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Long before cities were scrambling to go green and eco-conscious commuters were sensibly strapping on their bike helmets, New Haven, Connecticut, was envisioning a plan for its growth taken from the challenging ideas of the City Beautiful Movement and its call for civic monumentality. In a 1910 plan commissioned from legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and prominent architect Cass Gilbert, New Haven's leaders charted new ground by incorporating revolutionary models for studying social and demographic data and using that information to help guide the physical plan for the city's growth. The visionary result is a gem of American urban planning history that became a benchmark in discussions about the shape the new American city would take in the twentieth century.This facsimile edition of the 1910 Plan for New Haven, available to general readers for the first time, includes a critical contemporary review of the century-old plan. Architectural scholar Alan Plattus and urban economist Douglas Rae contribute modern perspectives on the plan's importance to the development of both New Haven and American urbanism in the current rediscovery of urban livability and sustainability. The lessons of master urban planners like Cass and Gilbert have never been more valuable and can guide an exploration of how American urbanism has evolved and where it is going in the twenty-first century.
Alan Plattus is a professor of architecture and urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture. He began teaching at Yale in 1986 after serving on the faculty of Princeton University for seven years. He has published and lectured widely on urban representation and the history of cities as well as on contemporary American architecture and urbanism, and has conducted urban policy workshops for citizens and civic groups. He founded and directs the Yale Urban Design Workshop and Center for Urban Design Research, which undertakes research and design studies for communities throughout Connecticut and the metropolitan region.Douglas Rae is the author of City: Urbanism and Its End and a number of other texts concerned with cities in capitalist settings. His area of research also includes political theory, business and economic history, and competetive strategy. From 1990 to 1991 he served as chief administrative officer of the city of New Haven under John Daniels, the city’s first African-American mayor. He is a professor of political science and management at Yale University and has been awarded the Hurfurth and Hallitt Prizes.