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“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown

From Horse Power to Horsepower  B Y E R I C M O R R I S  (A C C E S S N U M B E R 3 0 , S P R I N G 2 0 0 7)

IN 1898 , DELEGATES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure.

The horse was no newcomer on the urban scene. But by the late 1800s, the problem of horse pollution had reached unprecedented heights. The growth in the horse population was outstripping even the

rapid rise in the number of human city dwellers. American cities were drowning in horse manure as well as other unpleasant byproducts of the era’s predominant mode of transportation: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. Widespread cruelty to horses was a form of environmental degradation as well.

The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure. One New York prognosticator of the 1890s concluded that by 1930 the horse droppings would rise to Manhattan’s third-story windows. A public health and sanitation crisis of almost unimaginable dimensions loomed.

And no possible solution could be devised. After all, the horse had been the dominant mode of transportation for thousands of years. Horses were absolutely essential for the functioning of the nineteenth century city—for personal transportation, freight haulage, and even mechanical power. Without horses, cities would quite literally starve. All efforts to mitigate the problem were proving woefully inadequate. Stumped by the crisis, the urban planning conference declared its work fruitless and broke up in three days instead of the scheduled ten.

Read the Rest of article:  A C C E S S N U M B E R 3 0 , S P R I N G 2 0 0 7


First Global Urban Planning Conference Was mostly About Manure

The sticking point at the world’s first international urban planning conference was a load of crap.

When delegates from around the globe gathered in 1898 to hammer out a solution to one of the greatest problems facing their cities, whose consequences they could no longer ignore, they weren’t talking about infrastructure challenges, a shortage of resources, or even crime.

The problem was horses. And their copious poop.