chapter  5
7 Pages

The Shape of the Future

WithPaul N. Ylvisaker

A national urban culture, spreading amoeba-like over open land, plastic–seemingly shapeless–in its form, fluid at its boundaries, and in its cellular structure capable of infinite reproduction. An urban way of life so intricate in its design and interdependencies that it will be extremely resistant and in some respects immune to frontal efforts to plan and order it. This is an esoteric set of propositions to have to explain, let alone defend. They relate to the outer and inner dimensions of urban life, the physical shell and the essential character. Beyond generalities, there are two specifics which need doing: One is a thought job. The City has not just grown bigger than its boundaries–it has outgrown the concept and vocabulary of the city itself. The distinction, at least in this country, has been blotted out between agricultural and urban life; television, the automobile, and the agricultural revolution have taken care of that.