A comprehensive city plan with its maps and notes lies at the foundation of every good city-planning program. Since orderly development is the objective, the plan must anticipate probable future needs of the community well in advance as well as record existing development. Preparing the plan, therefore, involves studies of the trend of growth in residential, business, and industrial uses of land and the most desirable directions for such growth. It should include a good zoning ordinance to minimize conflicting and mutually injurious uses of land. It is concerned vitally with movement of all types to and from the city and within it, and therefore deals with major thoroughfares; street railways; bus lines, and other forms of rapid transit; railways, waterways, and harbor developments; and public utility plants, mains, conduits, and wires.

All comprehensive city plans give a prominent place to recreational facilities, particularly parks, parkways, and playgrounds. Finally, the plan deals with the general location of public buildings of all types, including the city hall, schools, and fire and police stations. The main features of the plan will ordinarily be stable, but it can and should be amended and developed as changing conditions demand. In a hundred different ways a city plan provides for better living conditions, better business, and a more attractive and agreeable city in which to live and do business.

Before. Conditions adjoining Main St., White Plains

Fig. 72. - Before. Conditions adjoining Main St., White Plains, N.Y., before construction of the Bronx River Parkway. (Courtesy of Planned Progress and Westchester County Park Commission, N.Y.)

How Is The Plan Given Effect?

The plan is given effect by actions of both the city government and its citizens. Usually a city-planning commission is set up and given advisory powers, with general responsibility for seeing that the plan is prepared and carried out. With the commission's advice, the city council and the city departments are the agencies which actually authorize and construct streets and other public works, acquire parks and playgrounds, and locate and erect public buildings. The council must enact the zoning ordinance before it becomes effective and the executive branch enforces it. The planning commission itself is usually given some authority over the layout of new streets in subdivisions. It also keeps the plan up to date and informs public-utility companies, business concerns, and private citizens of the principal features of the plan so that they may plan their utilization of land and construction in harmony with it.

After. The Bronx River Parkway

Fig. 73. - After. The Bronx River Parkway, which is 16 1/2 miles long, has completely transformed the Bronx River Valley. (Courtesy of Planned Progress and Westchester County Park Commission, N.Y.)