city planning

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city planning,

process of planning for the improvement of urban centers in order to provide healthy and safe living conditions, efficient transport and communication, adequate public facilities, and aesthetic surroundings. Planning that also includes outlying communities and highways is termed regional planning.

Early City Planning

Many ancient cities were built from definite plans. The fundamental feature of the plans of Babylon, Nineveh, and the cities of ancient Greece and of China was a geographical pattern of main streets running north and south and east and west, with a public square or forum in the center. Such a gridiron plan was used in the ancient Peruvian city of Chan ChanChan Chan
, ruins of an ancient city near Trujillo, N Peru. An early example of city planning, with a rectangular grid structure, it was probably begun in the period from A.D. 950 to 1400, and it is estimated that it may have contained as many as 200,000 people.
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. It was also followed by the Romans, as in Lincoln and Chester in England; in all their towns the Romans emphasized drainage and water supply and practiced zoning. In medieval cities, built with military security in mind, the only relief from the extremely narrow streets was the space formed by municipal and church squares. The living conditions of the poorer citizens were given little attention.

With the Renaissance came the truly monumental views—wide avenues and long approaches creating vistas of handsome buildings. The new aim is seen first in special sections of a city, such as Michelangelo's grouping on the Capitoline at Rome and Bernini's piazza of St. Peter's. In most European cities through the 17th and 18th cent. there was fragmentary replanning of medieval streets. After the fire of 1666 in London, Sir Christopher WrenWren, Sir Christopher,
1632–1723, English architect. A mathematical prodigy, he studied at Oxford. He was professor of astronomy at Gresham College, London, from 1657 to 1661, when he became Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford.
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 devised a superb plan for a complete rebuilding of the city, but the plan unfortunately was not carried out. In the 18th cent., Mannheim and Karlsruhe, Germany, were laid out geometrically; Emmanuel Héré planned Nancy, France; John Wood produced grand architectural streets and squares at Bath; and the new part of Edinburgh was laid out. In the early 19th cent. John Nash planned certain sections of London; central Vienna was improved; and Baron HaussmannHaussmann, Georges Eugène, Baron
, 1809–91, French civic official and city planner. Distinguished for his bold alterations in the layout of Paris under Napoleon III, he is largely responsible for the city's present appearance.
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 remodeled Paris to produce the celebrated boulevard system with its spokes-and-hub design.

Legislation that enabled cities to make and carry out planning designs was enacted earlier in Europe than in the United States. Such laws were passed in Italy in 1865, in Sweden in 1874, and in Prussia and Great Britain in 1875. Planning in Great Britain was especially concerned with slum elimination; its greatest exponent was Sir Patrick GeddesGeddes, Sir Patrick
, 1854–1932, Scottish biologist and sociologist, distinguished especially in town planning. He received his biological training in T. H. Huxley's laboratory; from the beginning he was interested in relating biological knowledge to civic welfare.
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. At the turn of the century Sir Ebenezer HowardHoward, Sir Ebenezer,
1850–1928, English town planner, principal founder of the English garden-city movement. His To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), reissued as Garden Cities of To-morrow
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 was the founder of the modern garden city movement. The first English garden citygarden city,
an ideal, self-contained community of predetermined area and population surrounded by a greenbelt. As formulated by Sir Ebenezer Howard, the garden city was intended to bring together the economic and cultural advantages of both city and country living, with land
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, Letchworth, was begun in 1903.

City Planning in the United States

In the United States, early New England towns, formally disposed along wide elm-lined central roadways or commons, exhibit a conscious planning. Annapolis, Md., Philadelphia, and Paterson, N.J., were built after plans; but the most celebrated example is the city of Washington D.C., laid out according to the plan devised (1791) by Pierre Charles L'EnfantL'Enfant, Pierre Charles
, 1754–1825, American soldier, engineer, and architect. Born in France, he volunteered as a private in the American Revolution. He won Gen. Washington's attention with his design for the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati.
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, under the supervision of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—a rectangular plan with diagonal main thoroughfares superimposed and the Capitol as the central feature.

In the 19th cent. Frederick Law OlmstedOlmsted, Frederick Law,
1822–1903, American landscape architect and writer, b. Hartford, Conn. Although his Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England
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 was a pioneer in city planning, especially in developing parks. State legislation enabling cities to appoint planning commissions and in some cases giving them authority to carry out the plans began in Pennsylvania in 1891. The work of Daniel Hudson Burnham for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893, was a stimulus to city planning, and Burnham, with Edward Bennett, drew up a plan for Chicago, much of which was put into execution. In 1901 a commission composed of Burnham, Charles Follen McKim, and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., devised a scheme for the modern development and beautification of Washington, D.C., adhering to L'Enfant's original plan as a basis for all new operations.

A wide influence on planning in U.S. cities was exerted by the zoningzoning,
legislative regulations by which a municipal government seeks to control the use of buildings and land within the municipality. It has become, in the United States, a widespread method of controlling urban and suburban construction and removing congestion and other
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 laws adopted in New York City in 1916, which controlled the uses of each district in the city and regulated the areas and heights of buildings in relation to street width. The important Regional Survey of New York and Environs, completed in 1929, took into consideration legal and social factors as well as internal transit problems and various modes of approach to the metropolitan area.

Governmental efforts to provide employment during the depression of the 1930s led to the building (under the Federal Resettlement Administration) of three experimental model communities—Greenbelt, Md., Greendale, Wis., and Greenhills, Ohio. Among the many subsequent planned communities built by private developers are Columbia, Md., and Reston, Va. The increase of traffic and crowding together of tall buildings have crippled the street plans of many cities—especially U.S. cities that have been handicapped by their rectangular or checkerboard layouts.

