Home » New Jersey » Radburn

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.


New Jersey

Basic Information

Type of Place
CDP, Unincorporated Borough, or MCD
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Don’t Know

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Jewish


Chares Stern Ascher, planned Radburn, used restrictive covenants, pioneered the “modern homeowner association.” See Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder, Fortress America (DC: Brookings, 1997), 19.)

“garden city” put up c.1930, 1928 plan by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright. Not a city in census, 1990, part of Fair Lawn, which had 30,548 people and just 181 blacks.

Former resident says authoritatively that it also kept out Jews in the 1950s and 1960s.

Tom Maguire, “Radburn, New Jersey, An Experiment In Urban Form”
Available at:
Table of Contenst:
Clarence Stein’s and Henry Wright’s work on the New Jersey suburb of Radburn was a fundamental departure in terms of built form, ideological paradigm, and design process, from American planning traditions in the 1920s. Since its partial completion in 1929, Radburn has served in turn as a model for the form, paradigm, and process of building suburbs. In this paper, I will briefly trace Radburn’s history and theoretical underpinnings, evaluate its built form against Kevin Lynch’s performance dimensions of Access and Control, and discuss the continuing influence Radburn has had on American planning.

*Intellectual and Theoretical Roots*
*Planning Radburn*
*Evaluating Radburn on Lynch’s Performance Dimensions*
*Informal Means of Control*
*Formal Means of Control*
*Radburn as a Model of Exclusionary Planning*
*Does Radburn Still Matter?*
*Radburn as a Theoretical Model*
*Radburn as a Practical Model*

Birch, Eugenie Ladner, “Radburn and the American Planning Movement: The Persistence of an Idea,” /Journal of the American Planning Association/ vol. 46, no. 4 (October 1980), p. 424 439.
Buder, Stanley, /Visionaries and Planners/, 1990, New York: Oxford University Press
City Housing Corporation, “Declarations of Restrictions No. 1 Affecting Radburn, Property of City Housing Corporation,” in /Bergen County Deeds/, Book 1643, page 177, 8 April 1929, Hackensack, N.J.
Calthorpe, Peter, “Pedestrian Pockets: New Strategies for Suburban Growth,” in /The Pedestrian Pocket Book: A New Suburban Design Strategy/, Doug Kelbaugh, ed., 1989, New York: Princeton Architectural Press
Fishman, Robert, /Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia/, 1987, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press
Gatti, Ronald, “Radburn: The Town for the Motor Age,” 1989, Radburn, N.J.: The Radburn Association
Girling, Cynthia, “The Pedestrian Pocket: Reorienting Radburn,” /Landscape Journal/ vol. 12, no. 1 (Spring 1993), p. 40 49
Lynch, Kevin, /Good City Form/, 1981, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press
Mumford, Lewis, /The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects/, 1961, New York: Harcourt Brace
Mumford, Lewis, /Sketches from Life: The Autobiography of Lewis Mumford, The Early Years/, 1982, New York: Dial Press
Perry, Clarence, “The Neighborhood Unit,” monograph in /The Regional Plan of New York and its Environs, Regional Survey Volume VII: Neighborhood and Community Planning/, ed. Thomas Adams, 1929, New York: Committee on the Regional Plan of New York and its Environs
“Radburn: A Town Planned for Safety,” /American Architect/ vol. 137, no. 2579 (January 1930), p. 42 45, 128 130
Radburn Association, “Guidelines of Architectural Control,” published as /Radburn Bulletin/ no. 2766, 6 February 1997, Fair Lawn, N.J.
Radburn Association web site, /http://www.radburn.org///
Stein, Clarence, /Toward New Towns for America/, 1957, Cambridge: MIT Press

Schaffer, Daniel. Garden Cities for America: The Radburn Experience.
Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1982

“In the summer of 1923, while the RPPA was being organized, Bing, Stein, and Wright in their first united effort prepared a ‘Preliminary Study of a Proposed Garden Community in the NY Region.’? “The study began with a statement of what it s authors intended not to do and what they intended to prove. They rejected slum clearance programs because such measures were too costly to make a significant contribution to housing and community development.” “In a statement that was to remain basic to the RPAA’s program, they argued that better housing for low income groups would best be achieved where land is cheap and undeveloped because capital could then be spent on the quality of design and construction.” 51 52
p 59: quotes Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities: “the creation of self sufficient small towns, really very nice towns if you were docile and had no plans of your own and did not mind spending your life among others with no plans of their own.” Vintage, 1961, .17
“It as hoped that Radburn’s ultimate size and unique physical form would enable residents to exhibit the friendliness of a small village; and to enjoy the social diversity of an urban center without suffering from anonymity.” 15159.
p. 178 “Specifically the Declaration of Restrictions enabled the RA to?protect Radburns’s architectural integrity from ‘thoughtless or inconsiderate purchasers’ who could ‘destroy the harmony of spoil the plan by building structures inappropriate in design or location.’ As a political institution, the RA was given broad powers ‘to administer, interpret, and apply the restrictions.” In short, it was charged with the responsibility to determine community policy, which it did largely through the disbursement of funds that remained ‘wholly’ under its ‘absolute discretion.'” P. 178
179: “The purpose of the administrative plan was obvious: to protect the financial investment and community plan that the CHC had devised not only for the benefit of its stockholders but for Radburn’s residents as well.”
“The CHC did not conceal Radburn’s political structure from either prospective homeowners or investors. Indeed the executives expressed their pride in what their considered to be a progressive approach.” P.180
“Indeed, looking through the eyes of the Radburn Association’s trustees, the community resembled a Hull House for the professional middle class.” (181)
“Public housing for low income families, meanwhile, was defined as a form of welfare. Since each municipality could request public money on a discretionary basis, the more affluent suburban communities shunned the federal low income housing program and left the responsibility for housing the poor to urban municipalities where the poor already lived. Few attempts were made to integrate low cost housing into larger, more diverse, community settings.” (225)
“Thus when the opportunity for a radical reordering of the American landscape existed, conservative legislation quickly obscured it.” (225)