Planning History Timeline: a Selected Chronology of Events

Prof. Scott Campbell (Urban & Regional Planning Program, University Of Michigan)

See also these related sites: Remembrances & Obituaries of Planning Scholars & "Urban theorist timeline"

Do you have a suggestion for a new entry (especially entries to broaden, enrich, diversify how we conceive of planning)? Please use this simple google form to enter your suggestion.
PS: to send a correction or modification to an existing entry, you can simply email me.

last updated: October 18, 2020

 

NOTE: starting/ending dates of eras are often approximate (e.g., "Progressive Era") and should be interpreted as rough outlines of overlapping historical eras.

  • important books/publications listed in dark red
  • key dates in planning education in green
  • notable new towns and projects (including adaptive reuse) in gray shading
  • Environmental planning and related themes (sustainability, ecology, climhate change, land conservation, resource management, etc.) noted in the rightmost column ("eco"). This is a potentially broad category, and I have likely omitted important key entries. Please email me additions (see above.)

jump ahead to a specific era (note: eras are suggestive and overlapping): late 19th century industrializationProgressive EraCity Beautiful MovementBirth of Modern PlanningWWIInstitutionalization of Planning"Roaring Twenties"Chicago School of Urban SociologyGreat DepressionNew DealWWII • Postwar Consumer SocietyCivil Rights EraLBJ's Great Society • Urban Crisis • 1970s EnvironmentalismReagan/Thatcher EraPost ModernismSustainabilityFocus on Globalization (Information Era)

ERAS (approximate)

YEAR

EVENT

TOPIC

Key moments in environmental planning
      1713

Hans Carl von Carlowitz. (1713). Sylvicultura Oeconomica, Oder Haußwirthliche Nachricht und Naturmäßige Anweisung Zur Wilden Baum-Zucht. Leipzig: Braun. In his book on forestry, the German accountant and administrator developed the idea of sustained yield forestry -- often seen as an antecedent to conceptions of sustainable development. [link to German text]

  eco

1791

Pierre L.Enfant plans the capital of the United States

 

 
1811 Commissioners' Plan establishes the street grid pattern for New York City (i.e., "the greatest grid") [link]    

1818

Robert Owen publishes Report to the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor. (a proposal for small village communities of 1,200 for the relief of overcrowded towns)

 

 

1826

Johann Heinrich von Thünen. 1826. Der isolierte Staat in Beziehung auf Landwirtschaft und Nationalökonomie. Hamburg. ["The Isolated State in Relationship to agriculture and national economics" -- an early effort to conceptualize optimal land use types relative to distance from a central market point. a foundational text in economic geography]

publication

 
1842 Croton Aqueduct begins supplying water from Westchester County to New York City.    

1849

James Silk Buckingham publishes National Evils and Practical Remedies, a proposal for a model town to absorb the unemployed (never built).

publication

 
1855 The London physician John Snow publishes his map of the cholera outbreak in Soho [seen as a landmark prototype of a thematic map]    

1857

The development of Llewellyn Park, an elaborately landscaped villa development in the foothills of New Jersey's Orange Mountains. (one of the first planned American suburbs)

new town/project

 
1857 Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux win the design competition for what would become New York City's Central Park (built 1858-1873). [confirm dates] new town/project  
1857 The American Institute of Architects (AIA) established.    
1863 London opens the first underground railway in the world (the "Metropolitan Railway"). [link]    

1860s

The period of Baron Haussmann intense rebuilding of Paris (starting in about 1855)

 

 

1860s

Vienna began its Ringstrasse development

 

 

1868

Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted began planning the suburb of Riverside, Illinois. (incorporated as a village in 1875). an early example of an American planned community.

new town/project

 

1870

Baron Haussmann was forced to resign his position as Prefect of Paris

 

 
1870 Planning begins for San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (designed by William Hammond Hall and John McLaren) [link] new town/project  

1875

Benjamin Ward proposes his model city of health called "Hygeia" to promote longevity and lower mortality.

 

 
1876 Baumeister, Reinhard. 1876. Stadt-Erweiterungen in technischer, baupolizeilicher und wirthschaftlicher Beziehung. Berlin: Ernst & Korn. (City Extensions and their technical, building regulatory and economic relationships). [considered the first modern city planning textbook.] publication  
1880 German planning education begins at the technical university in Aachen education  

1880

Building of Pullman, Illinois, model industrial town, begun by George Pullman (completed 1884)

new town/project

 
1883 Brooklyn Bridge completed (connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River).    

1884

First settlement house: Toynbee House in England

 

 

1886

Establishment of the Neighborhood Guild in New York's Lower East Side (considered the first settlement house in the US) [link]

 

 
1887 Ferdinand Tönnies. 1887. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Leipzig. (later translated as Community and Society), [foundational text of urban sociology] publication  
1889 Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr co-founded Hull House, an early settlement house, in Chicago    

1889

Sitte, Camillo. 1889. Der Städte-Bau nach seinen künstlerischen Grundsätzen : ein Beitrag zur Lösung modernster Fragen der Architektur und monumentalen Plastik unter besonderer Beziehung auf Wien. Wien: C. Graeser & Co. [later translated as: City Planning According to Artistic Principles]

publication

 

1890

Jacob Riis publishes his How the Other Half Lives, a view of the New York slums, which stimulated housing reform.

publication

 
  1891 Die Frankfurter Zonenbauordnung von 1891 (the Frankfurt, Germany, "zoning ordinance" -- an early landmark step in the development of zoning)    

1893

Columbian Exposition in Chicago (roots of City Beautiful). Main architect: Burnham.

temporary event

 

1894

the National Municipal League founded

 

 

1898

Ebenezer Howard publishes To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (reprinted in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-Morrow)

publication

 

1898

"Greater New York" created out of the merger of the five boroughs.

