Atkins Hits Role Of City Planners

"I'd be perfectly content to live in an ugly house if it were functional," Boston City Councillor Thomas I. Atkins said last night.

In a lecture on "The Kind of Planning We Need," Atkins condemned city planners for preferring "drawing board beauty" to the kind of neighborhoods that people want to live in.

Atkins' lecture was the second in the series The Urban Crisis sponsored by the Harvard-M.I.T. Joint Center for Urban Studies.

"Some street plans are more difficult to police, some more difficult to service with oil trucks, mailmen, and bread delivery. But how often do urban planners consult truckdrivers?" Atkins asked.

Far Ahead

Boston is far ahead of most cities in bringing neighborhood people into the planning process, said Atkins, but not far enough. An elected neighborhood board was allowed to make changes in the original Boston Model Cities plan.

However, Atkins said, the ideal situation would be to consult with residents from the beginning of the project.

Atkins urged that area residents be brought into the construction of buildings, too. "If a job is available in Area X for an unskilled person, get an unskilled person in Area X to do it."

"Community residents want a piece of the action," he said.