Plan 3310/5310: History of Cities and Planning

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PLAN 3310/5310: History of Cities and Planning

Fall 2014

Professor: D. Spain

Phone: 924-6430; e-mail:

Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-4:30 and by appointment

Office: 101 Peyton House

This course provides an overview of the 19th and early 20th century American city as the context in which the planning profession emerged. An underlying assumption is that knowledge of the past is a valuable asset for planners because it informs the present and influences the future of cities. The course is intended for planning students and students outside the field seeking an understanding of the profession and its relationship to urban development.

The American planning profession originated in response to the “search for order” accompanying 19th century urbanization and industrialization. Initial voluntary efforts at municipal reform were eventually supplanted by the work of experts from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and the social sciences. The course addresses these experts, major events, and dates, but it also highlights lesser-known figures commonly overlooked in traditional histories.

Like all history classes, this course requires considerable reading. Selections are a mix of primary sources that expose students to the language and thinking of the historical era, and secondary sources that analyze or reflect on trends. By the end of the semester students should know:

  1. The origins and history of the American planning profession

  2. Major events, figures, and topics typically covered in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) exam

  3. Major events, figures, and topics NOT covered in the AICP exam

  4. How to write a concise essay

Students this semester will benefit from reports prepared by students in previous years. Posted on Collab, they can be used as preparation for the AICP exam.


Undergraduates are required to complete five essays and the final exam essay. Each essay is worth 16 percent of the final grade and the final exam essay is worth 20 percent.

Graduate students are required to write a 10-page paper describing the planning history of a city with which they are familiar, and present a report to the class. Grad students are required to write only 4 of the 5 essays, which will be worth 15 percent each, and the final essay, which is worth 20 percent. The paper/presentation is worth 20 percent of the final grade.

Essays are due in hard copy, in class, on the date listed in bold on the syllabus. They should be approximately 500-words and double-spaced. Include a word count and an estimate of how long it took to complete. All essays are open-resource, including the final exam. Guidelines, questions, and due dates are listed below. Late papers will be penalized one-half letter grade per day. The final essay may be turned in any time between the end of classes and noon Dec. 9.

Components of a successful essay (also see Writing Tips on Collab):

A title reflecting the theme

A sentence stating the purpose of the essay

Examples of your general statements

Relationship to previous materials (in this or other courses)

Citations of work consulted (follow the format of this syllabus)


Compare the strengths and weaknesses of traditional and non-traditional planning histories. DUE SEPTEMBER 2


Essay # 1: Why are Central Park, Pullman Illinois, and the World’s Columbian Exposition important in planning history? DUE SEPT. 18.

Essay # 2: In your own words, briefly summarize the introduction and prefatory sections of the Wacker manual. What does Chapter IX, on the origin of the plan, tell you about urban planning in turn-of-the 20th century Chicago? DUE SEPT. 30.

Essay # 3: Discuss the intended and unintended consequences of zoning in U.S. cities. DUE OCT. 21

Essay # 4: What were the advantages and disadvantages of LeCorbusier’s influence on public housing in the United States? DUE NOV. 6

Essay # 5: What factors explain the difference in suburbanization for whites and African Americans? DUE NOV. 25

Final Essay: How has the planning profession influenced the development of the American metropolis? DUE DEC. 9 BY NOON

Honor Code Reminder:

The goal of the University of Virginia Honor Code is to build a community of trust across the University community. It prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing. The Honor Code is enforced by the Student Honor Committee which makes determinations of guilt or innocence based on three criteria, 1) whether the alleged act occurred, 2) its intentionality, and 3) its non-triviality. Students found to have violated the Honor Code are expelled from the University of Virginia following one single violation. If you have questions about the University of Virginia Honor Code please contact the School's representatives or call the Honor offices at (434) 924-7602. In addition, you may find more information at If you have questions about special cases in the context of the School of Architecture’s curriculum, contact your academic advisor.

Books (required):

Books are available at the UVA bookstore and are on reserve at the Fine Arts Library; some may be available electronically through VIRGO.

