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Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 99, no. 2568: Articles]: June 2, 1917

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REAL ESTATE AND (Copyright, 1917, by The Record and Onlde Co.) NEW YORK, JUNE 2, 1917 WHAT CITY PLANNING MEANS DURING WAR TIME Some of the Existing Conditions as Seen by the American Industrial Commission, Sent to France AN Europe aviation has raised a whole series ol utw problems m the plan¬ ning oi cities, many ol which demand immediate solution. When we were in France last autumn we were taken out to one ol tne great aeroplane camps usea in tne aelense ol Jfans. ihere witnin tne nigh enclosing wall, a neia stretched away unDroKen by builUings or trees lor several miles, wniie lar aown eacli siUe ran a continuous row ot aeroplane sheas, iney told us tliat there were more aero¬ planes tnen ui tbat one station tnan tnere were in all ot France at tne begin¬ ning ot the war; more tnan tnere were touay in tbe United btates. And yet, tnat was only one ot a large nuinber oi aeroplane or balloon tields tnrqughout !• ranee. Tnese neids lor training, man¬ oeuvres and storage require acres ot con¬ tinuous open space almost level in char¬ acter ana weu-drained. Around most cities sucb space is diincult to bnd, and It IS only by planning well ahead that adequate reservations can be made. ine remarkable increase in the com¬ mon use ot aeroplane and dirigible bal¬ loons in Europe today makes it obvious that their use tor commercial and pleas¬ ure purposes alter the war is going to be perhaps as rapid in its growih as was mat ot the automobile. btiU more important in city planning is the problem ol providing convenient landing places lor aeroplanes. When Miss i\.uth JLaw hew across Irom Chica¬ go to i\ew York she had to change her plans on account ot the ditticulty in hnd- ing a sale landing place, in JNiew York City about the only place that has been considered desirable lor landing is Gov¬ ernors' island. With the thousands of aeroplanes that will be flying in this country within a tew years, whether there is war or not, the problem of pro¬ viding landing spaces will become rapid¬ ly more urgent. In fact the Post Othce Department is now, in conjunction with the Aero Club of America, planning to select appropriate helds for landing in or near every important center. In France most of the aeroplanes, from a standing start, go only some 100 or 150 yards before leaving the ground, and then shoot up into the air at a surpris¬ ingly sharp angle. They land easily in a oO-acre held. There are any number of places in New York, and in most of our other cities and towns, which would make ideal landing places if they were leveled off, and trees, bushes, wires and other obstructions removed. The prob¬ lem of landing at night is perhaps the most difficult and dangerous of all. In France we found the landing places specially lighted by searchlights or by a peculiar formation of the surrounding lamps, so that seen from above, they are readily recognized. Then, too, by day all sorts of special indications were used —whitewash or colored diagrams drawn on the ground, so that an aeroplane from a mile or two in the air could recognize the significance of the marks. One of the most important problems for the city in time of peace is the mov¬ ing of crowds of people quickly from one place to another. Its importance is increased tenfold in time of war. In France we saw everywhere parts of a great network of national military roads. By»,GEORGE B. FORD They often go straight up and down over hills ana valleys as dia our old turn¬ pikes, but always witu the grades cut down to the ininimuin and with ample Width and excellent surtace. ihe road¬ ways are never too narrow tor two great motor trucks to pass each other at high speed; lar dinerent from our niggaraiy custom. Though these national roads go through towns and cities, even in the larger cities, tiicy continue to belong to the national government and are paia lor and mamtaincd by it. ihey are the back-bone ot efficiency in the handling ot people and goods about the country. Without them, f ranee would have had the greatest aimculty in meeting the situation with which she has been con¬ fronted. As tor the railroads in France, here again we lound men could be mobilized or handled in masses trom one town to another with the greatest ease and speed. The special characteristics were ample approaches to the railway stations and extensive yards. Many of the railroad lines have been laid out with the war needs particularly in view, despite the fact that under peace conditions these lines are not prontable. However, they have more than proved their value since the beginning ot the war. With regard to tramways, not only are the regular systems laid out strategically, but all over the country, through districts