"Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" Compared with "Large Lot Zoning" (Tom Lane) [ Home Page – Click Here]

(May 17, 2017) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2017 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

Frank Lloyd Wright, KYMAK

(October 8, 2011) There are many green alternatives to “smart growth.” The most fascinating is “KYMAK,” from Taleisin graduate Douglas Boyd, integrating the architectural and planning ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson, and Brigham Young.* Click this link for the KYMAK web site:


Charles Waldheim.

Another green alternative is “Landscape Urbanism,” developed by Harvard faculty Charles Waldheim and Mohsen Mostafavi. Here’s an interview with Dr. Mostafavi:


Here’s an interesting article on Charles Waldheim:


I will continue to add more links the weeks ahead.

For example, here’s a great introduction to Landscape Urbanism, with dozens of slides, from Charles Waldheim at Harvard, from Vimeo:

*See Douglas Boyd’s correction below in the comment section.

6 comments on “Frank Lloyd Wright, KYMAK

  1. Yes, the Architectural and Planning ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson; most certainly. Brigham Young? No, not exactly. But he deserves honorable mention for preserving, promoting and publishing the general idea which began at Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth Rock (1620) although neither he nor his mentor, Joseph Smith understood how it was to be oriented; apparently their mind was set on aligning it with the curving meridians (which could not be foursquare, as specified), even though there was ample evidence to guide them from the time the POB was marked in 1831. The marker stones there seem to be a cryptograph although it is a clever device that surveyors or a builder might use to orient a building. See my drawing – http://kymak.110mb.com/pob1831.jpg

  2. Thankfully, Charles Waldheim at Harvard expresses not so much another alternative as a complement to the KYMAK concept. Landscape Architects are the original and the ne plus ultra of City and Regional Planners. They understand it as do other design and building professionals including Civil Engineers, Urban and Regional Planners, Geographers, and others who have some degree of knowledge of the Art and Science of Architecture and the Nature of Materials. It is for lack of a concept that Politicians have ignorantly assumed the role of the Architect by default; therefore without understanding the principles of building and how to coordinate the process, cities grow and sprawl helter-skelter. All the public money allocated to transportation and community development goes to waste. That tradition has confronted Architects since Thomas Jefferson. This problem has been greatly compounded over the past 100 years – it will destroy us a Nation unless we solve it. I am sure we can and will, now – pursuing the Cause of Architecture.

  3. Karl Marx actually theorised, correctly (and so did Henry George), that rising incomes resulted in rising rents, so that workers were never any better off, only the landlords.

    What prevented low-density development at fair prices for everybody, back in his day, was the fact that people had very low mobility. Only the wealthiest people could afford horses, stables, and servants to look after the horses.

    Cities “grew” in terms of land utilised, very slowly and at continued high densities because most people had to walk anywhere they went. Streetcars and rails provided much greater ability to cover “distance”, but any urban development was predictable (because of the fixed rail routes and the narrow strips of useable land around them) and was captured by the landlord class.

    It is only “automobile based” development that allows farmland to be converted to urban in such potential “supply” quantities that no-one can “corner” the supply and “gouge” the pricing. This is really what defeated Marx’s theory, not “capitalism” per se. But strict urban planning makes Marx’s theories relevant again – this is why median multiple house prices go up to 6 and 9 and 12, when land supply is rationed and prices gouged again.

    Median multiples are always around 12 in a pre-automobile society, like in 3rd world countries today, and the housing is much smaller and lower quality. Smart growth basically winds the clock back on socio-economic development, to Marx’s era, with rising inequality, and transfers of wealth to land owners, and the workers rising incomes only driving up their own housing costs – leaving them no further ahead.

  4. If Frank Lloyd Wright thought that the automobile would allow the flight away from the “tyrranny of the skyscraper,” i.e. in terms of renters paying rents to landlords for the rest of their lives, he was a seriously enlightened guy and I badly want to read his books – I have not read them because I concentrate on economics, not architecture. What would you recommend?

  5. Frank Lloyd Wright as all architects favored Land Value Taxation (LVT), as H. Geo. pointed out, because it would eliminate taxes on buildings and construction. The two rate property tax would still yield revenue on the value of land, as long as the interest rate was low enough.

    LVT is an incentive to economic development so it would stimulate construction. In Broadacre City zoning would be regulated by evaluating the site according to planned population density; LVT is also known as Site Value Taxation (SVT).

    Actually, it was Henry Ford who thought that the automobile would allow the flight away from [the downtown areas]; Wright had no problem with the skyscraper, he was one of its inventors and promoters in Chicago. Wright hoped it would provide more open space in the city.

    The main hindrance to LVT is a high interest rate. The LVT was called the best source of revenue for State and Local Governments at the Constitutional convention in 1787, by Madison (with Jefferson’s influence), Franklin and others (see Fed Paper #36) is, by the supreme law of the land, their only legitimate source of revenue.

    Zoning by SVT then regulates the size and shape of the Cities in full accord with now ignored State and Federal Planning Codes. I have explained all this on my KYMAK website – http://kymak.110mb.com/KYMAK.html

  6. TWIMC: My 110mb.com website may not work. Try http://douglas36601.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/cause-and-effect/

    Also, search KYMAK on google, yahoo, or bing.

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