Baxandall, Rosalyn and Elizabeth Ewan, Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

Gallagher, Leigh, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Going (New York: Penguin, 2013).

Jackson, Kenneth, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

Macris, Natalie. Planning in Plain English (Chicago: APA Planners Press, n.d.)

Articles and book chapters (all required; all on Collab under Resources):

Addams, Jane. “Pioneering labor legislation in Illinois” pp. 148-68 in Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: New American Library, 1960 [1910])

Bellamy, Edward, Chapter XIV in Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (New York: Dover Pulbications, 1996 [1888]).

Brinkley, Catherine & Domenic Vitiello. “From farm to nuisance: Animal agriculture and the rise of planning regulation,” Journal of Planning History 13 (May 2014): 113-135.

Brown, Jeffrey. “A tale of two visions: Harland Bartholomew, Robert Moses, and the development of the American freeway” J Planning History 4 (2005): 3-32.

Buder, Stanley. “The model town of Pullman: Town planning and social control in the Gilded Age” AIP Journal 33, 1 (January 1967): 2-10.

Chronopoulos, Themis. “Robert Moses and the visual dimension of physical disorder: Efforts to demonstrate urban blight in the age of slum clearance,” Journal of Planning History 13 (August 2014):207-233.

Connerly, Charles, “From racial zoning to community empowerment,” Journal of Planning Education and Research 22 (2002):99-114.

Connerly, Charles, “Urban renewal and highways,” in Charles Connerly, The Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920-1980 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005).

DuBois, W.E.B. “The environment of the Negro” in The Philadelphia Negro (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1899).

Eisenman, Theodore. “Frederick Law Olmsted, green infrastructure, and the evolving city,” Journal of Planning History 12 (2013): 287-311.

Gerckens, Laurence. “Bettman of Cincinnati” pp. 183-215 in Donald Krueckeberg (ed) The American Planner: Biographies and Recollections, Second Ed ((New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Center for Urban Policy Research, 1994).

Goetz, Edward. “Where have all the towers gone? The dismantling of public housing in U.S. cities,” Journal of Urban Affairs 33 (2011): 267-87.

Hirt, Sonia. “Home, sweet home: American residential zoning in comparative perspective,” Journal of Planning Education and Research 33 (2013):292-309.

Howard, Ebenezer, “The town-country magnet,” Chapter One, Garden Cities of Tomorrow (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co.1902).

Jacobs, Jane, Introduction in The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Vintage, 1961).

Kling, Samuel. “Wide boulevards, narrow visions: Burnham’s street system and the Chicago Plan Commission, 1909-1930” J Planning History 12 (2013):245-68.

Lawhon, Larry L. “The neighborhood unit: Physical design or physical determinism?” J. of Planning History 8 (2) (May 2009), 111-132.

Mennel, Timothy. “Victor Gruen and the construction of Cold War utopias” J. Planning History 3, 2 (May 2004): 116-150.

Mumford, Lewis. “The fourth migration” Survey Graphic 7 (1925): 130-33.

Olmsted, Frederick Law, “Public parks and the enlargement of towns,” American Social Science Association (Boston, 1870).

Parsons, K.C. “Clarence Stein and the greenbelt towns: Settling for less” J. American Planning Association (Spring 1990): 161-181.

Parsons, K.C. “Collaborative Genius: The Regional Planning Association of America” J. American Planning Association 60 (Autumn 1994): 462-482.

Perry, Clarence, “The neighborhood unit” Regional Plan of New York and its Environs, Vol. VII, Neighborhood and Community Planning (New York: Regional Plan of New York and its Environs, 1929).

Peterson, Jon. “The City Beautiful Movement: Forgotten origins and lost meanings” J. Urban History 2, 4 (1976):415-434.

Peterson, Jon. “The Mall, the McMillan Plan, and the origins of American city planning” in Richard Longstreth (ed) The Mall in Washington, 1791-1991 (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1991)

Residents of Hull-House, “Hull-House: A social settlement” Appendix in Hull-House Maps and Papers (New York: Thomas Crowell, 1895).