 

 

1898

Peter Kropotkin, Fields, Factories and Workshops [link]

publication

 
1899 Du Bois, W. E. B., and Isabel Eaton. 1899. The Philadelphia negro : a social study. Publications of the University of Pennsylvania Political economy and public law series.[a classic sociological study, the first case study of an African-American community in the US] [link to full text] publication  

1899

the American Society of Landscape Architects founded

 

 
  1900 Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opened (linked the south branch of the Chicago River to the Des Plaines River). Reversed the flow of the Chicago River to prevent pollution of Lake Michigan water supply.    

1901

Charles M. Robinson publishes The Improvement of Towns and Cities or the Practical Basis of Civic Aesthetics. (New York), which emerged as a key statement of the City Beautiful Movement.

publication

 
1901 New York State Tenement Housing Act of 1901 [required improvements in window ventilation, courtyards, fire safety, etc.]    

1902

the McMillan Plan for Washington, D.C., redesigning the National Mall, in City Beautiful style

 

 

1903

Letchworth constructed (as England's first Garden City, about 30 miles north of London)

new town/project

 

1903

Georg Simmel, "Die Großstadt und das Geistesleben" ["The Metropolis and Mental Life"]

publication

 
1904 The Association of American Geographers (AAG) founded. education  

1906

The Garden Cities Association of America established (first Vice Pres.: the president of Long Island Railroad)

 

 
1906 The US Steel Corporation establishes the City of Gary (Indiana) for its new Gary Works (on the south shore of Lake Michigan). Once the county's largest steel mill. [link] new town  
1907

Stübben, Hermann Josef (1907). Der Städtebau. Stuttgart: A. Kröner. [part of the series Handbuch der Architectur (Handbook of Architecture); later translated as City Building; available online both in German and English].

publication  

1907

the first city planning commission (in Hartford, CT) established

 

 
1908 Ford produces the first "Model T" automobile (in the Piquette Plant in Detroit) [seen as the first affordable, mass produced car)    

1909

First National Conference on City Planning in Wash. D.C.

 

 
1909 "Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909" (UK) [permits local authorities to engage in planning]    
1909 Marsh, Benjamin C., & Ford, George. B. (1909). An introduction to city planning; democracy's challenge to the American city. New York. [an early and influential text on the new field of city planning] publication  

1909

Burnham's Plan of Chicago published (seen as the first regional-oriented plan in the U.S.)

 

 

1909

Harvard offers the first course in city planning (in its School of Landscape Architecture)

education

 
1909 Hellerau, the first "garden city"(Gartenstadt) in Germany (adjacent to Dresden). new town/project  
1909 Weber, Alfred. 1909. Über den Standort der Industrien. Tübingen. [Theory of the Location of Industries] (an influential text on location theory written by Max Weber's brother) publication  
1910 General Town Planning Exhibition ('Allgemeine Städtebau-Ausstellung') in Berlin (May)    
1910 "The Town Planning Conference," London (October)    

1911

Forest Hills Garden built as a middle- and upper-income garden city-like development in Queens, NY. (designed by Frederick Olmsted, Jr., and built by the Russell Sage Foundation)

new town/project

 

1911

Frederick Winslow Taylor publishes The Principles of Scientific Management, one of the fountainheads of the efficiency movements in the U.S. (including the City Efficient movement).

publication

 
1912 Columbia University (NY) offers a town planning course within the School of Architecture [link] education  

1914

Perry, Clarence Arthur. 1914. The school as a factor in neighborhood development, by Clarence Arthur Perry, [Russell Sage Foundation, New York Pamphlet]. New York City,: Dept. of Recreation. [an early version of Perry's idea of the neighborhood unit as the foundation of planning]

publication

 
1914 Royal Town Planning Institute established (first president: Thomas Adams)    
1915 Park, R. E. (1915). The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment. American Journal of Sociology, 20(5), 577-612. [a leader of the "Chicago School," Park studied with John Dewey (Michigan) and Georg Simmel (Berlin), and worked with Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute.] publication  

1915

Geddes, Patrick. 1915. Cities in evolution: an introduction to the town planning movement and to the study of civics. London: Williams & Norgate. [link]

publication

 

1916

first comprehensive zoning in the US (by New York City Board of Estimates)

 

 
1916 Lewis, Nelson Peter. 1916. The planning of the modern city; a review of the principles governing city planning. New York: John Wiley & sons. (Lewis was the Chief Engineer of the City of New York Board of Estimate and Apportionment) [link] publication  
1917 The United States Supreme Court (in "Buchanan v. Warley") declares that racially biased zoning is unconstitutional (but only applied to legal statutes, so did not ban race-based restrictive covenants among home-owners). [link]    

