On plans big and little | Bleader

On plans big and little

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[Kind of a repost. Getting worked like a speedbag today.]

"Make no little plans" - Daniel Burnham. Or not.

It's a pernicious little quote because there's nothing qualitative about it - it demands that plans only be not little (I'm unaware of Burnham's official position on medium-sized plans). But Burnham said a lot of other things, too, in regards to the actual qualities of cities he desired, in his not-little plan for Chicago:

"Good order and convenience are not expensive; but haphazard and ill-considered projects invariably result in extravagance and wastefulness." (p. 4)

"The constant struggle of civilization is to know and obtain the highest good; and the city which brings about the best conditions of life becomes the most prosperous." (p. 34)

"It is the opinion of all experts on road building that taking a period of ten years, a good bed and surface carefully maintained all the time will cost less in the aggregate than the very best bed and surface if neglected. We need perfect maintenance, and organization constantly kept sharp and effective, rather than expensive first construction." (p. 39)

"For health and good order there should be one acre of park area for each hundred people." (p. 44)

"The mistakes of the past should be warnings for the future." (p. 80)

"The two prime considerations for every large city are, first, adequate means of circulation; and second, a sufficient park area to insure good health and good order." (p. 80)

Not to mention: whenever anyone hands you Burnham's old chestnut, direct them towards this Whereblog post about what thinking big can actually entail.

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