Talk:Broadacre City

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The article's references are not directly linked to the article's text. In text citation is limited. Further, the article is written in non biased way and with a good basic information representation about the topic. Adding more sources and detailed information about the formation of the Broadacre City as well as to describe the model itself, would be good continuation Ak97-arth300 (talk) 11:45, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Comment on Article[edit]

I offer a Summary of needed corrections and an Alternative Article below. As much as possible, I edited the Article directly when I found it biased and misleading, even defamatory; perhaps due to ignorance of the role of the Architect. There is unecessary and unndue competition between Architects and a new "Urban Planning" profession which began about 1920; Wright said, only Architects are fully trained to make plans for the art and science of the building process. In general, Urban Planners have little if any knowledge of the principles of building and have tended to turn a blind eye to Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacres City concept; while admitting their own lack of a concept for "a complete and dynamic design for the future city" they say:

"Technically speaking, Broadacres cannot be taken too seriously, certainly not as a replacement for the core of big cities. Mr. Wright’s vision is oriented more toward suburban life, ... But planners should not expect too much of architectural city designs. The architects who fancy themselves planners have never evinced an equal concern with all elements of the big city. ... It will take a really creative planner not an architect to someday give us a complete and dynamic design for the future city." - Book Reviews, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, vol. 25 (1958) p. 163-164.

On the contrary Broadacre City has all the elements of urbanity to be found in the big city except for the criminal element, the slums, the crowded conditions and congested traffic. It rejects the big city feudal system and expresses the highest ideals of American Democracy. "The planning profession has lost sight of the future and is abandoning its responsibility in the design of cities and oriented more toward social sciences and scientific method. Work of other professionals are not being properly coordinated." Andrew M. Isserman, Dare to Plan, TOWN PLANNING REVIEW, 1985, 56,4:483-91. (JAPA Autumn 1990, p. 502). Compare James S. Russell, AIA, Architectural Record, June1989 p. 79: "Perhaps it is time to say no to commissions in which merely adequate architecture is the best that can be hoped for, and instead seek to promulgate a new vision of the livable city."

Summary of Corrections[edit]

Article says:

...Broadacre City was an urban or suburban development concept proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright late in his life.


It was an entirely new and better way to build cities; it was designed to be compatible with and to establish and preserve the liberty and sovereignty of the individual as proposed in American Democracy where the Citizen is King; historically he saw as did Thomas Jefferson that cities were and continue to be built by rulers to control or enslave the people. His thinking on this began in Chicago at least by age 35 and was published at least by 1918 at age 45; he lived to be 90.

Article says:

... each U.S. family would be given a one acre (4,000 m²) plot of land from the federal lands reserves


BAC density is one acre per person to be purchased at fair market value by the individual while the Land Value Tax system would maintain a fair market and assure the good design of the city as it grows. The land in Broadacre City is alongside the railroad tracks in the old Federal land grant corridor originally given to private entrepreneurs to encourage construction of the railroad system in the US; however, the tracks were to be replaced by freeways for automobiles, trucks and busses.

Article says:

...There is a train station in Broadacre City


There is no train station. The railroad is replaced by freeways for automobiles, trucks and busses.

Article says:

...the apartment dwellers are expected to be a small minority


There is room enough for as many apartment buildings as the market demands. The 528 floor sky city designed for Chicago by Wright is included in BAC.

Article says:

...the pedestrian can exist safely only within the confines of the one acre (4,000 m²) plots


There is ample room for sidewalks for pedestrians along every street as much or more than any other city now has.

Article says:

...Some of the earlier garden city ideas of the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and the urban planner Ebenezer Howard had much in common with Broadacre city, save for the absence of the automobile, born much later. More recently, the development of the Edge city is like an unplanned, incomplete version of Broadacre city.


American Democracy and its unique system of government, such as Thomas Jefferson's concept of cities, was the design criteria for BAC.

The Edge City along an outer loop or beltway of the sprawling continuous growth of the big city denies the basic concept of decentralization advocated by Frank Lloyd Wright in his concept of a city compatible with the American system of democratic government.

Article says:

...The R. W. Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, Minnesota shows some of Wright's ideas for Broadacre City.


Building designs shown in the illustration of BAC are not relevant or essential to the planning concept of BAC, except as excellent examples of the term "good design" in individual buildings.

