Housing cannot be considered adequately apart from facilities offered by the city or community and their accessibility. To the wage earner distance from place of employment translated into terms of money for means of transit and time or effort is of greater importance than to those whose means are greater and hours of work are shorter, though to everyone the waste involved in needless distance covered daily is an economic loss of moment unless it can be transformed into a strength-giving or health-giving or inspiration-giving factor.....
By and large the best means of transit yet invented is that one, reminiscent of days before the horseless carriage, known as shanks mare. For the normal man a half-hour's walk, especially if it can be along a pleasant route, is a good prelude to a day of sedentary or indoor labor. Next perhaps comes the bicycle, for this too involves exercise. Then come vehicles that run upon the surface of the earth, that give their occupants the benefit of sun and air. Last comes that means of transit which takes him underground. As the old-fashioned outside iron fire-escape, now happily tending to disappear, was a confession of our failure to construct our buildings properly, so the subway is a confession of our failure to construct our cities properly. There is room enough in the United States for all of us to live above the surface of the earth. Such failures, forcing us to patronize crowded vehicles or sub-surface vehicles, have a direct effect upon housing by giving us the choice of two evils, these means of transit or an inferior type of dwelling nearer to our place of employment.
While access to place of employment is usually the chief consideration, access to schools, to places of recreation - theater, opera, amusement parks, golf or tennis grounds - are of some importance. These merge into facilities offered by the neighborhood, which is the area that, ideally, lies between main traffic streets and all parts of which are within easy walking distance of home even when home is part of a district of widely-spaced, garden-surrounded, one-family houses. Here will be the grade schools and the playgrounds for small children, perhaps a high school or at least a junior high for the older children, a library or a community center and a neighborhood playground for adults, and churches - set in grounds large enough to permit their expansion without violating the area provisions of the zoning code. Most church congregations seem to be pessimistic of their future, yet instances are known where churches have had occasion to expand and their officers then felt no hesitation in asking that a rule made for the benefit of the community and the protection of their neighbors should be suspended in order that they might escape the penalty of lack of foresight or lack of faith.
Within the region and its units, thus broadly outlined, our problem is to fit our housing so as to give the people of urban America the greatest possible facilities for living abundantly.