avrami 2016; Longstreth 2011a; Rodwell 2007). Cultural issues remain something of a lacuna, a situation that this volume tries to remedy.

An important observation made by Feiss that has held up over time and across national borders is that few jurisdictions have effective mechanisms for preserving the key features of the master planning of entire communities. Part of the novelty of our book lies in a global comparative examination of how diverse places unified only by their significance in planning history have adapted to changing circumstances shaped by evolving social, political, and economic climates. The challenges they have faced are myriad: physical obsolescence for some communities and population growth pressures for others; threats to the environment; socioeconomic and demographic upheavals; declining or surging economic bases; destructive effects of infrastructure improvements, especially transportation; changes in local, regional, and national governance; and changing attitudes to conservation and protective statutes. The purity of the iconic communities celebrated in planning history textbooks has been buffeted relentlessly by broader forces of change.

Inevitably, some communities have survived and prospered, others have faltered and lost the mantle that once made them special, and most will boast a mixed conservation history. Because we are concerned with stimulating discussion and action regarding the challenges and opportunities for preservation, we have generally selected success stories, avoiding all-too-familiar worst-case scenarios and topocide (Porteous 1988). We are interested in recording constructive strategies—no matter what form they take—for the preservation of a planned community's most significant features, including their adaptation to meet the livability needs of present generations. Our intention is to inspire diverse stakeholders to inform themselves how best to harness their communities' distinctive heritage toward achieving resilience in environments of growth and change.

A third body of literature probes the relationship between preservation and economic revitalization. Preservation scholars often assume that one produces the other; the American real estate consultant Donovan D. Rypkema's The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader's Guide (1994) argues this close connection. More recently, however, scholars charge that little data exists to justify preservation on economic grounds. Erica Avrami (2016, 108) points out that little research has been conducted to assess "designation's impact on places and people, and on the local economy." The American urban studies scholars Stephanie Ryberg-Webster and Kelly L. Kinahan's review of this issue in 2014 turns up a range of ideas for how preservation can contribute to economic revitalization but concludes there is insufficient empirical testing of impact to date. Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change will not provide a definitive answer, but it joins the call that more research needs to be done to test this relationship; we insist that heritage conservation and economic strategies should be considered in relation to one another.

Planning, Architecture, and Community Building

The afterlives of iconic planned communities raise questions resonant for all communities attempting to define and maintain their connections to place and heritage and ultimately to achieve resilience in contemporary contexts fraught by economic decline, growth, changing demographics, and redevelopment. In his afterword, Bruce Stephenson suggests that "the prescience of this book was to document how residents translated their sacredness of place into a set of principles to navigate the future." Given the differences between the iconic places in this book, the varied regulatory environments and cultural traditions of their nations, and the range of challenges they face, we cannot logically present a "one-size-fits-all" set of principles to guide their planning and preservation. We aim, instead, to begin a cross-cultural conversation that draws insights from our authors about the key qualities, practices, and principles that make iconic planned communities as livable and resilient as possible for today's and tomorrow's generations.

The strongest conclusion that we derive from our chapters is our authors' observation that the quality of original planning is the single most important factor that ensures that an iconic planned community's distinctive features and livability will remain viable. Important factors for what enhances resilience, in other words, are effective planning vision, quality of design, and attention to both the social and physical fabric of the place. How has this worked? Stakeholders often say that remaining true to their community's plan and original vision makes the place livable over the long term and correlates with a well-functioning social fabric. These qualities inspire stewards to fight for their communities by supporting protective and revitalization measures to address disruptive challenges, as readers will see when perusing the case studies. Resilient iconic planned communities are more successful in managing even major changes—such as political transformations, economic distress, and population shifts—when the core features that make these locales desirable places to live stay mostly intact.

The key feature of nearly all of these places is their integration of planning, architecture, and community building. Such holistic planning poses challenges for stakeholders, especially as time goes on. How can iconic planned communities maintain their interrelated systems of place-making? To be effective, preservation and resilience strategies must be unsiloed so that they address the physical and environmental needs of a changing community along with its social, economic, cultural, and political facets (Ryberg-Webster and Kinahan 2014). In New Lanark, the Uplands, Colonel Light Gardens, Greenbelt, Tapiola, and Seaside, among other examples discussed in this book, residents, governing bodies, and local associations interweave community protections, activities to promote consciousness of heritage, civic pride and engagement, regulations such as zoning and design review, and designation, sometimes over a long period of time, in response to threats and changes. The following chapters reveal the different multiplicities of formal and informal protections that iconic planned communities produce to preserve the legacy and spirit of their holistic design. They also demonstrate the admirable interdisciplinary reach of scholarship that enables stakeholders to appreciate the complex balance of protection and revitalization that safeguards these planning legacies and makes them workable for those who inhabit them today.

