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16 items found:

Sydney. Rates assessment ledger for the ward of Bourke in Sydney 1863. n.p. 1863 Folio, quarter reversed calf and cloth (front board detached); 57 leaves of printed forms filled in manuscript. Some old damp staining round the bottom but nothing too serious. Au$1000

Some 1000 properties in the centre of Sydney assessed with quite a bit of useful detail. Properties are arranged by street and each entry includes the sreet number, person rated, owner or landlord, description of the building - house, warehouse, shop; brick, stone wood or iron; slated, shingled or otherwise; number of floors; number of rooms; value; and remarks - which contain a lot of useful remarks about the nature, history, attached structures and condition of the buildings. For instance, Francis O'Brien's row of seven houses in George Street, 29 to 35, were all in very bad condition, with their lower floors below the level of the yard, and mostly empty. The rates assessment ledger for 1863 in the Sydney Council archives is quite different in organisation and seems to have fewer remarks.


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Victoria Road, Sydney. Proposed Road to Gladesville via Balmain and Five Dock. (Correspondence &c ..). [Sydney, Govt Printer 1869]. Foolscap disbound; 42pp and folding plan. Au$100

Not as straightforward nor as dull as you think. One of Sydney's main arterial and most annoying roads, the birth of Victoria Road has its fascinations. This documents eight years of dispute, inertia and recalcitrance finally ending when Charles Abercromby, owner of Birkenhead Estate, withdrew his prosecution of the government surveyor for trespass and other crimes. The dotted lines across Mr Abercromby's patch are a confusion - perhaps they are recommended routes for a surveyor fleeing the hounds.


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Architecture. The International Competition for the Phoebe Hearst Architectural Plan for the University of California. San Francisco, published by the trustees [1899]. Oblong folio publisher's printed wrapper, cord tied (front wrapper and spine chipped); 150pp - 41 introductory pages in four languages; the rest renderings, plans, elevations, photo illustrations. Au$165

Parisian Emile Benard won the competition but wouldn't come to San Francisco to see it built and the university ended up, for the most part, in the hands of local John Howard (fourth prize). It's easy to see Benard's appeal - his design is of the style and scale of an imperial capital which would have pleased both Hearst and Wallot, one of the judges. At first glance I would have said that the design of third prize winners Despradelle and Codman owed something to Burley Griffin, except that of course at this time he was barely up to sharpening pencils for Dwight Perkins. I think all 11 premiated plans are illustrated.


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BRADSHAW, Lewis. Modern Mansions. A solution of the housing, the servant, and the drink problems, by a rational, an evolutionary, and a scientific method of housing reform. Kettering, Northamptonshire Printing [1908]. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper (spine ends neatly repaired); 80pp, six plates (five folding). Au$500

Bradshaw has, with good judgment, seeded sensible British calm through his title - rational, evolutionary, scientific - but this is, for England, a radical little book. Bradshaw proposes housing along lines not just co-operative but communal - he goes so far as to use the term 'collective'. He diverges from the high density urban solutions and the Garden City ideals then predominant among pioneering town planners. Proposed here are short rows of villas or terrace houses - possibly built using Edison's prefabricated concrete system - radiating out from a central amenities hall, these in turn radiating out from a circular town centre of markets and shops.
There are some intriguing parallels here with Garnier's schemes, worked out at about the same time but not published for another decade - given we leave out the epic grandeur of Garnier.


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CHAMBLESS, Edgar. Roadtown. NY, Roadtown Press [1910]. Octavo publisher's cloth blocked in white with an onlaid colour illustration; [6],172pp. A little flaking of the white blocking, an excellent copy. Au$750

The deluxe issue. For an extra ten cents ($1.35 against $1.25 for plain) you could buy this with the cover illustration hand coloured. Now one of the more arcane and elusive utopian schemes for a new kind of city, leading to a new society. Roadtown is a ribbon, the extreme lineal city. At the bottom, underground, is the railway - noiseless and smokeless - above come housing, work and communal areas - each home with its own plot of land - and at the top is a promenade. In short the perfect blend of the virtues of city and country.
What surprises from this distance is how much apparently sensible support Chambless garnered. Construction was to be prefabricated concrete and Edison donated his patents; transport was by monorail and Boyes donated his patents; there was a pretty impressive list of people lending their efforts, both practical and rhetorical. Ten mile stretches of experimental or exhibition Roadtown seemed likely, even imminent, for years but Chambless beavered away at Roadtown for almost forty years, until his death in 1936, to wind up virtually forgotten.


