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Another big Gruen project is a brand-new community called Laguna Niguel, 48 miles south of Los Angeles, in which about 40,000 people will live, work and play on 7,100 acres of rolling range land. The approach of Laguna Niguel's developer, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes of Boston, illustrates the difference between modern real estate development and old-fashioned lay-it-out and put-it-up methods. Before Master Planner Gruen was called in, the location, population growth, family income and industrial potential of the site were analyzed by two market analysts and placed under close scrutiny by the Stanford Research Institute.
Architects Whitney Smith and Wayne Williams are master-planning 80,000 acres to be called California City, in which more than 8,000 families have already invested some $15 million. Outstanding features completed: a municipal airfield, a 27-acre, man-made lake with marina, boats, and an island on which a smaller lake is stocked for fishing, a night-lighted golf course and driving range, a shopping center, two motels, a restaurant, two swimming pools, and a Congregational church. And Los Angeles Architect Welton Becket is building a 260-acre Century City on the old 20th Century-Fox lot near Beverly Hills, which will contain 20 office buildings, 20 high-rise apartment houses, an 800-room hotel, a large regional shopping center and a resident population of 12,000 (a working population of 20,000).
Need for the Men. "The urge to urbanize," says Bill Pereira, "was probably the first thing man followed when he began to use his mind." The new satellite cities and communities that Pereira and his colleagues are creating are vistas of the future in the U.S. and models for export to tomorrow's more affluent, more crowded world. And with the need for them comes the need for the men who can make them.
"Curiously, history records very few examples of regional master planning," says Pereira, "where not only the new towns but the interrelated land uses of the surrounding areas are planned together. Even today, most big planning projects consist either of creating a new community in a relative void—such as Brasilia—or replanning part of an existing city, as with the usual urban renewal project. The prospect of planning from scratch an entire complex within a major population center rather than hundreds of miles away from it—and to do it under private rather than governmental auspices—would seem to most planners an impossible dream.
"Well, we have that dream right here."