Tony's Idiosyncratic History
European Roots of Planning
- Egyptian forebearers
- Kahoun: City arranged in quarters,subdivided within with activites
- The Greeks
- Hippodamus of Miletus (ca. 450 BC):credited with gridiron
- Plato's Republic: social planning
- city tied to resource base(surrounding farmland)
- citizen desires controlled so as not to
exceed the beauty of nature
- city size limited by need for social unity
(i.e., 5,040 citizens--the number who can hear one man speak in
- The Romans: borrowed physical plans without concern for the
social, economic, or political circumstances which generated them.
- All colonial cities were based on the form of a military encampment--a
walled city with two intersecting major streets (the cardo
and the decumana) and a city center (the forum)
at their juncture. Timgad, Algeria, is an example.
- The Romans were the first to solve the
public works problems of large cities (Rome was 1 million people
at the height of the empire): water supply, drainage, heating,
- Vitruvius (ca. 50 BC), a military engineer
and father of city planners, wrote De Architectura. It
deals with issues like location of streets, use of natural features,
water testing, plazas, and public health.
- The Copernican Revolution
- With Aristotle and the Greeks, space was bounded. It was what
was held in by boundaries (even the heavens were thought to be
contained within "spheres"). With Copernicus, space
was infinite in extent. No longer bounded, a line (say, a road)
could be extended indefinitely past its prior terminus.
- Industrial Reformers
- Robert Owen (1771-1858)
- New Lanark: Industrial town with greenbelt, worker housing,
shops and factories.
- Theory of unemployment: "If men do the work of machines,
the machines will be underused or the men will be underused, or
the men will do something else."
- Charles Fourier (1772-1837)
- Town divided into 3 zones (town, suburb, manufacturing), characteristics
of each minutely determined by committee (zoning commissions?)
- Separation of buildings by fences and
hedges, height of fences and hedges regulated (building codes?)
- 1860s--Shift from utopian urban design to housing conditions
(basis of early American city planning)
- 1889--Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of Tomorrow
- Origin of new town movement
- Satellite towns, ringing central city,
connected by mass transit, separated by green belts.
© 1996 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised13 January 1997