DAB (talk) 17:24, 2 March 2012 (UTC)DAB (talk) 16:23, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

Alternative Article[edit]

As a former apprentice to Wright in 1958, I offer my view of it here in my edition of the Article; it could take the place of the Article at least in part if not entirely. DAB (talk) 17:24, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Broadacre City is a concept for a decentralized City for Democracy developed by Frank Lloyd Wright from 1918*[1] to 1958. The city planning movement began around the year 1907 with Daniel Burnham's Chicago Plan. Wright first presented his unique and innovative idea in a book The Disappearing City in 1932. A few years later he unveiled a very detailed twelve by twelve foot (3.7 by 3.7 m) scale model representing the principles and pattern of the concept in a spacious and elegant four square mile (10 km²) cultural center at the County Seat - it was to be the "core" of linear city built alongside railways (to avoid dangerous and noisy railroad grade crossings and to provide easy access for indusrial sites and as well as an additional buffer to traffic noise). The model was crafted by student architects who paid for the privilege of working with Wright as his apprentices at Taliesin. Wright would go on explaining the concept in later books When Democracy Builds in 1945, The Living City in 1958 and in lectures, exhibitions and articles until his death in 1959.

The building models in the concept were designs by Wright, but are irrelevant except to illustrate principles of good building design. The idea of how to design a city for democracy was the point of the concept. Kevin A. Lynch said, "Nobody understands it, it is a linear city". It is to be built alongside a broad freeway (528 feet right-of-way) extending to each County line.

Broadacre City was intended to show the principles of building Cities for American Democracy in opposition to importing archaic centralized European city concepts designed or built for Feudalism. Being misunderstood and misused, it became the apotheosis of suburbia, engendering urban sprawl. The idea of Broadacre city was shaped through Wright's empathy with the insights of the founders of our New Republic, Jefferson, Washington, and others where Independence and Liberty as well as morality is best secured by individual ownership of the means of survival, land. It was both a planning statement and a socio-political scheme by which population density would be one acre per person maintained by Land value taxation A Wright-conceived community would follow this pattern beginning at the County Seat. It opposed of the idea of concentrated massing of citizens forced to depend on transit-oriented development. There is no rail transport or train station in Broadacre City; the railroad becomes obsolete and is to be replaced by a broad freeway - the entire city was to be located within and along the old land grant railway corridor. There are office and apartment buildings in Broadacre City; but the apartment dwellers are expected to be a minority. Transport is by automobile and quiet flying radio controlled helicopter taxis; the pedestrian may use sidewalks along streets and roads as well as within the security of their broad-acres plots where most citizens will choose to dwell.

The County Engineer must work with the County Architect in order to assure expert planning and coordination of the vital work of Civil Engineers and other Design Professionals in the very complex process of City and Regional Planning. Wright, home-schooled to be an architect by his mother, studied Civil Engineering in college for lack of a course in architecture; there are well known architects who have degrees in civil engineering, e.g., Malcolm Wells and Santiago Calatrava. Presently, untrained non-architect politicians and developers are mishandling the Engineer while assuming the role of the Architect - brushing the architect aside, politicians take the role of the architect when they presume to manage the work of the engineer. This practice has put the Architect and Engineer in competition, rather than friendly cooperation with each other; this has created havoc on the landscape. Wright's master plan or one like KYMAK would have to be duly adopted locally, or better by Congress, as a basis for federal funding in order to make the idea viable for the total built environment as true Architecture must be.

Design and planning professionals now engage merely in damage control, tending to feel exasperated, being used like "window dressing" by political bosses to deceive the public. Wright referred to them as the "big money boys"; like children they are always more in a hurry to get what they want than what is best - they say, "time is money". Wright mentions Goethe who said, "For but one thought is in all, and that how to satisfy quickest Self and the need of the moment, regardless of what may come after.” Making money is the only goal they can see; developing an intrinsic culture for our new Nation is beyond them. Seeing the prevalence of Greek and Roman architectural traditions, Wright wanted to create an indigenous American architecture to secure our own duly Constituted values of Liberty, Independence and Sovereignty of the Individual. It could be accomplished he said, if someone "of a humane heart, aware of the grace and significance of beauty" specially trained to plan and coordinate the building process, as architects are, were in control of the building process – possibly as an elected official as a County commissioner or County Architect and if people could trust the Architect as they do in fiduciary relationships with other learned professionals, such as Physicians; the principles of building are at least as complicated as brain surgery but the consequences of error are fatal, not to just one person but to the whole nation. That architects are learned professionals is not too well understood and appreciated. For the same reason Judges are Lawyers by education, so County Commissioners need a knowledge base in Architecture.