Riis, Jacob. How the Other Half Lives (New York: Hill and Wang, 1957 [1890]): Introduction, pp. 1-10.

Saab, A. Joan “Historical amnesia: New Urbanism and the City of Tomorrow” J Planning History 6 (2007): 191-213.

Sandercock, Leonie, ed. Making the Invisible Visible: A Multicultural Planning History (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998): Introduction: “Framing insurgent historiographies for planning”, pp. 1-33.

Scott, James C. “The high-modernist city: An experiment and a critique” ch. 4 in James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

Scott, Mel, “The spirit of reform” in Mel Scott, American City Planning Since 1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 1-46.

Thomas, June M. “Planning history and the black urban experience: Linkages and contemporary implications” J. Planning Education and Research 14 (1994): 1-11.

Wiese, Andrew, “The house I live in: race, class, and African American suburban dreams in the postwar United States” in Kevin Kruse & Thomas Sugrue (Eds) The New Suburban History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

Wirka, Susan, “The City Social Movement” in MC Sies & C. Silver (Eds) Planning the Twentieth-Century American City (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996): Ch. 2.

Wrigley, Robert L. “The plan of Chicago” in D Krueckeberg (Ed) Introduction to Planning History in the United States (Rutgers, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1983).

PLAN 3310/5310

History of Cities and Planning

Fall 2014

Tentative Schedule

Date Topic Assignment

Aug. 26 Introduction and class logistics

28 American city plans: Colonial era to present Scott, M.

Sept. 2 Traditional vs. nontraditional histories Sandercock;

Practice essay due Thomas

19th Century

4 Early suburbanization Jackson, chs. 1-8

9 Frederick Law Olmsted & Central Park Olmsted; Eisenman

11 City Beautiful, Practical, Social Peterson, 1976; Wirka

16 Pullman, Ill/Writing workshop Buder; Addams

18 The other Chicago, Philly, NYC Hull-House Residents;

DuBois; Riis; Spain

Essay # 1 due

23 1909 Plan of Chicago; Wacker’s Manual on the Plan of Chicago

(both on reserve at Fiske Kimball Library; Manual also online; see Collab)

25 Frederick Law Olmsted video

Early 20th Century

30 The Garden City Bellamy; Howard, Ch.1

Essay # 2 due

Oct. 2 McMillan Plan for D.C; Wrigley; Kling

1909 Plan of Chicago Peterson, 1991

7 Harland Bartholomew & Robert Moses Brown; Chronopoulos

9 Bettman and the birth of zoning Brinkley & Vitiello;

Gerckens; Hirt

Oct. 14 READING BREAK; no class

16 RPAA and Greenbelt Towns Parsons, 1990; 1994;


21 Regional Plan of New York Perry; Lawhon

Essay # 3 due

23 The pre-suburbs Baxandall & Ewan,

Intro - Ch. 7

28 Suburbanization between the wars Jackson, Chs. 9-12

30 Le Corbusier & high modernism Scott, J.

Post-World War II

Nov. 4 Urban renewal and public housing Connerly, 2005; Goetz

Nov. 6 Urban renewal’s critic Jacobs

Essay # 4 due

11 Suburbanization Jackson, Chs.13-15

13 Growth of the suburbs Baxandall & Ewan,

Chs. 8-12; Mennel

18 The creation of suburban racial segregation Baxandall & Ewan,

Chs. 13-15;

20 The costs of racial segregation Connerly, 2002;


21 Suburban futures Baxandall & Ewan,

Chs. 16 & 17;

Jackson, Ch. 16

25 End of the Suburbs?; New Urbanism Gallagher, Intro – Ch.3;

Essay # 5 due Saab


The 21st Century

Dec. 2 Have they ended yet? Gallagher, Chs.4-7

4 Summary and class overview

Dec. 9 Final essay due by 12:00 PM

The following chart will help you interpret essay, and final, grades:

A+ Exceptional

A Outstanding

A- Excellent

B+ Very good

B Good

B- Competent

C+ Fair

C Acceptable

C- Marginal

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