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SHALER, Robert. The Boy Scouts for City Improvement. Cleveland, Arthur Westbrook [c1914]. Octavo publisher's colour illustrated wrapper (inner hinges strengthened); 160pp. Some browning of the cheap paper but a pretty good copy. Au$150

Not the first edition but much preferable to the Hurst, New York edition in cloth with an anodyne, generic cover of boy scouts holding hands. Camp enough but hardly relevant to the story. I'll bet few town planning collections anywhere have a copy of this. It is perhaps more civic improvement than planning but the subjects go hand in hand and few pieces of planning art show the passion and the thrill that is inherent in a city plan such as is displayed here. Shaler wrote a string of these scout books in an incredibly short time - some twenty titles in a year - but after reading a few paragraphs it's easy to see that the hardest bit was coming up with a subject.


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SHALER, Robert. The Boy Scouts for City Improvement. NY, Hurst [1914]. Octavo publisher's illustrated cloth blocked in red and black; 160pp. Au$40

First but less desirable edition; the better one to have is the cheap reprint done by Arthur Westbrook in Cleveland with a properly dramatic cover. I'll bet few town planning collections anywhere have a copy of this. It is perhaps more civic improvement than planning but the subjects go hand in hand. Shaler published a string of these scout books in an incredibly short time - some twenty titles in a year - but after reading a few paragraphs it's easy to see that the hardest bit was coming up with a subject.


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GARNIER, Tony. Les Grands Travaux de la Ville de Lyon. Etudes, projets et travaux executes. Paris, Massin [1920]. folio, loose as issued in publisher's portfolio of cloth backed printed boards; 12pp and 56 plates - drawings, plans, elevations and photos. Au$1200

In Garnier's work in Lyon, instigated by the mayor Edouard Herriott from 1906 on, he realised many of the ideas set forth in his Cite Industrielle and some of the ideas in Cite Industrielle came from his work in Lyon. Une Cite Industrielle was largely finished by 1904 but not published until 1918 so he had the chance to plug a few of the gaps in his imagined city from his real city. Some projects here were completed in later years and some never realised.


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BENOIT-LEVY, Georges. Extreme Urgence. [Lyon, 1920]. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 40,[4]pp and 12 plates. Back cover mildly tidemarked; a very good copy. Au$600

A most uncommon piece of concentrated polemic by France's foremost garden city proponent, born out of the Congres de l'Habitation in Lyon organised by Garnier's patron Mayor Herriott.


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Canberra. Report Together with Minutes of Evidence and Plans Relating to the Construction of Provisional Administrative Offices at Canberra. [Melbourne], Govt Printer [1923]. Foolscap folio, stapled; vi,18pp, 2 folding plans (one with a couple of tears at the edge). Au$125

The standing committee actually voted against the buildings proposed here. They are a compound of single storey timber and iron buildings of very tropical, colonial appearance. A queue of elephants unloading public servants onto the verandahs would suit the elevation drawing perfectly. Asking federal public servants to work in timber and iron buildings bothered the committee who have recommended a pair of brick or concrete, permanent, two story buildings instead.


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Hayashi Tadaichi. [Shonen Teito Fukko Sugoroku]. Tokyo, Nihon Shonen 1924 (Taisho 13). Colour printed broadside 55x79cm. A much played copy with some holes in folds, several short tears and nicks around the edges. Au$200

Not a great copy but have you seen a better piece of visionary urban planning? This was the the new year gift from Nihon Shonen (Japanese Boy) and what better way to mark the new year than rebuilding the freshly devastated Tokyo along utopian lines? The title more or less translates as Boy's Reconstruction of the Imperial Capital and I'd move there in a flash.
This has been thought out. Public transport is a marvel with canals, aerial cable cars and trains tearing round the city and on and off ferries. The airport is sensibly at flight level, which must save enormous amounts of fuel and I think the floating palace is an overnight shuttle to America. Public health and safety is well considered: the fire brigade operates from a tower with a water cannon that can reach across the city to extinguish fires and the hospital will come to you, no matter the terrain. Culture and sport are catered for and the traditional at heart will be comforted to see industry over on the wrong side of the tracks, well away from the houses on the hill, where it belongs. Two essential Tokyo survivors are the start and finish: Tokyo railway station and the imperial palace.
I don't approve of the alarm on the clock tower but no-one can be unimpressed by the solar heating plant. Boy or not, this is the town for me.