Contemporary Planning

In the larger U.S. cities, physical deterioration, crowding, and complex socioeconomic factors have produced vast slums. Most urban renewal programs of the mid-20th cent. were aimed at clearing these slums through the demolition of decayed buildings and the construction of low-income and middle-income housing projects. It was found, however, that the mere replacement of old buildings with new structures did not eliminate slum conditions.

In contrast to traditional planning, which concentrated on improving the physical aspects of buildings and streets, modern city planning is increasingly concerned with the social and economic aspects of city living. The process of city planning is a highly complex, step-by-step procedure, usually involving a series of surveys and studies, development of a land-use plan and transportation plan, preparation of a budget, and approval of a unified master plan by various agencies or legislative bodies. City planners are usually part of an urban planning board or governmental agency that must take into account the characteristics and long-range welfare of the people of a particular urban community—their employment opportunities, income levels, need for transportation, schools, shopping areas, hospitals, parks and recreational facilities. They must face the problems of traffic, congestion, and pollution; they must also consider the availability of police, fire, and sanitation services, the limitations posed by zoning and other regulations, and the problems of funding. In recent years, residents of many communities have demanded greater participation in the planning of their own neighborhoods, and some planners have worked closely with community groups during various stages of the planning process.

Contemporary examples of planned cities include BrasíliaBrasília
, capital city and federal district of Brazil (2,264 sq mi/5,864 sq km; 1996 pop. 1,817,001), an enclave in the southwest of Goiás state. Inaugurated in 1960, it is situated in the highlands of central Brazil, and its ultramodern public buildings (designed
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, the federal capital of Brazil, RotterdamRotterdam
, city (1994 pop. 598,521), South Holland prov., W Netherlands, on the Nieuwe Maas (New Meuse) River near its mouth on the North Sea. One of the largest and most modern ports in the world, Rotterdam is the major foreign-trade center of the Netherlands and its second
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, main seaport of the Netherlands, ChandigarhChandigarh
, union territory (2001 provisional pop. 900,914), 44 sq mi (114 sq km) and city, NW India. The city is the capital of both Haryana and Punjab states. It was designed by Le Corbusier and built largely in the 1950s, on a site chosen for its climate and water supply, to
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, the joint capital of the Indian states of Haryana and Punjab, IslamabadIslamabad
, city and capital territory (2017 provisional pop. 2,006,572), capital of Pakistan, NE Pakistan, just NE of Rawalpindi, the former interim capital. Construction of Islamabad [city of Islam] as the capital, replacing Karachi, began in 1960.
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, the capital of Pakistan, and AbujaAbuja
, city and federal capital territory (2006 provisional pop. 1,405,201), central Nigeria. Plans to move the capital from Lagos were approved in 1976, and a 3,000-sq mi (7,770-sq km) capital territory was created near the old town of Abuja (renamed Suleja).
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, the capital of Nigeria.


See J. Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961, repr. 1969); L. Mumford, The City in History (1961, repr. 1966); F. Gibberd, Town Design (5th ed. 1967); W. H. Whyte, The Last Landscape (1968); H. Colman, City Planning (1971); G. E. Cherry, ed., Shaping an Urban World (1980); A. Sutcliffe, Toward the Planned City (1981); V. M. Lampugnani, Architecture and City Planning (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

city planning, town planning, urban planning

Planning a future community, or the guidance and shaping of the expansion of a present community, in an organized manner and with an organized layout, taking into account such considerations as convenience for its inhabitants, environmental conditions, social requirements, recreational facilities, esthetic design, and economic feasibility; includes a study of present requirements and conditions, as well as projections for the future; such planning usually includes proposals for its implementation. See community planning.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
If indeed they can be traced back this far, may we not adduce this to a condition of all city planning, though some may well emerge that differentiate the possibilities of city planning from architecture.
Jon Peterson's The Birth of City Planning in the United States is an attempt to divine the origins of the city planning movement since 1840, and while its closing pages take the story briefly into the 1990s, it is the role of planning and planners in the decade before the First World War--the Progressive Era--that is his primary focus.
He has engaged in city planning projects in New York's Manhattan and the Nigerian capital Abuja, and in an environment park project in Tehran.
"Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) is designed to be predictable, feasible and permanent," said City Planning Commission chairman Carl Weisbrod, in a statement.
According to Jenni Faulkner, Burnsville city planning and development director, chair of the month-long observance, cities across America will be inviting citizens to discuss how quality planning for communities and smart growth will improve cities and regions as well as protect them.
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Carol Samol, Director, Bronx Office, New York City Department of City Planning; Carl Weisbrod, Director of the New York City Department of City Planning, chairman of the New York City Planning Commission.
Citizens and pubic and private sector leaders must get involved and support better city and regional planning and action for better quality communities, according to NLC and the American City Planning Directors' Council and its American City Quality Foundation during American City Quality Month, celebrated this April.
The city's Department of City Planning is proposing charging a steep increase in filing fees that would add nearly $200,000 to an application for some of the largest projects filed in the five boroughs, documents show.
The early Russians who settled after the Second World War regarded the Baltic enclave as the new frontier -- 'modern', where city planning and architecture could start from scratch.
Last year, when the Tennessee legislature passed the Urban Growth Policy Act - nicknamed the "smart growth" law, after the most recent fad in city planning - it didn't want to leave anything to chance.