As the sixth annual Urban Design Conference closed here Saturday, Frederick Gutheim, president of the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies, expressed hope that planners would take more careful note of changing sociological patterns because "city planning structures life" for urban populations.
Gutheim considered accessibility "the most important factor" in urban design, since it shapes employment opportunities, markets, and patterns of social relations among different classes of people in the city. He mentioned two changes in American sociology which are causing "irrevocable changes" in the way the city planner must think: high speed transportation and the large scale of the modern city.
Committee chairmen took up Gutheim's message. All asked that planners remember that American society is fragmented and physically and socially mobile. They warned against dull and unexciting architecture, and against designs which do not take into account the complete nature of the site.
In emphasizing that society is growing and changing tremendously fast, the designers called for a "visionary approach to the city"--designs flexible enough to fill needs for the next 20 years.