1917

American City Planning Institute (ACPI) established, with Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. as 1st president

 

 
  1919 Canadian Institute of Planners founded.    

1919

Bauhaus formed in Germany (Walter Gropius, director 1919 - 1928; later Hannes Meyer and then Ludwig Mies van der Rohe). Closed in 1933 after the Nazi regime comes to power.

education

 
1920 The 1920 US Decennial Census confirms that the US urban population (54.3 mil) has surpassed the rural population (51.8 mil).    
1920 The second Garden City was built in England in Welwyn, about 20 miles north of London new town/project  

1921

Port Authority of New York created. To insure "faithful cooperation in the future planning and development of the port of New York." Empowered to operate "any terminal of transportation facility" within the port district. (later renamed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

 

 

1921

Max Weber, Die Stadt. [The City]

publication

 
1922 Inauguration of Regional Plan of New York under Thomas Adams.    
1922 Country Club Plaza established in Kansas City, considered the first automobile-oriented shopping mall. It opened in 1923. new town/project  
1922 Le Corbusier develops the idea of the Ville contemporaine (City Contemporary), a utopian planned community intended to house three million inhabitants in steel and glass towers surrounded by parks [link]    

1923

Creation of the Regional Planning Association of America ("RPAA") -- a small but influential group including Clarence Stein, Henry Wright, Benton MacKaye, Lewis Mumford, Alexander Bing, Catherine Bauer, and others.

 

 
1923 Harvard opens the first graduate program in city planning (housed in the Department of Landscape Architecture) education  

1924

U.S. Dept. of Commerce (under Secretary Herbert Hoover) issues a Standard State Zoning Enabling Act.

 

 

1924-8

Sunnyside Gardens constructed (in New York, designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright)

new town/project

 

1925

first comprehensive plan officially endorsed by a major US city (Cincinnati)

 

 

1925

Ernest Burgess publishes his "concentric zone" model of urban structure and land use.

publication

 

1925

Le Corbusier exhibits his "Plan Voisin" for Paris (a massively-scaled replacement of central Paris neighborhoods with highrises.) [link]

 

 

1925

Survey Graphic Regional Planning Number (1925), edited by Lewis Mumford. [contained the writings of the Regional Planning Association of America]

publication

 

1925

Le Corbusier. 1925. Urbanisme, Collection de "L'esprit nouveau". Paris: G. Crès & cie. [later translated as The city of to-morrow and its planning]

publication

 

1926

Village of Euclid vs. Ambler Reality (constitutionality of zoning upheld by Supreme Court)

 

 

1928

construction of Radburn, NJ, begun (a Garden City designed by Stein and Wright), located in what is now Fair Lawn, between Paterson and Paramus.

new town/project

 
1928 Formation of the Congrès internationaux d'architecture moderne (CIAM) [International Congresses of Modern Architecture]. Founders included Le Corbusier, Sigfried Giedion, Ernst May, and others.    

1928

MacKaye, Benton. 1928. The new exploration; a philosophy of regional planning. New York,: Harcourt.

publication

eco
 

1929

The Stock Market Crash

 

 
1929 Harvard creates the first independent planning school (3-year Master of City Planning program), with funding assistance from the Rockefeller Foundation education  
1929 Publication of the Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs. (a wide-ranging study including physical, demographic, economic and government elements). publication  
1930 Werner Hegemann, Das steinerne Berlin: Geschichte der grössten Mietkasernenstadt der Welt. Berlin: Kiepenhauer. [Stony Berlin: History of the Largest Tenement City in the World] publication  
1930 Rockefeller Center begun in midtown Manhattan (principal architect Raymond Hood) new town/project  

1932

26 mayors met in Detroit to appeal for federal support of Depression-hit cities (this group formally became the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1933)

 

 

1932

Wright, Frank Lloyd. 1932.  The Disappearing City. New York, W. F. Payson. [Wright presents his idea for the decentralized "Broadacre City"]

publication

 
1933 Christaller, Walter. 1933. Die zentrale Orte in Süddeutschland. Jena. [Central Places in southern Germany] (develops the influential idea of "central place theory" and the resulting hierarchical network of cities) publication  

1933

Congress creates the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) in May

 

 

1933

The Public Works Administration (PWA) created (in May), as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

 

 

1933

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) created (in November), later folded into the FERA in April, 1934

 

 

1933

The National Planning Board established in the Interior Department to assist in the preparation of a comprehensive plan for public works. Its last successor agency, the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB), was abolished in 1943.

 

eco

1933

The Tennessee Valley Authority created to provide for unified and multi-purpose rehabilitation and redevelopment of the Tennessee Valley. (the most famous experiment in integrated river basin planning in the U.S.)

 

eco

1934

Housing Act of 1934 (establishes the FHA)

 

 
1934 Catherine Bauer, Modern Housing (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934). ["The book quickly became the bible of New Dealers searching for ways of building decent, safe, and sanitary housing while simultaneously promoting construction that would ease unemployment." -- Mel Webber.] publication  

1934

American Society of Planning Officials (ASPO) established.

