History of Urbiculture
The idea for urbiculture came to me while contemplating Rudolph Steiner’s Agriculture[i], in 2007. After doing some research, I saw that the word was used in an article, Among the New Words.[ii] It defined the word as a combination of [urban and agriculture, by analogy with agriculture] Rep. J. Arthur Younger said “About 75 per cent live in cities. Problems such as slums, dope, juvenile delinquency, housing and smog are problems that originate in the cities. And they are national problems.” Mr. Younger said he believed the new word “urbiculture” covered the matter. In 1956, Mary Reifer Dictionary of New Words, called it “a newly coined word. Just as ‘agriculture’ refers to farms and farmers, so ‘urbiculture’ means care of cities and city people.”[iii] The word was first introduced to congress as a bill in 1955. H.R. 1019 was introduced to Congress to create a Department of Urbiculture. It declared that “Congress finds that many of the most pressing problems facing the people of the United States grow out of the lack of knowledge and understanding of proper techniques in utilization of urban land, and that there is a corresponding national interest in the development of the science of urbiculture.[iv] I have included a link to the full article and I think it’s very interesting. It did not pass and has been since reintroduced as H.R. 1864, where a subcommittee testified “A major stumbling block for H.R. 1864 is that the creation of a department of urbiculture would elevate consideration of urban problems so high and so fast from present levels of consideration that the sudden jump would be unacceptable to some people.”[v] As far back as 1912, Philip Kates urged the creation of a national department of municipalities.[vi]
The other two bills presented to congress with H.R. 1019 had similar features. Both of them eventually became known as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and most recently, the Office of Urban Affairs. These are national departments, designed to work with other national departments. In my opinion, we need national support to encourage local and individual development. More and more, I realize that support will not come in the manner that we’re used to.
My vision of the Urbiculture Foundation is to provide tools that will allow individuals and small organizations to integrate with our ecology. I think the best way we can improve our situation is to use small and slow solutions and to consider our relations with each other and our local ecologies. These tools are being used around the world by people willing to design their lives as a part of the greater whole. By compiling tools appropriate to city living, the Urbiculture Foundation can meet its mission.
Copyright 1993 by Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc.
[ii] Among the New Words
I. Willis Russell
Vol. 32, No. 2 (May, 1957), pp. 136-139
(article consists of 4 pages)
Published by: Duke University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/453030
[iii] 1955 Mary Reifer Dict. Of New Words
(N.Y.: Philosophical Lib.)
1956 This Week 5 Aug. p. 8
New Words and Words in the News (Funk & Wagnalls Co. )
Sup. No. 9 & 10 p. 3/2 urbiculture
[iv] Do We Need a Department of Urban Affairs?
Robert H. Connery and Richard H. Leach
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 13, No. 1 (Mar., 1960), pp. 99-112
(article consists of 14 pages)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/444338
[v] Hearing, supra note 28, p. 49
[vi] Philip Kates, “A National Department of Municipalities,“ The American City, January, 1912, pp. 405-7