RADBURN - A PLANNED COMMUNITY

INTRODUCTION

Radburn, a planned community, was started in 1929 by the City Housing Corporation from the plans developed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright. The concept of the "new town" grew out of the older planned communities in Europe and the work of Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes. The intent was to build a community which made provisions for the complexities of modern life, while still providing the amenities of open space, community service and economic viability.

Aerial view of Radburn, 1929

The community was intended to be a self-sufficient entity, with residential, commercial and industrial areas each supplementing the needs of others. All property within the boundaries of the Radburn Association is governed by The Declaration of Restrictions which runs with the land.

In 1974, the Radburn Association site was included in the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey State Register.

The residential areas include every type of housing unit with a wide range of cost. The basic layout of the community introduced the "super-block" concept, cul-de-sac (cluster) grouping, interior parklands, and separation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic to promote safety. Every home was planned with access to park walks.

There are extensive recreation programs planned for the entire community. While the orientation is primarily toward children, there is also a full range of adult activities. Some of the programs are: Tot Lot, Radburn PreSchool, sports, aerobics, amateur dramatics, library, clubroom facilities.

LOCATION

Radburn is located within the Borough of Fair Lawn, Bergen County, New Jersey, 12 miles from New York City.

POPULATION

There are approximately 3100 people - some 680 families living in Radburn.

HOUSING

Housing consists of 469 single family homes, 48 townhouses, 30 two family houses, a 93 unit apartment complex and 10 condominium units.

GOVERNMENT

Radburn is part of the Borough of Fair Lawn. The Radburn Association, the corporate body provided for in the covenant, collects the charge, provides recreational programs, maintains the common property, enforces the covenants and sets policy. The Radburn Association is operated by a Board of Trustees composed of nine people and a manager-director. Trustees are nominated by Board members and elected by the residents of the community and the members of the Association. 

The Citizens' Association is the civic group to which any resident may belong. It serves as a sounding board for public opinion, and through its president, who is automatically a member of the Board of Trustees during his term in office, provides the trustees with information on how residents view current issues, policies and problems.

FINANCE

The community is financed by its residents, who pay a charge based on their Borough assessed valuation. They also pay the full Borough tax rate. The Radburn Charge may not exceed 50% of the Borough tax rate. These fees pay for the maintenance of properties, administration and recreation programs.

FACILITIES AND SITE INFORMATION

Radburn consists of 149 acres including 23 acres of interior parks, 2 swimming pools, 1 tot bathing pool, 4 tennis courts, 2 Tot Lots, a ball field, 2 playgrounds, an archery plaza, 2 outdoor basketball courts and many walks. There is also a community center which houses administrative offices, library, gymnasium, clubroom and maintenance shops.

CONCLUSIONS

Radburn is a place where community involvement can take place; where the emphasis is on a program to meet the needs of children of all ages, as well as adults; where there is open space (parks); where the main thoroughfares are separated from the pedestrian walks; where the property is small , but the common parks make up for the lack of yard space. It is a planned community which still meets the needs of the people just as it has for nearly eighty years. Times change, but the concept of Stein, Wright and Ascher is still as valid today as it was in 1929.