A Study of Growth and Decline. Urban Europe by Leo van den Berg

By Leo van den Berg

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Under the circumstances, predicting the future becomes a precarious occupation, and trying to direct developments a very hazardous task. The alternative is for the government to try and base its policy on the preferences held by society, by first trying to determine the effects of each decision on the most important welfare components and on the spatial structure in which these components will function. The desirability of certain developments in the future cannot be appreciated other than in the light of present experience of success and failure.

34 Urban Europe transport network. Commuter travel is affected in particular: people no longer need to live near their work or near public transport services. For large categories of society an entirely new situation is created; they can now live anywhere within a given wide area and still have adequate access to all the elements they consider important to their welfare. A job in town can easily be combined with living a considerable distance away, and a number of central provisions in the city will remain within reach.

Another factor conducive to the shift of manpower from agriculture was the development of manufacturing industries, centres of technical services to agriculture, and basic services in rural areas, all of which provided non-agricultural jobs. But, as previously mentioned, capital shortages during the period of reconstruction and the emphasis on the priority of industrial over other investment naturally reduced expenditures on social infrastructure, which at that time was still considered non-productive.

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