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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.
The rural settlement: its social, economic and ├Žsthetic advantages,   pp. 407-416 PDF (3.1 MB)


Page 407


THE RURAL SETTLEMENT: ITS SOCIAL,
ECONOMIC AND AESTHETIC ADVANTAGES:
BY C. H. FORBES-LINDSAY
               CONNECTION with its wonderful work of trans-
               forming the arid lands of our Western States, the
               Reclamation Service is carrying out a far-sighted plan
               for the reformation of the hardly less arid lives of the
               agricultural population of that region. We are fairly
               familiar with the engineering operations that are
               converting the desert waste-" dreary and vast and
silent "-into tracts of smiling soil and luxuriant vegetation, but it
is not generally known that this great economic enterprise involves
the establishment of towns. These are to be placed at carefully se-
lected sites in every project, and to be laid out and developed upon
lines no less scientific than those regulating the irrigation works.
The design of the Service, which is pursued under the express author-
ity of Congress, extends beyond the reduction of the land to a condi-
tion of fecundity to the creation of homes and industrial centers
in accordance with the most advanced ideas. The basal feature of
the system is centralization-the very reverse of the condition usually
obtaining in our agricultural communities. Although far from new
as applied to a rural population, its practice among us has been con-
fined to a few scattering sections of the country.
   Town and country are economically interdependent and they
should be closely allied industrially and socially. The principle
involved in these almost axiomatic statements has been conformed
to in Europe since the birth of the burgs from the feudal communi-
ties. So obvious is it that we see its recognition among primitive
peoples who follow agricultural pursuits. The Zulu kraal and the
Maori village, each surrounded by fields of crops or pasture runs,
are not merely provisions for defence, but also agencies for the pro-
motion of convenience, cooperation and social intercourse.
   When Coronado and his adventurous followers broke upon the
peaceful people of Mexico, they found the Pueblo Indians living, as
their name implies, in permanent villages. The adobe huts were
grouped about a central building, designed to serve as council house
and, on occasion, as fort. Around this aggregation of habitations
lay a circle of cultivated fields, with roads and irrigation ditches
radiating from it in every direction. The Indian husbandman went
out to his work each morning, returning at nightfall to his village
home and the companionship of his fellow tribesmen.
                                                             407


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