United Society of German Architects and Engineers

In Frank Koester, Modern City Planning and Maintenance (New York: McBride, Nast and Company, 1914): 44-45.

The architects and engineers of Germany involved in city planning adopted this statement of principles in 1874. It deals with the enlargement and expansion of cities because this was the most pressing problem of the time in that country. Industrialization stimulated movement to urban centers, with a resulting demand for additional space for housing, public buildings, and commercial and industrial uses. Following the example of Vienna in mid-century, old German cities also demolished city walls and fortifications and made this land and adjoining areas available for new development. Koester (1876- 1927), German by birth and education, presumably translated this document. It appears in his book on city planning, the first published in America by an engineer and one of the earliest American books on the subject.
The basic principles of enlarging a city, considered from the technical, the economical and the administrative points of view are:

(1) The scope of city planning consists principally in fixing the base lines of all traffic movements and transit facilities, viz.: streets, street cars, railroads and canals, which must be treated liberally and systematically.

(2) The street net should contain the main streets, with the existing streets taken duly into consideration; the auxiliary streets which are fixed by local conditions, and in addition, other subordinate streets, treated in accordance with the necessities of the immediate future, or having their development placed in the hands of interested property owners.

(3) The grouping of the parts of the city should be effected in accordance with their location and individual characteristics, subject to such modifications as may be demanded by sanitary considerations and the exigencies of commerce and industry.

(4) The duty of the building department is to determine the rights and privileges of tenant and neighbor and house owner. Such rights and privileges are related to fire protection, freedom from interference, health, and safety of buildings, and all aesthetic considerations must be secondary thereto.

(5) It is desirable that expropriation and impropriation be facilitated by legal measures, and of still more importance is the creation of a law providing for the regulation of the contour [height?] [configuration?] of new or reconstructed blocks to be built upon.

(6) The city should be reimbursed by property holders directly benefited by improvements for funds advanced by the city for such purposes, and it is advisable to have the amount stipulated before the work is begun and a normal cost per front foot fixed.

(7) The activities of interested property owners' associations, in regard to the improvement of certain sections, should be subject to municipal supervision.

(8) Land upon which it is imperative to make improvements should only be built upon under reservations for its subsequent use by the city.

The property owner whose land has been marked out for street improvements should be entitled to demand expropriation with compensation, in the event of delay in making the improvements.

The installation of sewer connections to new buildings must be at the expense of the property holder, but the city should be obligated to install a complete system upon the guarantees of a sufficient number of property owners of abutting property. 

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