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PLAN 3022: Planning History & Theory
Week 03: Emergence of the Planning Professional – City Beautiful
Anuradha Mukherji
Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
‘Beautiful’ Movement
I. Municipal Art Movement
1. Fusion of art, architecture,
and planning
2. Beautification rather than
functionality
3. Focus on points in the city:
arches, fountains, statues, and
other works of urban design
and decoration
‘Beautiful’ Movement
II. Civic improvement
• Backed by Municipal Art Movement
• To counterbalance the heavy hand of industrialization
III. Outdoor art
• Led by Frederic Law Olmsted
• Promotion of park, park system, and parkways
IV. Classical design
• Neoclassical style: great boulevards, grand perspectives, grouped public
buildings, etc.
‘Beautiful’ Movement
America
• Middle- and upper-middle-class Americans attempt to refashion their cities in
order to boost business
• Aesthetic improvements
• Functional improvements (“city practical”): sewerage and water supply, refuse
collection, active recreation, and public transportation
• Promote a harmonious + social order that would increase the quality of life
Colonial Spaces
• To express imperial dominance and racial exclusiveness
Europe (1930s)
• By totalitarian dictators to impose megalomaniac visions of glory on their capitals
(Stalin, Hitler)
World’ Fair: Columbian Exposition
May – October, 1893: Celebration of 400th
anniversary of the landing of Columbus
Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912): Chief of
Construction
Definitive World Fairs of all time:
• Exposition covered 600 acres
• Based on French Neoclassical architecture
principles of symmetry, balance and
splendor
• Exceeded the scale and grandeur of world
fairs
• Became a symbol of emerging American
Exceptionalism
Chicago Fair
Kansas City, MO
Movement took root in the great
commercial cities of Midwest – Kansas
City, Denver, Seattle
KANSAS CITY
• A system with parks and boulevards
• Began in 1893
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY
PEOPLE
William Rockhill Nelson (1841-1915)
• A real estate developer and founder of
The Kansas City Star
• Using his newspaper, he convinced the
community that parks and boulevards
were necessary
• Aggressively supported the parks and
boulevards, rallying public enthusiasm,
showcasing achievement, and helping the
community mindful of the value of green
spaces.
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY
PEOPLE
August Robert Meyer (1851-1905)
• A successful businessman and developer
of the park and boulevard system for
Kansas City as first president of the
Commission of Parks.
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY
PEOPLE
George E. Kessler (1862-1923)
• A city planner and landscape architect
who designed the Kansas City park and
boulevard system
KANSAS CITY
Report of 1893 (Meyer & Kessler)
• A comprehensive plan
• Favored scenic preservation and
recreation within the city
• Rejected Olmstedian suburban
landscape park
“..we.. recognize that there exist
within the boundaries of our city other
special and urgent problems and
peculiar conditions that … should
engage our attention first.”
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL
“A comprehensive, well-planned and thoroughly maintained
boulevard system would combine rural with urban advantages
and check the tendency to … build residences in the suburbs.
