Master Planning is Back; Thank an Architect

In a feature article and provocative editorial, The Architect's Newspaper seeks to examine the lead role that architects are playing in 'laying out the future of cities'.

1 minute read

July 13, 2013, 7:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


In arguing that "the 21st Century is seeing a return of the urban master plan," John Gendall spotlights a selection of large-scale projects in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, New York, and suburban Washignton D.C. that seem to be linked by the singular thread that they're big. Though at least a couple of the projects identified predate the line of demarcation (2008) Gendall establishes for when "urban theory took a turn to the grass-roots," he contends that "[t]hese immense urban developments point to a changing cultural and demographic reality."

While Gendall's article doesn't seem to address the architect-oriented premise of its subheading (surely planners, urban designers, and landscape architects play key roles on many of the project teams), an accompanying editorial by William Menking addresses the topic head-on by announcing the "abdication of physical planning by the profession of city and regional planning." As Randall Arendt has noted for Planetizenthere's certainly some truth to his assertion.  

"Now that planners no longer have a say in physical planning, architects have to go it alone," argues Menking. "Have a look at our feature and tell us how you think the profession is handling the job of master planning our cities."

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