DAB (talk) 17:49, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Wright often chided his fellow architects about their neglected role in the building process – as in his 1949 AIA Gold Medal Acceptance Speech when he said, “I've been right about a good many things. That's the basis of my arrogance. And it has a basis - that's one thing I can say for my arrogance. We can save ourselves. We're smart. We have a certain rat-like perspicacity. But we have the same courage; and that's what's the matter. I don't know of a more cowardly...well, I'm getting too deep in here now, and I can't swear - not tonight. But we are certainly a great brand of cowardice in America. We've let all our great opportunities to live a spiritual life with great interior strength and nobility of purpose in mind go by the board... If we're ever going to get anything better, if we're ever going to come by a more honorable expression of a civilization such as the world is entitled to from us... It isn't the fault of institutions. It isn't the fault of any class. It isn't the fault of the big boys that make the money and make the blunders and shove us over the brink we spoke of a minute ago. No. How would they learn better? ...How are they going to find out? They can only find out by your disapproval. They can only find out by your telling the truth, first to yourselves, and then out loud wherever you can get a chance to tell it…. I think if we (architects) were to wake up and take a good look at ourselves, as ourselves – without trying to pass the buck without trying to blame other people for what really is our own shortcoming and our own lack of character we would be an example to the world that the world needs now. We wouldn’t be pursuing a cold war. We would be pursuing a great endeavor to plant, rear, and nurture a civilization. And we would have a culture that would convince the whole world. We’d have all the Russians in here on us, working for us - with us – not afraid that we were going to destroy them or destroy anybody else. It’s because of cowardice and political chicanery, because of the degradation to which we have fallen - as men”. Some of his fellows compared him to an Old Testament Prophet - possibly this was the main reason he was rejected by the establishment. Yet, he was a good natured man with a genuine sense of humor that could only come from one who was honest, courageous and as a matter of fact, humble.

Features of Broadacre City:

A City designed for Democracy.

Frontispiece of The Living City

1. County Annex
2. Postal Service
3. Race Track
4. Sport fields
5. Sport Complex
6. Athletic clubs
7. Lake and stream
8. Farms
9. Luxury house
10. Park
11. Music garden
12. Health spa
13. Shopping center
14. Motel
15. Factory workers homes
16. Factories with dwellings above
17. Manufacturing
18. Travel center
19. Freeway
20. Industry
21. Vineyards and orchards
22. Office buildings
23. Small homes
24. Secondary schools
25. Churches
26. Guest houses
27. Agricultural research
28. Arboretum
29. Zoo
30. Aquarium
31. Exhibitions
31a. Beacon
32. Hotel
33. Country club
34. Hospital
35. Small industry
36. Smaller homes
37. Small apartments
38. Dairy
39. Kindergarten
40. Apartment houses
41. Commodious homes
42. Water supply
43. Professional school
44. County Architect
45. Small theater
46. Cabins
47. Larger homes
48. Observation point
49. Auto repair
50. Gas station
51. Library

52. Natural preserves

No private ownership of public needs. No public ownership of private needs.
No landlord and tenant - An acre of ground per person minimum by virtue of site value tax.
No "housing". No subsistence homesteads.
No traffic problem. No back and forth haul. No railroads. No grade crossings.
No street cars. Administration by radio and flight.
No poles or wires in sight. Streets are lighted at the curb. No headlights.
No ditches alongside the roads.
Roads are concave with drainage and utilities buried in median.
Tall buildings are isolated in parks.
Building design determined by the character and topography of the region.

To be continued...

Q&A about Alternative Article[edit]


Just noticing some contradictions in the your list it says that there are small apartments and small houses etc, but also says No "Housing". KellanFabjance (talk) 20:52, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The list is from Wright's, The Living City He was referring to government "housing" projects; he disliked the term "housing" as belittling to the dignity of free and sovereign citizens. Here is what he said in one place, probably referring to the Federal Housing Administration FHA:

"I would rather solve the small house problem than build anything else ... But where is the small house to come from while government itself is only perpetuating the old stupidities? ... it must come from common sense ... simple and at the same time more gracious. To The Young Man in Architecture - a Challenge. From the Editorial, FLW edition of Architectural Forum magazine, 1/10/1938. Source: Letters to Architects*[2], p.157-8

DAB (talk) 16:56, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Disappearing City.1918 - 1932 New York, W. F. Payson, 1932
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. When Democracy Builds. University of Chicago Press, 1945
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Living City. New York, Horizon Press, 1958.
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. Letters to Architects. Architectural Press, 1987.
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. An Organic Architecture, (Sir George Watson Lectures) Lund Humphreys, London, 1939.
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Future Of Architecture, Horizon Press, 1953.
  • List:

* Cite

Broadacre City is a concept for a decentralized City for Democracy developed by Frank Lloyd Wright from 1918*...see,

  • Swaback, Vernon D. Designing the Future, p. 38, Herberger Center for Design, 1997. [3]

Illustrations -

DAB (talk) 17:15, 9 March 2012 (UTC) DAB (talk) 16:00, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Are you asking a question? --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 04:40, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

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