…
Compact settlement would result in better sanitation, street
maintenance, and street service. … the best and most
expensive residences will go up along boulevards…” (Meyer)
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL
KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL
The Paseo
boulevard
Kansas City
Swope Park (1896)
• Thomas H. Swope donated almost 1,334
acres
Kansas City
Swope Park (1896)
Kansas City
Union Station (1909)
• Architect Jarvis Hunt
• Financed by levies on business property
in the downtown area
Kansas City
Union Station (1909)
• Plans for a civic center
• To eliminate saloons and possible
crimes
• Acquisition of a four-block front of
land, extending south to Penn Valley
Park
• Widening the street required
Kansas City
1915
• Links between the great North Terrace
Park and Swope parks
• Passed through or near all the interior
parks and some of the playgrounds
Kansas City Beautiful
• The boulevards and their east-west links tied the parks and entire city
together
• Almost 1,992.25 acres of parks, 676 parkway acres, and almost 90 miles of
boulevards (1915)  some 219 parks in the city limit (current)
• Beautifying neighborhood
• Increased property values
• Prevalence and effects on substandard housings (massive slum clearance,
minority property owners, low-income white squatters)
• Recreational opportunities for residents people
• Environmental benefits
• Establishing the Kansas City Art Commission
• Civic arts – “City of Fountains”
Kansas City Beautiful
• Too concerned with cosmetic display
• Little concerned with housing
• Lack of practical humanitarianism
“The poor only occasionally could afford to escape from their squalid, confining
surroundings to view the architectural perfection and to experience the aesthetic
delights of the remote improvement” (Benjamin Marsh)
• Cost
“we have rushed to plan showy civic centers of gigantic cost..”... “A city planned for
social benefit and economic efficiency would be beautiful.” (Pope)
The Chicago Plan
• 1909
• The birth of modern city
planning
• Architect-Urban Planner Daniel
H. Burnham & Edward Bennett
• Begun by the Merchants Club
in 1906  Published the plan
by Commercial Club of Chicago
in 1909  A gift to the city Daniel Burnham Edward Bennett
The Chicago Plan
4Six Major Physical Elements
• Improvement of lakefront (parks for the public)
• Developing a highway system (radial and circumferential highways)
• Improving a complete railway system (freight and passenger)
• Acquisition of an outer park system (parks & forest preserves)
• Arranging systematic streets (streets and bridges in the city)
• Creation of a civic center of cultural institutions and government
Kansas CityImprovement of lakefront (parks for the public)
From a dumping ground
To a public park
Developing a highway system (radial and circumferential
highways)
Chicago, 1900
Complete railway system (freight and passenger)
Proposed transportation center
Chicago
Acquisition of an outer park
system (parks & forest
preserves)
Chicago
Arranging systematic streets
(streets and bridges in the city)
ChicagoCreation of a civic center of cultural institutions and government
N. Michigan Ave.
“heart of the city” plan
“Paris on the Prairie”
Concluding Points
4The City Beautiful
• Manifested over an 80 year period in a variety of social, political and
cultural contexts
• Planning: A tool of finance capitalism; an agent of imperialism; an
instrument of personal totalitarianism
• Architecture: A symbol of power, concentration on the monumental and
the superficial
• Complete lack of interest in the wider social purposes on planning
• Planning for display, architecture as theatre and design intended to
impress and control

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History & Theory of Planning: The City Beautiful

  • 1. PLAN 3022: Planning History & Theory Week 03: Emergence of the Planning Professional – City Beautiful Anuradha Mukherji Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
  • 2. ‘Beautiful’ Movement I. Municipal Art Movement 1. Fusion of art, architecture, and planning 2. Beautification rather than functionality 3. Focus on points in the city: arches, fountains, statues, and other works of urban design and decoration
  • 3. ‘Beautiful’ Movement II. Civic improvement • Backed by Municipal Art Movement • To counterbalance the heavy hand of industrialization III. Outdoor art • Led by Frederic Law Olmsted • Promotion of park, park system, and parkways IV. Classical design • Neoclassical style: great boulevards, grand perspectives, grouped public buildings, etc.
  • 4.
  • 5. ‘Beautiful’ Movement America • Middle- and upper-middle-class Americans attempt to refashion their cities in order to boost business • Aesthetic improvements • Functional improvements (“city practical”): sewerage and water supply, refuse collection, active recreation, and public transportation • Promote a harmonious + social order that would increase the quality of life Colonial Spaces • To express imperial dominance and racial exclusiveness Europe (1930s) • By totalitarian dictators to impose megalomaniac visions of glory on their capitals (Stalin, Hitler)
  • 6. World’ Fair: Columbian Exposition May – October, 1893: Celebration of 400th anniversary of the landing of Columbus Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912): Chief of Construction Definitive World Fairs of all time: • Exposition covered 600 acres • Based on French Neoclassical architecture principles of symmetry, balance and splendor • Exceeded the scale and grandeur of world fairs • Became a symbol of emerging American Exceptionalism
  • 8.
  • 9. Kansas City, MO Movement took root in the great commercial cities of Midwest – Kansas City, Denver, Seattle KANSAS CITY • A system with parks and boulevards • Began in 1893
  • 10. KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY PEOPLE William Rockhill Nelson (1841-1915) • A real estate developer and founder of The Kansas City Star • Using his newspaper, he convinced the community that parks and boulevards were necessary • Aggressively supported the parks and boulevards, rallying public enthusiasm, showcasing achievement, and helping the community mindful of the value of green spaces.