 

 

1935

The U.S. Resettlement Administration established to carry out experiments in land reform and population resettlement. (led by Rexford Tugwell). It built three Greenbelt towns (as early forms of new towns): Greenbelt, Maryland; Greendale, Wisconsin; and Greenhills, Ohio.

new town/project

 

1935

Congress created the Works Progress Administration (WPA)

 

 

1935

The Social Security Act passed in August

 

 
1935 MIT approves a Master in City Planning (MCP) program. [link] [link] education  
1935

Cornell offers regional planning classes through a Carnegie Corporation grant (a joint architecture and engineering program) [link]

education  

1937

The U.S. Housing Act (Wagner-Steagall). Set the stage for future government aid by appropriating $500 million in loans for low-cost housing. Tied slum clearance to public housing.

 

 

1937

Farm Security Administration established, successor to the Resettlement Administration and administrator of many programs to alleviate the condition of the rural poor

 

 

1938

Wirth, Louis. "Urbanism as a Way of Life." American Journal of Sociology 44 (1):1-24.

publication

 

1939

Homer Hoyt publishes his monograph, The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities, outlining his theory of radial-sector.

publication

 

1939

ACPI renamed the American Institute of Planners (AIP)

 

 
1939 The American Institute of Planners (through Civic Films, Inc.) releases the influential film "The City", with commentary written by Lewis Mumford and music by Aaron Copeland. (presents the dark side of the congested industrial city and the benefits of regional planning and new towns/garden cities) [link]    

1939

New York World's Fair, which included the "Futurama" exhibit, designed by Norman Bell Geddes, at the General Motors Pavilion. The exhibit presented a vision of the rationally-planned city of the future, with superhighways and multi-leveled streets.

 

 
1940 Lösch, August. 1940. Die räumliche Ordnung der Wirtschaft: Eine Untersuchung über Standort, Wirtschaftsgebiete und internationalen Handeln. Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer. [later translated as The economics of location] (a seminal text on location theory and urban economics) publication  
   

1944

Serviceman’s Readjustment Act ("G.I. Bill"). Guaranteed loans for homes to veterans under urban favorable terms (which, in turn, accelerated suburbanization after the war).

 

 
1944 Creation of the World Bank (at the 1944 Bretton Wood Conference). First loan: to France in 1947.    
1944 The Greater London Plan of 1944 (i.e., the "Abercrombie Plan") [link] [map]    

1944

Hayek, Friedrich. 1944. The Road to Serfdom. London: Routledge. [an argument for the benefits of decentralized markets and against centralized planning]

publication  
1945 The University of Illinois authorized a master's degree in urban planning [link]

education

 

1946

the Full Employment Act of 1946

 

 
1946 The University of North Carolina establishes the Department of City & Regional Planning (Significantly, a planning program without links to an architecture or landscape architecture school; see also U. Chicago in 1947) education  
1946 The University of Michigan creates a program in City Planning, housed within what was then the College of Architecture and Design (CAD). (The program would become a formal department in 1968, the same year as the creation of a university-wide Ph.D. program in urban and regional planning.) education  

1947

the Housing and Home Finance Agency (predecessor of HUD) created to coordinate federal government’s various housing programs.

 

 

1947

Construction of Levittown, NY, begun (a private-sector development to sell affordable houses to the new white middle-class with their FHA loans).

new town/project

 

1947

Coursework began at University of Chicago's Program for Education and Research in Planning [a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary planning program, treating planning as an applied social science rather than as an extension of architecture]. program terminated in 1956.

education

 
1948 UC Berkeley creates a program in City and Regional Planning (under TJ Kent) education  

1949

Housing Act of 1949 (Wagner-Ellender-Taft Bill). Aimed to provide about 800,000 units to be constructed over a period of six years. First U.S. comprehensive housing legislation. Title I: federal funding for slum clearance; Title II: Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance; Title III: federal funding for public housing. "The law was the product of seven years of bitter legislative stalemate and a shotgun wedding between enemy lobbying groups. It set lofty goals—to eliminate slums and blighted areas and provide a decent home for every American family—but provided only the limited mechanisms of public housing and urban renewal to meet them" (von Hoffman, Alexander. 2000. "A study in contradictions: The origins and legacy of the housing act of 1949." Housing Policy Debate 11 (2):299).

 

 
1950 Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Buffalo, Albany (NY), Cincinnati and other older industrial cities reach their peak historical population level (and subsequently decline in population due to outmigration both to the suburbs and to southern and western US regions). Source: US Decennial Census.    
1951 Stanford Industrial Park created by Stanford University (later renamed Stanford Research Park); first tenants, Varian Brothers, arrive in 1953. [becomes an early center of what would become known as "Silicon Valley"; an example of university-firm technology transfer] new town/project  
1952 Georgia Tech opens a Graduate City Planning Program [link] education  

1952

Gruen, Victor and Smith, Lawrence P. "Shopping Center: The New Building Type. Progressive Architecture, June 1952, pp. 67–109. [one of many of Gruen's early postwar writings on the shopping mall]

publication

 

1954

the Housing Act of 1954 (created the Urban Planning Assistance Program to aid states and localities). Also gave federal grants for councils of governments and other metropolitan planning agencies (early federal support for regional coordination).

 

 

1954

In Berman vs. Parker, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of Washington, D.C. Redevelopment Land Agency to condemn properties which are unsightly though nondeteriorated if required to achieve objectives of duly established area redevelopment plan.