Iconic planned communities, as Bruce Stephenson observes, "nurture our elemental instinct for communal life." We learn that the places most successful in fostering vital community life and civic engagement are most proactive in generating effective responses to the challenges of change. The most resilient communities link stakeholders to one another to create "more healthy and vital neighborhoods" (Gause and Franko 2007, 7). But how is that accomplished? As our authors reveal, our case studies have a mixed record on engaging residents and other stakeholders to build a resilient community capable of withstanding threats. The most successful create both the precedent and the capacity to involve local people in preservation planning and ascertain what stakeholders value in their cultural and physical environments and let that guide their heritage protection efforts (King 2011, 24). In addition, they unpack the differential impact of policies and protections on the range of income and cultural groups in the community (Vale 2016, 18). One of the most prominent patterns that our book uncovers is that once residents determine the tangible or intangible heritage they most value in their communities, they find ways to sustain it, frequently for decades.

Where community engagement is most robust, strong stewardship emerges to demand conservation of valued features in planning and architecture and to help manage the community's heritage. Stewardship can take different forms and manifest at different intensities. In Riverside, the original design and livability conferred have inspired multiple generations of residents to cherish and fight for maintenance of its iconic features. The same might be said for Colonel Light Gardens. In Japan, where mainstream culture does not highly regard preservation or provide a regulatory framework for the protection of houses, residents living in Den-en Chôfu have fostered a consensus that values the community's lush gardenlike landscaping and have maintained it over time. In Sunnyside Gardens, stewardship takes the form of democratic governance with strong citizen and municipal participation. In the garden communities of Letchworth, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Welwyn, which benefit from designated conservation areas, private organizations are the primary stewards; they exercise planning authority and design review as they administer the respective schemes of management in place. In Greenbelt, multiple stewards—the municipality, its Department of Planning and Community Development, citizen volunteers, citizen activists, and the local newspaper—look after the town's tangible and intangible heritage. In iconic planned communities lacking local stewardship, planning can suffer and conservation can be harder to achieve.

Because our volume focuses on how iconic planned communities negotiate the challenges of change, one of our strongest contributions is a detailed comparative portrait of how this is done. As the heritage scholar Laurajane Smith argues, "Heritage is not only about the mediation of cultural and social conflicts, but is ultimately about the mediation of cultural change" (2006, 82). Our chapters should enable readers to build their knowledge about the strategies, practices, and mechanisms that places deploy to achieve their own balance between preservation and change and with what results. For example, some of our case studies depict communities that demonstrate the "capacity to change in order to maintain the same identity" (McPhearson 2014, 3). This is most dramatically the case in New Lanark where World Heritage Site designation and creative public-private partnerships have enabled the town to restore and adaptively reuse decommissioned mill buildings without sacrificing its historic legacy of labor history and social reform. Menteng's comprehensive planning, amenities, and status inspired aggressive stewardship and resourceful protection of the exclusive lifestyle the enclave was intended to provide, despite Indonesia's decolonization, Jakarta's transition to megacity status, and the suburb's racial shift in population. At the Cité Frugès, Le Corbusier's response to garden city housing, the original residents rejected the design of their units, adapting them in inharmonious ways. Over time, though, a flexible regulatory system has persuaded residents to reappropriate the radical modernist architecture, and the development is gradually returning to its original design heritage.

The details of how our case studies have accommodated change provide a range of creative strategies and resources for stakeholders in other communities. On the other hand, our collection also contains examples of excessive change, when alterations to the iconic built environment compromise the spirit of the original planning. In Römerstadt, for example, the autobahn has bisected the community, interrupting the plan's integrity, vistas, and pedestrian mobility. In Sabaudia, the monumental city center and much of the original architecture are intact, but inadequate infrastructure and lack of growth controls over new development have stressed the town as it has transitioned from an agricultural to a more diverse economic center. These, among other, chapters analyze the lessons learned from planning failures and provide astute suggestions for accommodating their evolving circumstances while revitalizing key features of their iconic or social landscapes.

There are many preservation success stories among the garden cities and suburbs included in our chapters; the regulatory practices and mechanisms protecting these places are multilayered, resourceful, and worth studying in detail. Some communities inspired by the garden city movement raise troubling questions, however, about how we understand conservation, who it benefits, and at what point a garden city is no longer ideologically a garden city. Hampstead Garden Suburb, for example, cannot expand its territory or its density, so real estate values and gentrification have risen to the stratosphere. Wythenshawe has experienced the opposite problem as a result of multiple violations of the intended spirit of its planning: higher-density housing to accommodate people displaced by slum clearance in Manchester, highways routed through the garden city, lack of access to mass transportation, and a plague of crime, drug use, and poverty. At present, however, an infusion of resources into transportation, education, public health, housing, and policing is aimed at returning Wythenshawe to its original philosophy and architecture. Time will tell whether this community can restore the livability and communal social fabric associated with its origins. Tapiola applied the garden city idea to house a mix of Finnish citizens and housing types set in an idyllic and healthful site of field and forest. With increased urban development and departure from its original spirit, the town strives to maintain key features establishing its claim to identify as a garden city. With its transformation, Tapiola has moved from its original philosophy of anti-urbanism and anticonsumerism to a vibrant urban consumerist environment. These case studies raise questions about where one draws the line in determining whether the spirit of the original planning has been violated or sustained and whether the garden city form can provide livable towns in an era of late capitalism.