  • 11. KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY PEOPLE August Robert Meyer (1851-1905) • A successful businessman and developer of the park and boulevard system for Kansas City as first president of the Commission of Parks.
  • 12. KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL: KEY PEOPLE George E. Kessler (1862-1923) • A city planner and landscape architect who designed the Kansas City park and boulevard system
  • 13. KANSAS CITY Report of 1893 (Meyer & Kessler) • A comprehensive plan • Favored scenic preservation and recreation within the city • Rejected Olmstedian suburban landscape park “..we.. recognize that there exist within the boundaries of our city other special and urgent problems and peculiar conditions that … should engage our attention first.”
  • 14. KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL “A comprehensive, well-planned and thoroughly maintained boulevard system would combine rural with urban advantages and check the tendency to … build residences in the suburbs. … Compact settlement would result in better sanitation, street maintenance, and street service. … the best and most expensive residences will go up along boulevards…” (Meyer)
  • 16. KANSAS CITY BEAUTIFUL The Paseo boulevard
  • 17. Kansas City Swope Park (1896) • Thomas H. Swope donated almost 1,334 acres
  • 19. Kansas City Union Station (1909) • Architect Jarvis Hunt • Financed by levies on business property in the downtown area
  • 20. Kansas City Union Station (1909) • Plans for a civic center • To eliminate saloons and possible crimes • Acquisition of a four-block front of land, extending south to Penn Valley Park • Widening the street required
  • 21. Kansas City 1915 • Links between the great North Terrace Park and Swope parks • Passed through or near all the interior parks and some of the playgrounds
  • 22. Kansas City Beautiful • The boulevards and their east-west links tied the parks and entire city together • Almost 1,992.25 acres of parks, 676 parkway acres, and almost 90 miles of boulevards (1915)  some 219 parks in the city limit (current) • Beautifying neighborhood • Increased property values • Prevalence and effects on substandard housings (massive slum clearance, minority property owners, low-income white squatters) • Recreational opportunities for residents people • Environmental benefits • Establishing the Kansas City Art Commission • Civic arts – “City of Fountains”
  • 23. Kansas City Beautiful • Too concerned with cosmetic display • Little concerned with housing • Lack of practical humanitarianism “The poor only occasionally could afford to escape from their squalid, confining surroundings to view the architectural perfection and to experience the aesthetic delights of the remote improvement” (Benjamin Marsh) • Cost “we have rushed to plan showy civic centers of gigantic cost..”... “A city planned for social benefit and economic efficiency would be beautiful.” (Pope)
  • 24. The Chicago Plan • 1909 • The birth of modern city planning • Architect-Urban Planner Daniel H. Burnham & Edward Bennett • Begun by the Merchants Club in 1906  Published the plan by Commercial Club of Chicago in 1909  A gift to the city Daniel Burnham Edward Bennett
  • 25. The Chicago Plan 4Six Major Physical Elements • Improvement of lakefront (parks for the public) • Developing a highway system (radial and circumferential highways) • Improving a complete railway system (freight and passenger) • Acquisition of an outer park system (parks & forest preserves) • Arranging systematic streets (streets and bridges in the city) • Creation of a civic center of cultural institutions and government
  • 26. Kansas CityImprovement of lakefront (parks for the public) From a dumping ground To a public park
  • 27. Developing a highway system (radial and circumferential highways) Chicago, 1900
  • 28. Complete railway system (freight and passenger) Proposed transportation center
  • 29. Chicago Acquisition of an outer park system (parks & forest preserves)
  • 31. ChicagoCreation of a civic center of cultural institutions and government N. Michigan Ave. “heart of the city” plan “Paris on the Prairie”
  • 32. Concluding Points 4The City Beautiful • Manifested over an 80 year period in a variety of social, political and cultural contexts • Planning: A tool of finance capitalism; an agent of imperialism; an instrument of personal totalitarianism • Architecture: A symbol of power, concentration on the monumental and the superficial • Complete lack of interest in the wider social purposes on planning • Planning for display, architecture as theatre and design intended to impress and control