 

 
1954 The Hudson Company (a Detroit department store) opens "Northland Center" in Southfield, Michigan (an inner-ring suburb of Detroit), considered the largest shopping center at the time. Designed by Victor Gruen. (The mall closed in 2015.) [link] new town/project  
1954 Youngtown, Arizona, opens as the first age-restricted retirement community in the US. new town/project  
1955 Disneyland Park opens in Anaheim, CA. new town/project  

1955

Meyerson, Martin, and Edward C. Banfield. 1955. Politics, planning, and the public interest; the case of public housing in Chicago, Glencoe, Ill.,: Free Press. [emphasizes the political nature of planning and the link between planning, urban politics and public support]

publication

 
1956 Chandigarh completed as the new provincial capital of Punjab, India (designed by Le Corbusier along with Piere Jeanneret, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew starting in 1950). [confirm completion date] new town/project  

1956

Passage of the U.S. Federal-Aid Highway Act (popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act)

 

 

1956

Development of Brasília, the new capital of of Brazil (planner: Lucio Costa; architect: Oscar Niemeyer). Inaugurated in 1960.

new town/project

 

1956

Isard, Walter. 1956. Location and Space-Economy. New York: The Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and John Wiley & Sons. [the foundational text by the "father" of regional science]

publication

 

1956

Tiebout, Charles M. 1956. "A pure theory of local public expenditures." Journal of Political Economy no. 64 (3):416–424. [the classic statement of the "Tiebout Model"]

publication

 
1956 The Dayton Company opens the Southdale Center (designed by Victor Gruen) in Edina, Minnesota -- the first enclosed shopping mall. new town/project  

1957

Perloff, H. 1957. Education for Planning: City, State, and Region. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.

publication

 

1957

Chapin, F. Stuart. 1957. Urban land use planning. New York: Harper. [the first of many versions/editions of this standard text]

publication

 

1958

Regional Science Department established by the University of Pennsylvania (chair: Walter Isard); department closed in 1993.

education

 
1958 Jacobs, Jane. 1958. "Downtown is for People," Fortune, April. [a highly influential article, written for Fortune's editor William H. Whyte, that criticized modernism urban renewal and would lead the Rockefeller Foundation to give Jacobs a grant to support writing her landmark 1961 book, Death and Life of Great American Cities] publication  

1959

Lindblom, C.E 1959. "The Science of 'Muddling Through," Public Administration Review 19 79-88. [seminal article on incremental planning]

publication

 
1959 Research Triangle Park created (between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC), a model of postwar, suburban, campus-like research and development centers. new town/project  

1960

Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.

publication

 
1960 Del Webb's Sun City opens in Arizona, promoted as an "active living" retirement community new town/project  

1961

Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects, Harcourt, Brace & World (New York).

publication

 

1961

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities [strongly criticized contemporary city planning and large-scale urban renewal, and argued that vibrant city life needed diversity, density, small-blocks, mixed-uses and vibrant streets and sidewalks for people, not just cars.]

publication

 
1962 The first phase of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Midtown Manhattan completed (the Philharmonic Hall). The Lincoln Square neighborhood had been designated for urban renewal in 1955, with ground breaking in 1959. project  
1962 Conversion of the old Ghirardelli chocolate factory in San Francisco into a commercial complex. (architects: Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons Inc.; and Lawrence Halprin & Associates) [seen as the first major "adaptive reuse" project of old factory/warehouse buildings turned into retail/tourist uses]. The nearby adaptive reuse project, "The Cannery," completed a year later in 1963 (architect: Joseph Esherick). adaptive reuse  
1962 Roger Tomlinson develops the Canada Land Inventory [an early effort in the development of what would be known as the Geographic Information System (GIS)]. [source: GIS LOUNGE]   eco
1962 Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press. [triggered a re-evaluation of the structure and transformation of social science ideas and truth] publication  
1962 Gans, Herbert J. 1962. The urban villagers; group and class in the life of Italian-Americans. New York: Free Press of Glencoe. [study of Boston's West End neighborhood and a critical view of slum clearance programs] publication  

1962

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Houghton Mifflin). [a foundational text in the modern environmental movement]

publication

eco
 

1963

Destruction of the above-ground portion of historic Pennsylvania Station -- the main train station in New York City, designed by McKim, Mead and White and completed in 1910. The failed protests against the demolition helped trigger the historic preservation movement.

 

 
1963 Creation of URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association)    

1964

the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964

 

 
1964 Planners for Equal Opportunity (PEO) created. Officially launched on August 17, 1964, at the AIP (American Institute of Planners) convention in Newark. (PEO disbands in 1974).    