Affordability, Equity, and Rebuilding Social Fabric

Regardless of how seamless or difficult any town's adaptation to changing circumstances has become, our chapters clearly acknowledge the relentless pace and variety of challenges and opportunities that change brings in the decades after an iconic planned community's glory days. Since the Greenbelt chapter was completed in 2015, for example, five new threats or opportunities related to the city's preservation have surfaced. First, alterations have violated the design integrity of some of the iconic garden apartments. Second, the county's rewriting of its zoning code will eliminate Residential Planned Community (RPC) districts and substitute a yet unknown status, which may or may not afford the ongoing protection for Greenbelt's built environment. Third, the Greenbelt Museum has acquired an adjacent unit, allowing the museum to expand its heritage presence in the community. Fourth, state officials have proposed routing a high-speed magnetic levitation train through the edge of Greenbelt. Fifth, a new voluntary preservation association is forming in response to these threats and opportunities. Greenbelt is hardly exceptional regarding the changes it is experiencing. Thus, we conclude this introduction with a call for ongoing dedication to the hard work of building resilient communities that take advantage of their heritage.

Iconic places experiencing the gravest challenges are most in need of community building and revitalization, but nearly all of our case studies could benefit from revisiting and enhancing their planning and social ideals as they engage the challenges of change. How to safeguard housing and communities earmarked for lower-income households is an important agenda item. Can iconic working-class or company towns be conserved without gentrification and displacement of residents? Measures to maintain or build affordable housing and to include industrial or service economy workers in local communal life are critical objectives and an acknowledgment that resilience requires a livable environment for all community dwellers.

Equity is a vital component of resilient communities, and it was an important premise of the social idealism that inspired many iconic planned communities. Does equity remain an important principle as these places have evolved over time and, if so, how does it manifest? There are three facets of equity important to think about. First, as Rohit Jigyasu (2013, 14) has asserted, "Cultural heritage continues to perform its irreplaceable role as a source of meaning and identity for communities and individuals. . . . Heritage is not a relic of the past, but is increasingly instrumental in steering sustainable development and the wellbeing of communities." To perform equitably, heritage conservation needs to represent and to engage all segments of the community. Second, maintaining cultural diversity into the future guarantees that communities can draw from a diverse set of cultural traditions and resources as they confront emerging challenges. This diversity principle is basic to cultural philosophies of sustainability and critical resilience; how to practice it in iconic planned communities today is one of the challenges these places face. Consequently, the third facet concerns how to engage the full range of constituents necessary to build a resilient community.

Thus, (re)establishing a robust communal social life is vital to the well-being of iconic planned communities. As we have suggested here, highly functioning social fabric helps galvanize residents to advocate for their cultural heritage and for policies that build resilience and represent everyone's interests. The Massachusetts Heritage Landscapes Inventory incorporates a participatory process of five goals that models a grassroots-driven procedure for bringing residents into important community conversations and integrating their needs and interests into any policy or political deliberations about revitalization or heritage conservation (Berg 2011, 30). We recommend it as a means of discovering what constituents value and of building community engagement from the ground up. Larry Vale's formula for cultivating critical resilience could be adapted to iconic planned communities as follows: (1) conservation of the planning and built environment; (2) restoration of a vital economy; (3) securing livability and well-being for all stakeholders, including the most vulnerable residents; and (4) making sure that governance or other community mechanisms are in place so that all categories of stakeholders can participate and be heard (2016, 19). This line of inquiry addresses the need to strengthen social fabric and generate new social ideals to safeguard and revitalize the communal life of iconic planned communities moving forward.

Our objective is to inform not only scholars but also decision makers, concerned citizens, and community advocates with findings to better frame an appreciation of both the challenges and opportunities presented for planned communities in dynamic twenty-first-century environments. We hope our book will stimulate scholars and stakeholders to recover many untold stories to engage in interdisciplinary conversations that generate ideas for addressing the challenges of affordability, equity, and rebuilding social fabric as well as many others. As advocates for critical resilience and preservation, we would also like to build greater capacity and infrastructure for international collaboration and research to address the challenges that iconic planned communities face. That might take the form of a task force to establish an international protocol for documenting the social, architectural, and planning features of these special places, for example, or convening international conferences to share research and strategies for building resilience that addresses heritage and social equity. The following chapters begin this process by analyzing how twenty-three iconic planned communities are addressing the challenge of change. We hope they will build knowledge about and cross-fertilize strategies for judiciously conserving their legacies and considering how to build critical resilience.

