The pictures drawn by imaginative architects of what New York will look like fifty years from now, with huge buildings and three or four street levels, have always appealed to an innate American love of size merely for its own sake. Mr. Clarence S. Stein, who is apparently unaffected by this booster spirit, writes in the current number of The Survey of some breakdowns in the superstructure of New York. "Inadequate housing facilities, inadequate water supplies, inadequate transportation", he writes," these are but the larger and more obvious ills that derive from congestion of population."
Foreign delegates to the International Planning Conference which met last week in New York refused to go into ecstasies over the greatest collection of tall buildings in the world. One of them Dr. Raymond Unwin of England, even dared to call it "congested impotence". With eyes unprejudiced by the American axiom that the biggest thing must necessarily be the best, these men looked into the future and recoiled at the thought of fifty-story apartment houses so thickly set that the people will have to take turns walking on the street. They believe the solution lies in "satellite" cities, garden suburbs, and an efficient rapid transit system.
New York is giving the philosophy of height a trial. New Yorkers look forward eagerly to a city two or three times thicker in cross-section than it is now, evidently willing to put up with vertical existence for the satisfaction of saying that they live in the biggest city in the world. Meanwhile crystal gazers predict that the decentralization of New York must come about some day, not with the consent of the inhabitants to be sure, but in spite of it.