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Immense projects are sprouting around the world—a city for 500,000 refugees outside Karachi; two complete mining towns at Puerto Ordaz and Ciudad Piar, Venezuela; a new port area for Mombasa, Kenya; a French satellite city outside Toulouse to house 100,000 people—in which the planners are doing as much as the politicians and statesmen to determine how men will live tomorrow. And the planner who has the most to plan with is the man in the Bentley: William Leonard Pereira, 54, an architect from Chicago who is pinning more and more of the state of California on his drawing board. Pereira's name is unknown to most Americans, and of course among professionals he hardly ranks with Athenian Constantinos Doxiadis, planner of Islamabad, the huge new capital of Pakistan. Nor does he rate with such a giant as the French architect who calls himself Le Corbusier, or with prestigious Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, designers of Brazil's new capital, Brasilia. Seventy-five-year-old Le Corbusier—having published theoretical plans for doing over Barcelona, Bogotá, Algiers, Antwerp, Buenos Aires and Paris—is watching a city he designed rise in India on the flat Punjab plain 150 miles north of New Delhi. Brick and concrete Chandigarh, new capital of the Punjab state, will hold 500,000 people when completed (urban services become inefficient when cities get any bigger, "Corbu" thinks), and the city's first phase, housing 150,000, is more than half finished. Chandigarh's basic plan is a series of sectors less than a mile on a side with capacities varying from 8,000 to 20,000. Its major weakness: public buildings are so far apart for monumentality's sake that Chandigarhians are hard put to get from one to another.
Family Squabble. Like Chandigarh, Brasilia, hundreds of miles from nowhere, is being built from scratch. As the new capital of a proud nation, it also bears the overtones of a monument. Brasilia is in fact an expensive showpiece with more ingenuity than humanity; crossroads—hence traffic lights —have been eliminated, but there are not enough parking spaces near government buildings. Housing for officials smacks of the ghetto. If you are in the Air Ministry, you not only work together all day, but you also live in the same compound with your colleagues at night.
California's Bill Pereira is dealing with no monuments, no national sentiments, no cities-in-vacuum. He has had the luck—helped by hard work and great skill—to fall into something truly unique: the chance—and the challenge —to build a huge new community alongside the urban disorder of the boom town of the boom state in the boom country of the world. It is a golden opportunity, and no one is more aware of the fact than Pereira himself.