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Tokyo. The Outline of the Reconstruction Work in Tokyo & Yokohama. Bureau of Reconstruction, Tokyo 1929. Octavo, very good in publisher's cloth; [14], vi, xii, 220pp and 6 large folding maps, photo illustrations through the text. The Imperial Edict (four pages) printed on a coloured ground with gold border. Au$475

The official report, or boast, to the outside world on the rebuilding after the great 1923 earthquake (and on the earthquake itself). The aim was "not only to restore Tokyo ... but also to build a new capital with an aspect entirely new and quite different", a "gigantic work unparalleled in the history of city planning of the world" - by 1929 "nearly accomplished" (preface & foreword respectively).


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Kon Wajiro, Yoshida Kenkichi & Modernology. - 42 [Yanagiya - dai 42]. Osaka, Yanagiya March 1931. 23x15cm publisher's illustrated wrapper; 60pp, a few small illustrations. Signs of use but decent. Au$50

This is an issue of the obscure and clearly serious Osaka magazine Yanagiya devoted to some extent to the first volume of Modernology, published in 1930.
Kon's thesis - born out of watching the people of Tokyo begin to rebuild after the 1923 earthquake and fire - is that those who do the planning, designing and official building know nothing of what people actually do, what they own and how they use those things - how they live and who they are.


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City Planning. Xinjing or Shinkyo (Changchun) - Manchukuo. [Kokuto Shinkyo Kensetsu no Zenbo]. Shinkyo, Manshukoku Kokumuin Kokuto Kensetsukyoku 1936. Colour printed sheet 54x78cm with colour bird's eye view and panorama on one side; colour plan, smaller b/w photo illustrations and text on the other. Folded as issued, a small knick in a margin, minor signs of use. Au$750

In many ways the new capital of Manchukuo was - is - a planner's dream. Here was an empire building militaristic government wanting to both experiment with all that had been learned about city planning and show the west that not only could they do it, but do it better.
Changchun, a hybrid Chinese-Russian-Japanese railway town, was appointed the new capital, it was renamed, a five year plan for a new city was drawn up under the guidance of Professor Riki (or Toshikata) Sano in 1932, a quick compromise with a competing plan was made, and building was underway in early 1933.
Local interests (ie the Chinese and Manchu population) and business were allowed notional input but the brief was clear: social theory, technology and architecture that made for an efficient colonial capital could be put into place, local self-interest could not. Of course it was not so simple. This was to be a pan-Asian showcase, superior to western, especially colonial western, models - not equal. Confucianism, traditional ritual and Asian racial harmony were to be a central part of the city. What more could any urbanist ask for?
Students of the plan might like to start with Yishi Liu's 2011 doctoral thesis, 'Competing Visions of the Modern;' where Griffin's Canberra plan and Griffin's diagrams for road classification are illustrated beside Xinjing's. By 1936 - when our view of the future city was produced - a lot was still dust and open space but, by the gods, whatever else they learnt from Burley Griffin's Canberra - and it was a lot - about planning a city, they certainly learnt how not to build a city.
What they already knew is what all architects know - by instinct? - to redraw plans to fit what has been built and what is likely to be built. This is, I think, the third or fourth of such views of the new city. There were similar prints in 1933, maybe in 34, and 35. The city was declared open in 1937. I'm yet to see the first but the changes between 1935 and 1936 are noteworthy. The plan is much the same, mildy shrunk, and some buildings in our imaginary bird's eye view may reflect actual building but what becomes clear is that ambition has been scaled back to come closer to what they thought could exist next year. City blocks of large scale housing are now more sparse clumps of bungalows; elaborate Sino-Japanese modernism is plain modernism.


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COOK, Fred C. City of Hobart Plan. Hobart 1945. Quarto publisher's cloth; 84pp, folding colour plans, photo illustrations. Au$175

Uncommon. Another of the major city schemes that - fortunate in this case - had little result.


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Town Planning - Suva. Greater Suva Urban Structure Plan December 1975. Suva, Director of Town & Country Planning 1975. 21x30cm publisher's printed wrapper; iv,115pp and 28 plans. Au$150

A substantial professional working document that grapples with the problems of an unbridled city sprawling outwards too fast. Predictions about the future population weren't far wrong. Much of what is in here are still the problems current planners would like to solve; in much the same way from what I can see. One curious thing I noticed is that Fiji is still called 'the Dominion' - this five years after independence. This is an inhouse production, I'd say a determined display of the expertise of a department based on the British model, unequivocally anonymous throughout. Any reports by hired consultants, and there have been some since, never appear unbranded. Trove and Worldcat find only the National Library copy.


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