Another of the many problems which we have considered is that of local government and the organization of the community life.
Radburn as a city of 25,000 people is perhaps ten years in the future. A year ago it was, except for some lands bought, some money risked and some blueprints, altogether in the future. At the present moment, however, Radburn is in being. About two hundred single-family houses are under construction, half of them nearly completed. A store and office building is almost finished. There are some miles of streets and footways, of water pipes, sewers, gas mains, electric lines, and the like. Parks and playgrounds are nearing the stage of usability.
In short on what were last August nothing but fallow fields now there is a town in sticks and stones.
As yet it has few people. There are a few pioneer families already living in Radburn, almost before we were quite ready for them. To these people and to those who come after them, Radburn is not a housing project nor an essay in town planning. It is a town in which they have bought a house in which to make a home. From their point of view the municipal housekeeping problem is both imminent and immanent.
They are the beginnings of a living social entity which will be known by the name of Radburn. Politically, they are citizens of the Borough of Fair Lawn, and after the necessary time of probation, will be voters in Fair Lawn. The borough has an area of a little more than five miles, about one-third of which is Radburn. (The Radburn property extends also into two other boroughs, Glen Rock and Paramus, but most of it and all that presently being developed is in Fair Lawn.) The borough has a population of about 5,500, and nearly 2,000 votes were cast in the last local election, an indication of a lively political interest. The government under the Mayor and Council has been very friendly to the Radburn project, and this spirit of cooperation seems to actuate all factions and parties of the local community.
But a borough so largely rural could not provide at the beginning the full measure of municipal services required by Radburn. It is to be borne in mind that when we undertake to build a planned city such as Radburn on an urban scale on land that heretofore has been entirely agricultural, we accelerate the normal process of evolution by telescoping through two well-defined stages - the semi-rural and the suburban.
In Fair Lawn there was no public water supply, no sewage system, and but meager provision, according to urban standards, for police and fire protection, health service, and the like. In the field of education the situation was much better, a good school system being provided.
For the protection of the property and for the nurture of the community life, several things had to be provided. One was the machinery for enforcing the protective restrictions of the deeds, giving architectural control in the community interest, use-zoning and so on. Another was to supplement the municipal services being provided by the Borough so as to meet the needs of the more intensively developed Radburn section. The third was to provide certain services not yet within the scope of the municipal activities.
To accomplish these purposes, the Radburn Association, a membership, non-profit corporation, was set up. It has accepted the responsibility of enforcing the restrictions incorporated in the deeds and the declarations of restrictions. It has taken title to the park lands to be held for the use of the people of Radburn. It has undertaken to provide supplemental municipal service - as for instance in the case of garbage, where the municipality provided one collection per week and the Radburn Association supplements it by another, giving twice a week collection.
.... In Radburn the town planner has dared and the builder and financier have enabled him to do this thing: To prove in a living city that Design and Control will make for greater health, greater convenience, greater economy and greater beauty than ever can be realized by Drift and Complacency.