1964

The 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act

 

 

1964

Kent, T.J. 1964. The Urban General Plan. San Francisco: Chandler Publishing. [a foundational text by the founder of the UC Berkeley city planning program]

publication

 

1964

Anderson, Martin. 1964. The Federal bulldozer; a critical analysis of urban renewal, 1949-1962, Cambridge,: M.I.T. Press.

publication

 

1964

Gruen, Victor. 1964. The heart of our cities; the urban crisis: diagnosis and cure. New York: Simon and Schuster.

publication

 

1964

Alonso, William. 1964. Location and Land Use. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. [an early, influential text on regional science. Alonso was a student of Walter Isard at Penn's regional science program.]

publication

 
1964 Glass, Ruth. 1964. London : aspects of change. University of London Centre for Urban Studies. London, MacGibbon & Kee. [The Berlin-born, London-based sociologist Ruth Glass coins the term "gentrification" to describe the movement of affluent middle-class residents into working class neighborhoods.] publication  
1964 Reston, Virginia founded as a new town/planned community (developed by Robert E. Simon). new town/project  

1965

the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965; creates the Economic Development Administration (EDA)

 

 
1965 First published use of the term "Geographic Information System" (GIS): Michael Dacey and Duane Marble, "Some comments on certain technical aspects on geographic information systems" (Department of Geography, the University of Illinois, Evanston, Ill., Dec 1965). [source: GIS LOUNGE]    

1965

the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (HUD) to replace the old Housing and Home Finance Agency

 

 

1965

Davidoff, Paul. "Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning." Journal of the American Institute of Planners no. 31 (4):544-555. [seminal article on advocacy planning] [link to the Davidoff Tapes Project at UMass Boston]

publication

 

1965

Altshuler, A.A. 1965. The City Planning Process: A Political Analysis Ithaca, New York Cornell University Press.

publication

 
1965 Mitscherlich, Alexander. 1965. Die Unwirtlichkeit unserer Städte: Anstiftung zum Unfrieden. [The inhospitality of our cities. A deliberate provocation] . Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. (The German psychologist writes a passionate criticism of German postwar urban development.) publication  

1966

the 1966 Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act (including the Model Cities program)

 

 

1966

Babcock, Richard F. 1966. The zoning game; municipal practices and policies. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. [helped assert the centrality of land use controls in community planning]

publication

 
1966 Walt Disney, shortly before his death, presents his ambitious plan for a new city adjacent to Disneyworld called "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT) for central Florida. The city was never built, though a highly modified and downsized version was opened as a theme park in 1982. new town/project  

1967

Urban Riots/Rebellions in Detroit, Newark and other cities (July)

 

 

1967

Bacon, Edmund N. 1967. Design of cities. New York: Viking Press. [influential book based on Bacon's years as director of planning in Philadelphia]

publication

 
1967 Columbia, Maryland opened (new master planned community by James Rouse) new town/project  
1967 Milton Keynes, UK, completed as a new town (part of a larger postwar new town construction effort) new town/project  
1967 "In retrospect, this [1967] was the high watermark of a belief in a total, centralised, top-down, expertly based – but also benign – planning system." Peter Hall    

1967

Metropolitan Council (Minneapolis/St. Paul and surrounding region) created [a model of comprehensive regional planning]

 

 

1968

the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968

 

 
1968 The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) prohibited discrimination in housing based on race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. [link]    

1968

The New Communities Act of 1968 (which guaranteed private financial for private entrepreneurs to plan and develop new communities)

 

 

1968

Garrett Hardin, 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, Vol. 162 no. 3859, pp. 1243-1248

publication

eco
 

1969

NEPA: The National Environmental Policy Act (requiring an EIS for every federal or federally-aided state or local major action that would affect the environment)

 

 

1969

McHarg, Ian L. Design with nature. Garden City, N.Y.: Natural History Press.

publication

 
1969 Scott, Mel. 1969. American City Planning Since 1890. Berkeley: University of California Press. publication  
1969 Jacobs, Jane. 1969. The Economy of Cities. New York: Vintage Press. publication  
1969 Jack and Laura Dangermond founded Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), in Redlands, CA. (an early developer of GIS - Geographic Information Systems) [link]    
1969 Following disputes between Yale's city planning department and the university administration (including a contentious battle over admitting additional black and Hispanic students), the university administration disciplined several faculty leaders (including chair Christopher Tunnard) and began to dismantle the city planning department. education  
1969 Formation of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) education  
1969 Banham, Reyner, Paul Barker, Peter Hall, and Cedric Price. 1969. "Non-Plan: an experiment in freedom." New society 13:338. (an lively, provocative and influential essay that speculates whether reversing the troublesome emergence of heavy-handed, modernist, urban renewal planning would "let people shape their own environment.") publication  

1970

National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established. Administers the main provisions of the Clean Air Act (1970).

 

 
1970 The 1970 US Decennial Census confirms that, for the first time, more people live in suburbs (37.6%) than central cities (31.4%), with the remainder living outside metropolitan areas.    

1972

California passes the Coastal Zone Management Act (leading to the California Coastal Commission)

 

 

1972

Beginning of destruction of Pruitt-Igoe public housing projects (St. Louis)

new town/project

 

1972

Castells, Manuel. 1972. La question urbaine. Paris,: F. Maspero. [later translated as The Urban Question]

publication

 
1972 Newman, Oscar. 1972. Defensible space; crime prevention through urban design. New York: Macmillan. publication  
1972 Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. I. (1972). The Limits to growth; a report for the Club of Rome's project on the predicament of mankind. New York: Universe Books. [a landmark report that used computer simulations to examine the constraints on population growth] publication eco

1973

The 1973 Oregon Statewide Land Use Law (leading to urban growth boundaries)

 

 

1973

David Harvey, Social Justice and the City

publication

 

1973

Rittel, Horst W.J., and Melvin M. Webber. 1973. "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." Policy Sciences Vol. 4:155-169. [introduces the idea of urban social problems as "wicked problems"]

publication

 

1973

Lee, Douglas. 1973. "Requiem for Large Scale Models." Journal of the American Institute of Planners (May).

publication

 
1973 Faludi, Andreas. 1973. Planning theory. Oxford: Pergamon Press. [a key text in the rise of procedural planning theory] publication  
1973 Friedmann, John. 1973. Retracking America; a theory of transactive planning. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press. publication  

1974

Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. It establishes the block grant (CDBG), as opposed to the categorical grant, as the main form of federal aid for local development.

