by Lewis Mumford

This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.

We must create in every region people who will be accustomed, from school onward, to humanist attitudes, cooperative methods, rational controls. These people will know in detail where they live and how they live: they will be united by a common feeling for their landscape, their literature and language, their local ways, and out of their own self-respect they will have a sympathetic understanding with other regions and different local peculiarities. They will be actively interested in the form and culture of their locality, which means their community and their own personalities. Such people will contribute to our land-planning, our industry planning, our community planning the authority of their own understanding, and the pressure of their own desires.

Excerpted from The Culture of Cities, 1938.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was a historian, sociologist, and literary critic whose writings on cities, architecture, and technology remain influential. The architecture critic for The New Yorker for more than 30 years, he won the National Book Award for his 1961 book The City in History. He was the inspiration for the antagonist in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

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