29 Pages

Man-Made Landscape

BOTH the conception and the procedure of national planning must be based on the understanding that analysis and synthesis belong together. The last hundred years have laid stress almost exclusively on analysis ; they produced a gigantic amount of factual knowledge, but the facts thus discovered were not welded together into a synthetic and co-ordinated whole. This tendency is still strong, hence the predisposition towards research which fancies that its isolated results, though they might be valuable, automatically produce an integrated system in themselves. But it appears that we are now entering a stage where the opinion is spreading that we must co-ordinate and systematise what we have achieved. We cannot any longer be content with adapting man to nature, but we must adapt nature to man. There is something inevitable and predestined in this evolution ; and it is up to us to make not only the right use of the possibilities offered to us but to do it in time and on a grand scale. This enormous task confronting us loses somewhat its overwhelming impressiveness if we realise that the influence which man is exerting upon nature is nothing unusual ; that it has enabled man to change the natural landscape into a man-made landscape ; and that, especially in a country like Great Britain, there is hardly any part that has not been transformed by man’s work. Planning on a national scale means a re-shaping of our environment. The redistribution of population involves a far-reaching remoulding of the land of Great Britain. The face of this island will not be the same if and when national planning does its job. Possibly more than in any other field it seems imperative to look at the problem as a whole and to interrelate the various regions and their specific potentialities from a national aspect.