The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 10 (1932) > Issues > Issue 12 > The Lay-out of Roads in Towns
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The Lay-out of Roads in Towns

The subject on which you have asked me to speak this evening is one that no individual could approach without severe qualms-knowing full well that nothing short of a comprehensive group of experts could do justice to it. Within the group room would have to be found for the architect, the town planner, the engineer, the political economists of different schools, the social reformer, the local administrator, the chief constable, the medical officer and the landscape gardener.The sense of one's insufficiency is increased by the reflection that history has shown the astonishing limitations of human foresight in matters affecting social welfare and civic life. Even the inspired writer who saw the New Jerusalem descending from heaven could only depict it as a glorified replica of one of those severely rectangular fortified towns which characterised the Roman Empire-"lying foursquare, with a wall great and high and having 12 gates." Fourteen hundred years later Sir Thomas More sets forth the glories of another ideal city in his Utopia. Again, we find that the City of Amaurote "standeth in fashion almost foursquare. The streets be appointed and set forth very commodious and handsome, both for carriage and also against the winds. The houses be of fair and gorgeous building and on the street side they stand joined together in a long row thro' the whole street without any partition or separation. The streets be twenty-foot broad." Thus, we find one of the most brilliant and advanced thinkers of Henry VIII's reign depicting as his ideal a city which to us would appear meanly monotonous, and insisting with some vigour on the charm of what we all now disparage as ribbon development. C.H. Bressey

Author(s): Bressey, C H

Keywords: roads;design;layout;improving