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If President Eliot's decision to institute physical sciences was a turning point in Harvard history, the organization of a Department of Architectural Science for next year is hardly less important. Now, as then, the College is responding to one of the nation's greatest needs--better building and better housing. The purpose of this new field to "afford an organized survey of the general knowledge underlying the architectural professions and a specific training in those habits ... essential to success in these professions" embraces more than just technical instruction; it is intended to give all, whether they be architects or not, the basic concepts of better living conditions.
The immediate advantages the student may gain from this new field are manifold. Not only will concentration in the Department reduce the length of the entire course by a full year, but two new surveys, each of which will last two years, will help integrate the material to be covered. From his undergraduate studies, the student will also be able to judge his aptitude for the work.
But the most valuable aspect of this field will probably be its influence on men who plan to go into business or public life. Architectural Science will, Dean Hudnut hopes, teach the importance of city planning, organization of public spaces, and all other expedients which will alleviate the deplorable conditions existing today. The very fact that the field will not take regional planning or housing in their technical contexts but only in their broadest implications increases its value.
As President Roosevelt has pointed out, housing conditions in this country have sunken to such a level that they constitute a national problem, a problem with which the present generation must come to grips. Earvard, by its action, has shown that it is still in close touch with actualities and is as anxious as the Democratic Party to relieve "one-third of the nation."
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