N. Y. Regional Plan Consultant Endorses Project
Dr. Timothy Adams, considered the foremost regional and town planner in the world today, has submitted a report on the Westover development in which he expresses the belief that Westover as a planned community will make a distinct and valuable contribution to civic planning and social principles.
Dr. Adams, noted London planner, was responsible for the famous regional plan of New York. The report, because of its importance to the town of Norwood, is reprinted below.
“Mr. George F. Willett Westover Corporation Norwood, Massachusetts Dear Mr. Willett:
After an interval of six years, I have made another inspection of Westover and am more than ever convinced regarding the great opportunity presented by the ownership of 1,000 acres under one control for creating a unique object lesson in the building of a residential community. The difficulties of securing improvement of residential development in America are largely due to absence of large tracts of land in one ownership; in which respect Westover has exceptional advantages.
Î have read your publications and inspected the plan you have prepared. You have a vision of the possibilities of the estate which is based on practical considerations as well as on high ideals. You should receive public support in your efforts to establish a community of homes in which each home would have the quality of an individual residential estate set in artistic surroundings.
The protective measures your trustees propose to adopt will ensure the avoidance of the disorderly and haphazard development that is taking place in other districts in the environs of Boston, to the injury of the individual residents, and of the community as a whole.
You have asked me give my opinion regarding the significance of the project from a regional point of view. I think the successful realization of such a development as you propose might well have move than regional, and might even have national, significance. You have the opportunity and intention to demonstrate how to provide an ideal environment for dwellings under modern conditions, where the reasonable cost for improved sites with protected surroundings will make each dwelling an economical as well as a socially desirable home.
The property lies within the metropolitan region of Boston, and its proper development will offer guidance in connection with the planning of the Region. The main residential parts of the estate arc within easy commuting distance of the city of Boston Westover is as accessible by rail, in regard to time of travel, as nearer suburban districts where the advantages of protected natural amenities are not available and land prices are high. It is approached from Boston through one of the most attractive districts, along the fine parkway of Jamaica Bay. Its educational and other public facilities are as satisfactory as those that exist in central areas.
Among the practical values of Westover, if it is developed in accordance with your designs, will be to demonstrate how to realize the application of certain principles in regional and town planning and zoning. Actual object lessons showing the attainment of theoretical objectives in planning including the development of land for the economic and social uses for which it is best adapted, are what is most needed in educating public opinion to appreciate the vahíos of good planning.
The fact that you have 1,000 acres will make it possible to develop a comparatively complete community with a great variety of interest, a unified social life, and up-to-date methods in dealing with the problems created by the automobile. While in this sense it can be fully modem, it will in another sense, as you conceive it, conform to good traditions of American life. I refer to its prospective quality of spaciousness even when the development is completed It will be a community set in a beautiful park, in which the homes will be surrounded by trees and running streams and on the attractive setting provided under these conditions.
The size of the property will enable you to provide for regional recreation and for such local industries as are appropriate in residential towns, without permitting one kind of use to interfere with another.
Merits of Plan of Westover
Your plan, including its proposals for wide parkways interspersing the property and providing for a rotary system of traffic, is an excellent one as a basis for development. I am particularly impressed with the possibilities of securing steady flow of traffic and a high degree of safety with the rotary system. The manner in which you have laid out the parkways and provided for the conservation of beauty spots is especially fine. The fact that the construction of these parkways is so well advanced makes the property ripe for development. They should be completed so as to connect with the surrounding towns of Walpole, Westwood, Medfield, and Dover.
Distinctive Characteristics of Property
Among the distinctive characteristics of the property are:
- Its exceptional size of about 1,000 acres, already referred to.
- Its compactness and accessibility to Norwood’s business center and to Boston.
- Its combination of scenic features of trees and water on a pleasantly undulating surface.
- Presence on the site of ample material for road making and building construction, which can be profitably developed.
- Large, well-situated, and well-arranged parks and parkways under public ownership.
- Suitability for variety of residential, recreational and other uses—offering wide scope for attracting a demand for sites.
Benefits to Norwood
There is no question in my mind that Norwood would be benefited from the standpoint of the tax rates, the employment of its people, and the increase of local business.
Important considerations, you appear to have in mind are
A. The maintenance of a high standard of architecture
B. The compact arrangement of business centers
C. The completion of the main parkways, for regional as well as local reasons.
D. The development of the recreational features, with the opportunity presented by the presence of Willett and Ellis Ponds as a distinct part of the enterprise.
All the factors that are visible on the surface seem to favor the estate as a sound business development, given good management, a reasonable sound basic price for the land, and adherence to the principles and policy set forth in your published statements. My view is that «Westover can be developed so as to constitute a sound investment for capital and that its development on the lines proposed by you will play an important part as an object lesson in regional and town planning.
(All articles were originally published in the Norwood Messenger unless otherwise noted)