where a standard gauge railroad could not be provided, we lound little light narrow gauge railroads with trains of three to eight cars that were in constant use. Motor busses have played an excep¬ tional role in France smce the beginning ot the war. it was the motor busses and taxi-cabs which saved Fans because they were available and because they were a mobile means of transit. Entire¬ ly apart from the usefulness of motor busses in time of peace, il is a great asset to have large numbers of them immediately available in case a sudden need arises for transportation of large bodies of troops. In the transportation and handling of supplies, we found that great changes have been made in France since the beginning of the war. Things had to be handled in much greater quantities and with as little loss ot time as possible. In many parts of the country, particu¬ larly near the war zone, we saw new railroads being built and old ones con¬ siderably extended. In almost all of the freight yards that we saw, extensions were being made, new terminal tracks being put in, huge new warehouses be¬ ing built, all with a view to handling war supplies quickly and without waste. At Marseilles we saw a great new classi¬ fication yard along the new docks that the city is now building, rendered neces¬ sary by the trade that has come to the port on account of the war. We went over the ports of Marseilles, Bordeaux, Rouen and to some extent Havre, but we hardly recognized them, so much had they been changed; build¬ ing going on on an enormous scale everywhere, the ports being doubled, trebled, and even quadrupled in size and even at that, ships waiting at anchor for days and weeks outside the port for a chance to unload. It was a condition of things that troubled us a great deal, for we realized that hardly a city in America was prepared to meet emer¬ gency conditions in like fashion. If nothing else, a comprehensive plan should be worked out now, so that it can be carried out as speedily as possible when the time comes. Rivers and canals were being deepened and broadened on every hand, and new ones were being built; new boat services were being started all because the cheap¬ er handling of freight was becoming an increasingly serious problem in I-ranee, since it also means a saving of coal and of men, both oi which are at a premium. However, the thing that probably im¬ pressed us most in the handling of goods, Doth along the waterfront and in the local terminals, was the extensive use of handling machinery. Even in the small villages, the freight yards were equipped with cranes and other hand¬ ling devices, while in the larger yards and along the docks almost nothing v^as done by hand. Any mechanical device that would save labor was more than paying in its way, as it released men for service at the front. The handling of foodstuffs and war supplies in particular has become a most important problem, with the bring¬ ing together and the storage of great quantities of supplies and the provision of efficient means for their distribution. Along the railways or waterways around the cities and larger towns we saw acres of new sheds that have been erected since the war, just for the handling of war supplies. Often they were incon¬ veniently located due to the lack of planning belorehand. The nearer we came to the front, the greater the num¬ ber of these storage helds. In every case it was necessary to hnd large, level, well-drained helds. The handling of foodstuffs for the civilian population is a problem to which France has given caretul thought for a good many years. Every city, town and village has its municipal retail markets in big halls open at the sides, where stalls are rented to the little dealers at the minimum economic rental. This gives the city a chance to control not only the healthfulness and quality of foodstuffs, but also the maximum prices, all of which has proven a most effective means of keeping down the high cost of living during the war. More than that, however, there has been a very strong tendency of late years in France, as well as in other European countries, to develop public wholesale auction mar¬ kets, and a niiniber of big retail markets have recently been changed for the most part from retail to wholesale use, all of which tends to keep down costs. The raising of foodstuffs is a most ur¬ gent problem in all of the countries at war. In France it has long been the rule to cultivate every acre of ground, including all of the vacant lots in cities. Workingmen's Gardens Societies lease all available vacant lots and rent them to wage earners' families, in plots of 2,500 to 5,000 square feet for a nominal rent. Every member of the family works in the garden. A plot will often keep a family of eight or ten in vegetables the year round. , One of the most serious problems ot all is the locating and laying out of the