Planning History: A Few of the Late 19th and 20th Century Places you Should Know

<p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><span>Earlier blogs have explored books and journals for finding out about the basics of planning <a href="/node/43730" target="_blank">history</a>. In this blog I add to this by listing a just </span>few of the places it is important to recognize as a planner. It is of course difficult to make such lists but students ask for them with some frequency. Of course, places are one thing and planning processes quite another--and in planning process is very important. Upcoming blogs will deal with plans and processes.</span></span>  </p>

July 3, 2010, 10:42 AM PDT

By Ann Forsyth


Earlier blogs have explored books and journals for finding out about the basics of planning history. In this blog I add to this by listing a just few of the places it is important to recognize as a planner. It is of course difficult to make such lists but students ask for them with some frequency. Of course, places are one thing and planning processes quite another--and in planning process is very important. Upcoming blogs will deal with plans and processes. 

  1. Hull House, Chicago, is emblematic of places that housed social programs important in the early development of urban planning as we know it. Of course the programs mattered more than the buildings but the buildings can be instructive, 1880s: http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/.
  2. Letchworth, England, is part of a larger tradition of garden suburbs and later new towns, this is the classic garden city based on Ebenezer Howard's ideas, 1900s: http://www.gardencitymuseum.org/.
  3. Radburn, New Jersey, is a key project of the Regional Planning Association of America, demonstrating and popularizing neighborhood planning principles, such as superblocks, that would be widely adopted for good and for bad, 1920s: http://www.radburn.org/
  4. Pruitt Igoe, St. Louis, MO, is famous as one of the first large high-rise public housing developments to be demolished, though management played a huge role in its failure, 1950s to 1970s. Demolished, part of the site has been redeveloped: http://www.umsl.edu/~keelr/010/pruitt-igoe.htm
  5. Hong Kong's and Singapore's new town programs were influenced by garden city ideas and modernism, these new towns featured many high rise housing units integrated with larger social and economic programs. They achieved many of their aims. Singapore's new towns, the first dating from the 1950s, have won two World Habitat awards: http://www.worldhabitatawards.org/winners-and-finalists/project-details.cfm?lang=00&theProjectID=116 and http://www.worldhabitatawards.org/winners-and-finalists/project-details.cfm?lang=00&theProjectID=146. Hong Kong's program dates from the 1970:s http://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/docs/towns&urban_developments.pdf.
  6. Curitiba, Brazil, demonstrates fairly top-down innovation, in this case in transit and general urban planning and revitlalization, 1960s on: http://www.solutions-site.org/artman/publish/article_62.shtml. Of course Bogota, Colombia, has done similar work and is often cited as well: http://bakfietscargo.blogspot.com/2007/08/blog-post.html. Here's Randy Crane's comparison: http://planning-research.com/notes-on-bogota-vs-curitiba/
  7. Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston, Massachusetts, is the classic festival market place since copied in many places around the world, 1970s: http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Faneuil_Hall_Marketplace.html
  8. Kentlands, Maryland, was for a long time the most complete new urbanist village, 1980s. It is a reminder that it is hard for new ideas to get fully implemented: http://www.kentlandsusa.com/sub_category_list.asp?category=19&title=History
  9. Favela Bairro project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is an example of a city led program with some local scale participation dealing with multiple small favelas and providing physical infrastructure and some social services, 1990s: http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/upgrading/case-examples/ce-BL-fav.html and http://ideas.repec.org/p/idb/ovewps/0805.html. The Dignified Places Program in Capetown, South Africa, though focused primarily on public spaces, has a similar approach of multiple small interventions: http://www.unhabitat.org/bestpractices/2006/mainview.asp?BPID=1149
  10. Bilbao's redevelopment in the Basque region of Spain is important because it generated the term, the Bilbao effect, using star architecture to promote economic development, 1990s:http://www.forbes.com/2002/02/20/0220conn.html and http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/09/23/travel/20070923_BILBAO_SLIDESHOW_index.html 

This is my June blog, a few days late. I know there are lots of other places--in different parts of the world and in different time periods--but this is a start toward a manageable list!


Ann Forsyth

Trained in planning and architecture, Ann Forsyth is a professor of urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. From 2007-2012 she was a professor of city and regional planning at Cornell.

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