 

 

1974

Henri Lefebvre,  La production de l'espace, Paris: Anthropos. [later translated as The Production of Space]

publication

 

1974

Caro, Robert. 1974. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Alfred Knopf.

publication

 
1975 The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled, in Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Mount Laurel Township, that the township's zoning excluded low- and moderate-income persons. (eventually led to the principle that localities had an obligation to provide affordable housing) [link]    
1976 Faneuil Hall Marketplace renovation in Boston (developer: James Rouse). an early example of a "festival marketplace" adaptive reuse  
1977

Peter Hall presents "Green Fields and Gray Areas" at the Royal Town Planning Institute Annual Conference (1977) promoting the “free port” idea for decaying neighborhoods, which would later emerge as the "enterprise zone" concept. see also: Hall, P. (1982). Enterprise zones: a justification. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 6(3), 416-421.

   

1978

Hawaii becomes the first state to institute statewide zoning.

 

 

1978

ASPO and AIP combined into the American Planning Association (APA)

 

 
1979 The Planning and Women Division formed within the American Planning Association.    
1979 Voters approve the Metro Council, covering the three counties in the Portland (Oregon) metropolitan area. (and the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission would accept the Urban Growth Boundary map drawn by Metro)   eco
1980 Harborplace opens in the inner harbor of Baltimore, Maryland (developer: Rouse Co.) -- another example of a "festival marketplace" adaptive reuse  

1980

William H. Whyte, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation.

publication

 
  1981 Construction of Seaside, Florida -- a New Urbanist town designed by Duany & Plater-Zyberk (DPZ). new town/project  
1981 The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), formed in 1969, holds its first conference (at Howard University) separate from AIP/APA. ACSP creates the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER) [as a separate voice from the Journal of the American Planning Association] education  
1981 Michael Heseltine (UK Secretary of State for the Environment), creates the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to redevelop the once-thriving port terminal areas after containerization of maritime shipping led to the area's demise. [link] (see also the Museum of London/Docklands). An early and prominent example of the capital-intensive conversion of industrial and port lands into a post-industrial, globally-oriented cityscape. new town/project  
1981 Brown, Lester R. and Worldwatch Institute. (1981). Building a sustainable society. New York, Norton. [an early publication from the Worldwatch Institute -- founded by Brown in 1974 -- that explored "the unsustainable relationship that has developed between our contemporary civilization and the biological systems that support it." (p. 6) publication eco
1982 Krumholz, Norman. 1982. A retrospective view of equity planning: Cleveland, 1969-1979. Journal of the American Planning Association 48 (Spring): 163-74. [the originator of the "equity planning" idea recounts his years as planning director of Cleveland] publication  

1982

Bluestone, Barry, and Bennett Harrison. 1982. The Deindustrialization of America. New York: Basic Books.

publication

 
1983 South Street Seaport opens in Manhattan as a "festival marketplace" -- adaptive reuse of old commercial buildings (developer: James Rouse) adaptive reuse  
1983 Schön, Donald. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner. New York: Basic Books. publication  
1984 Hayden, Dolores. 1984. Redesigning the American Dream. New York, NY: W. W. Norton. (an influential critique of the way that American suburban housing calcifies antiquated gender roles and reinforces the gender division of labor). publication  
1984 Spirn, Anne Whiston. 1984. The granite garden : urban nature and human design. New York: Basic Books. publication  
1985 Jackson, Kenneth T. 1985. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. publication  
1986 Faculty Women's Interest Group (FWIG) established within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) -- officially approved in 1987. education  
1986 The Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH) established (first president: Eugenie Birch). [link] education  

1987

United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), "Our Common Future" (commonly known as "the Brundtland Report"). [an important landmark in the development of the sustainability movement]

publication

eco
1987 Fishman, Robert. 1987. Bourgeois Utopias: the rise and fall of suburbia. New York: Basic Books. publication  
1987 Markusen, Ann R. 1987. Regions: The Economics and Politics of Territory. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. publication  
1987 Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) established. [link] education  
1988 Union Station (Washington DC) reopens after major restoration/redevelopment -- a prominent example of renewed interest in historic train stations (now with food courts and shops). [the building originally opened in 1907. architect: Daniel Burnham] [link] adaptive reuse  
1988 Hall, Peter. 1988. Cities of Tomorrow : An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Blackwell. [became the standard planning history text] publication  

1989

Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Post-Modernity. Oxford: Blackwell.

publication

 
1989 Forester, John. 1989. Planning in the face of power. Berkeley: University of California Press. publication  

1989

Soja, Edward. 1989. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. London: Verso Press.

