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The craftsman
Vol. V, No. 4 (January 1904)

Urbi et orbi: to the city and to the world,   pp. 358-362 PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 361


URBI ET ORBI
of the grave genius of Saint-Gaudens, the
American sculptor, who to the pure sim-
plicity of the Greek joins the intensity of
the modern man. In a word, let us, like
the nations of older civilization, cultivate
an art which shall not rise and fall with the
vicissitudes of private fortunes, but rather
be "a fire built upon the market place, where
every one may light his torch."
   In full sympathy with the American
movement toward civic improvement and
the establishment of a purer, higher type of
municipal art, The Craftsman proceeds to
the formation in its columns of a depart-
ment devoted to the treatment of all ques-
tions relative to the cause. In this under-
taking, by which it is hoped to render a real
service to the public, the Editors will rely
for support and success upon the constant
co6peration of a large number of the ablest
architects, sculptors and decorative artists
of our country, as well as upon the occa-
sional aid of foreign writers of distinction.
   To open the series there has been chosen
an architect who is now president of the Art
Commission of the City of New York, and
the former president of the Municipal Art
Society, and of the Reform Club. Mr.
Warner, for several decades, has been iden-
tified, almost to the degree of leadership,
with nearly every important question of
urban improvement. He is, therefore, in
authoritative position to discuss the subject
which he has accepted. In his article en-
titled "The Importance of Municipal Im-
provements," he develops the idea of the
city, from the time when it was but a fort-
ress, a seat of power, temporal or spiritual,
or a focus of commerce, down to our own
day, when a more complex concept can
alone satisfy the needs of civilization. He
writes that "the twentieth century city must
be planned and studied as the normal focus
of a constantly growing proportion of the
whole life of a people-in which there is no
excuse for sacrificing all other ends to any
one; but rather an obvious need and grow-
ing disposition to see how far all uses may
be at once accommodated." He treats of
the means of ingress and egress and of in-
terior transport, as the basis of the possi-
bilities of any given city; placing next in
importance, after the proper development
of these facilities, the provision for an at-
mosphere unsullied by smoke, for cheap fuel,
clean streets and an abundant water-supply.
He emphasizes the necessity of creating
Civic Centers: that is, the use of natural
places of public resort as sites for great
public buildings. Such treatment, he just-
ly says, "shows the ideal of a city to be that
of an organism rather than of an aggre-
gation ;" distinguishing it from "the mass-
ing of humanity that has sometimes been
called such, as a definite head, with well
defined subordinate centers, distinguishes a
man from a jelly-fish."
   Adjunct to Mr. Warner's treatment of
the city as a vitalized, self-conscious whole,
a special question, insistent in every center
of population, is discussed by M. Charles
Gans, doctor of laws, and advocate at the
Appellate Court of Paris. M. Gans's paper
upon   "The Workingman's Dwelling      in
France" is the substance of the thesis pre-
sented by him to the University of Paris, in
candidacy for the doctorate. It is a solid
contribution to the literature of its species.
It reveals depth of research and power of
logic; while it exhales a love of humanity
                                      361


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