Note on Methodology

Most of our contributors have based their observations on fieldwork and extensive, even intimate, familiarity with the built and social environment and legacy issues in their planned communities, as well as wider research across a range of primary and secondary sources. Because iconic planned communities are complex and their designers conceived them holistically—thinking through the interrelationships between so many phenomena—the analyses reported here are necessarily nuanced and inclined toward reflection on how the whole system works (or falters). Our authors variously apply the benefits of their disciplinary and multidisciplinary training to make legible distinctively different perspectives on the locales they study. This volume brings together leading scholars in architectural, art, and planning history; landscape architecture; geography; city planning and urban studies; architecture and urban design; community development; historic preservation and heritage conservation; American and Africana studies; and housing policy. The cumulative effect of their observations about how iconic planned communities make use of their planning heritage as they negotiate the challenges of change should enhance readers' grasp of the holistic thinking needed to understand how planned communities fare over time (Longstreth 2011b, 113-14).

The holism of planned communities is important to emphasize because historic preservation, at least as it is practiced in the United States, can impose a false separation between design excellence and the historic significance of places. Our approach tries to expunge any artificial barrier between built environments and the social, political, economic, and cultural forces through which planned communities derive much of their meaning (Longstreth 1991; Striner 1995, 28). This inevitably leads to a diverse range of considerations, including ecosystems, site planning, infrastructure, housing and landscape design, public spaces, community engagement, governance, transportation connections, responsiveness to demographic diversity, power relations, political economy, access to services, and local culture (Gause and Franko 2007). In other words, our contributors aspire to understand the important relationships between relevant components of planned communities over time—at the levels of both formal and informal planning—and be proactive in recommending priorities that enable both the character-defining features of distinctive planning and the needs and wishes of contemporary users to flourish. The complexity and interdisciplinary thinking required may be one reason heritage fields and enterprises have not yet adequately tackled the challenge of preserving and ensuring resilient holistically planned communities. That is a conversation we hope this project will animate.

A Guide for Readers

When we invited contributors to submit case studies, we asked them to address a common set of questions to facilitate learning from comparative analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities that iconic planned communities are experiencing and the strategies they are or could be forging to deal with those issues. These questions included the following:


  • What are the strengths of the original physical/social planning, and how has the planning changed through time as the community has evolved physically, socially, and economically?

  • What is the status of the community today?

  • Which recent and current heritage issues have they faced?

  • What is the nature of the regulatory environment for managing heritage-related growth and change and at what jurisdictional level (local, state, regional, national) does this occur?

  • What means have these places used to maintain the key features of planning that made them special? Is it through official instruments, such as zoning, historic preservation mechanisms, and fine-grained development and environment control or by unofficial means such as grassroots community activism or resistance? What has and has not worked?

  • How are special features being threatened, compromised, adapted, or conserved as the community evolves to be workable for current and future residents?

  • What qualities of iconic planned communities make a place more successful in withstanding the challenges of change and growth?

  • Does official designation as a landmark or historic town help or hinder the preservation of an iconic planned community and how?


In our nineteen case study chapters, leading scholars analyze twenty-three planned communities with reference to these questions. In determining what constitutes an iconic place, we have prized communities recognized or marketed with widely circulated visual representations encapsulating their social and design tenets. Isabelle Gournay analyzes our understanding of iconicity in detail in Chapter 20. We do not claim that our selection comprises the only or the best set of iconic planned community types. We clearly could not include every important planned community in this collection, but we hope that our book will inspire a diverse range of stakeholders to think about the conservation issues of these and other iconic towns, suburbs, or villages and how to best preserve the spirit and practical value of their plans and ideals.

We asked contributors to address the most important events related to the conservation and legacy of their communities. Some of these are quite complicated histories and regulatory circumstances, so we have inserted tables that contain brief chronological overviews of conservation-related developments for each place. These summaries will enable easier comparative analysis and may help readers identify case studies containing issues or circumstances similar to planned communities in which they have an interest. The tables are embedded in each case study chapter.

Finally, although the number of illustrations for each chapter has been capped, we included a small section of color plates. One or more color images has been selected for each chapter because they fulfill one of the following criteria: (1) they are classic iconic images of the planned community, (2) they are prominent marketing or propaganda images, or (3) they capture important planning or preservation issues or developments that the community is facing at present.

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