publication

 
1989 Oldenburg, Ray. 1989. The great good place : cafés, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts, and how they get you through the day. New York: Paragon Press. [an influential book about places that are neither home (first) nor the workplace (second), but instead shared spaces to connect with the community (third spaces).] publication  
1989 SimCity was first published as a computer game, allowing users to build simulated cities. (Many planning students have stated that playing SimCity as a child triggered their interest in urban planning). [link]    
1990 Davis, Mike. 1990. City of quartz: excavating the future in Los Angeles. London: Verso. [an influential text on the bleak implications of the privatization and securitization of urban spaces] publication  
1990 Formation of the "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives" (ICLEI) at the United Nations' World Congress of Local Governments for Sustainable Future. (In 2003 renamed "ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability").   eco
1990 First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publication eco

1991

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). Federal law encouraging intermodal transportation policies, and granting new powers to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).

 

 
1991 Construction begins on the "Big Dig" megaproject in Boston -- officially the "Central Artery/Tunnel Project" (planning began in 1982). Project completed in 2007. [link] Represented a new era of urban megaprojects after the mid-century era of massive above-ground highway construction. project  
1991 Garreau, Joel. 1991. Edge city: life on the new frontier. New York: Doubleday. publication  
1991 Cronon, William. 1991. Nature's metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W. W. Norton. publication eco
1991 Sassen, Saskia. 1991. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [a foundational text on global cities as the command and control centers of the modern global economy] publication  
1992 Rees, W. E. (1992). Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity: what urban economics leaves out. Environment and Urbanization, 4(2), 121-130. [the first publication on the concept of "ecological footprint," developed by Rees and Wackernagel - a variation on carrying capacity] publication eco

1992

New Jersey's State Development and Redevelopment plan adopted.

 

 
1992 The US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) begins the HOPE VI program (to provide low-rise, urban, walkable housing -- as an alternative to the old model of highrise public housing and the concentration of poverty)    
1992 Oriole Park at Camden Yards opens in downtown Baltimore (a few blocks from the Inner Harbor). Seen as a first of the new generation of downtown, "retro"-styled ballparks (after an era of multi-purpose stadiums). project  

1993

The Congress of New Urbanism (CNU) founded by Duany, Moule, Plater-Zyberk, and others.

 

eco
1994 Fainstein, Susan S. 1994. The City Builders. Oxford, UK, and Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell. publication  

1996

The Regional Plan Association publishes A Region at Risk: the Third Regional Plan

 

 
1996 Celebration, Florida built as new town/planned community by Disney new town/project  
1996 Atlanta hosts the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Considered a new model of entrepreneurial mega-event funding, with heavy reliance on private corporate sponsorship (expanding on the earlier Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984).    
1997 The State of Maryland enacts "Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation" legislation.   eco
1997 Healey, Patsy. 1997. Collaborative planning: shaping places in fragmented societies, Planning, environment, cities. Houndsmills, UK: Macmillan. publication  
1997

Completion of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain (construction began in 1993), designed by Frank Gehry. Hence the term: "Bilbao Effect" (the idea that building a high-profile cultural institution, designed by a prominent architect, will trigger increased media attention, tourism, cultural activity and investment)

project  
1998 Sandercock, Leonie (editor). 1998. Making the invisible visible: a multicultural planning history. Berkeley: University of California Press. [part of a larger effort to update and broaden the scope of planning history to include hitherto silent voices and invisible actors] publication  
1998 The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) introduces the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification system. [link]   eco
1998 Flyvbjerg, Bent. 1998. Rationality and power: Democracy in practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. publication  

1999

the Georgia legislature creates the Georgia Regional Transportation Agency (GRTA) to address sprawl in Atlanta

 

 
  2004 The U.S. Home Ownership Rate reaches a historic high point of 69.2 percent (during the 2nd and 4th quarters of 2004). The rate would significantly drop during the "Great Recession" of 2007-2009. Source: US Census (Table 4).    
2005 Batty, Michael. 2005. Cities and complexity : Understanding cities with cellular automata, agent-based models, and fractals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. publication  

2005

The US Supreme Court rules in favor of eminent domain authority in the case Kelo v. City of New London

   
2007 Planners of Color Interest Group (POCIG) established within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) education  
2009 The first section of the "High Line" opens on the west side of lower Manhattan. This linear urban park/walkway occupies a revitalized and landscaped section of the once-abandoned, elevated spur of the New York Central Railroad. Section 2 opens in 2011, and Section 3 in 2014. [link]

project

 
2013 Rockefeller Foundation establishes the "100 Resilient Cities" program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans/Gulf Coast) and Superstorm Sandy (New York/East Coast). (its termination announced 2019).   eco
2015 The United Nations (UN) adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 11: "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable."   eco

Sources include: many readings from my planning theory/history course (URP500) and elsewhere; plus Albert Guttenberg's "Some Important Facts in the History of American Planning," Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 7 (1). see also the APA's "100 Essential Books of Planning."†" indicates a link to a source on this accompanying page. Special thanks to Robert Fishman for numerous suggestions. Additional thanks to Bri Gauger,

Online google form to suggest new entries here. Please email me corrections/modifications to exisiting entries.

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