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Harvard has been justly proud of her pioneering record in general planning. It was only natural, then, to hear protests from graduates and others when it was announced last February that the School of Regional Planning was to cease to exist as a separate entity.
Unfortunately, a great many assumed that the University had delivered a coup de grace. But nothing of the sort really happened. When the Rockefeller Foundation withdrew its support, representing 75% of the School's income, the University rushed to the rescue with an oxygen tent.
The saving device was a thorough reorganization of the Schools of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Regional Planning. All three were incorporated as separate departments under a "School of Design". In this way administrative costs were reduced, and the University, now the sole contributor to the Department of Regional Planning, made its support effective.
It is true that for the year 1936-7 there will be a temporary hiatus insofar as the enrollment of new students in the Department of Regional Planning is concerned, for the contribution from the general fund will be used largely to complete research already undertaken. Beginning next year, however funds will be released for other purposes.
Meanwhile the School of Design as a unit has shown many signs of brimming vitality. Among the most important of its innovations was the creation, in conjunction with the Division of Fine Arts, of a new undergraduate field of concentration in the history and principles of design. Of a more general character was the decision to consolidate scholarships, following the Conant plan, so that the range from $200-$1200 will be adjusted to financial need. Further the facilities of the draughting rooms and the library have been much improved.
Incorporation of the School of Regional Planning in the thoroughly alive School of Design offered the only real solution. Not only are costs cut, but greater integration of related subjects results. With its great budgetary loss, the Department of Regional Planning cannot, of course, function as well as it did in the past, but with its decks cleared for action, it stands ready to use every future contribution in the most effective manner.
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