Planning the Capitalist City

Planning the Capitalist City: The Colonial Era to the 1920s

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 298
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  • Book Info
    Planning the Capitalist City
    Book Description:

    Starting with the colonial period, but focusing especially on the Progressive era, Richard Foglesong offers both a narrative account and a theoretical interpretation of urban planning in the United States.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5450-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. ONE The Problem of Planning
    (pp. 3-27)

    In 1909, the first national conference on city planning was held in Washington, D.C., bringing together the disparate groups and individuals working in this embryonic field of urban reform. At this gathering and at the conferences that followed, these early planners complained that the process of city building was being determined by real estate speculation rather than by public policies based on the long-term interests of the community. They objected to this excessive reliance on the market system on the grounds that it stymied the development of collective facilities of general benefit to the community, and that it allowed private...

  5. TWO Colonial Town Planting
    (pp. 28-55)

    In marked contrast with later periods of urban development, town planning was an essential feature of colonial America. Free from the political and economic barriers confronting planners in later eras, colonial town builders were in a position to consciously guide the development of many of America’s earliest cities. Their ability to do so was conditioned on the combination of civil and political authority they possessed, the civil authority arising from land ownership and the political authority delegated by royal decree. Nearly all of these town planners had proprietary motives of one sort or another. Yet their town-building schemes were marked...

  6. THREE Early Housing Reform
    (pp. 56-88)

    On March 28, 1856, New York City’sDaily Timeseditorialized that New York’s experience, “like that of the cities of the old world, is that the avarice of capitalists renders governmental interference for the protection of the poor and unfortunate an absolute necessity.”¹ TheTimes’commentary was inspired by the report of a state legislative committee appointed to study New York City’s tenement house problem. The committee had concluded its report by stating that “[t]he tenant house is the legitimate point at which to commence the positive work of social reform.”² Indeed, it could be said that the American “welfare...

  7. FOUR Parks and Park Planning
    (pp. 89-123)

    In the view of an English observer, America experienced a “veritable rage of park making” in the 1890s.¹ Following the construction of New York City’s Central Park in the 1850s, large urban parks were built before the turn of the century in Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Chicago. As one early commentator wrote, this “liberality” in the construction of parks is hard to understand in view of the “niggardly and short-sighted policies” of most municipal governments and their frequently corrupt administrations.² The preceding chapter should, however, help us to understand the success of park building efforts. In...

  8. FIVE Planning the City Beautiful
    (pp. 124-166)

    “Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty”—these words of Daniel Burnham neatly summarize the meaning of the City Beautiful.¹ A complex cultural movement with diverse origins, the City Beautiful signified academic classicism in public architecture and the planning of monumental civic centers, public building groups, grand boulevards, ornamental parks, equestrian statues, elaborate fountains, and other such street embellishments. In the first decade of this century, dozens of cities initiated beautification projects of this sort. Among the major cities receiving City Beautiful–style facelifts were Washington, Cleveland, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago. Politically, the City Beautiful...

  9. SIX Roads Not Taken
    (pp. 167-198)

    The City Beautiful was not the only approach to city planning in the first decade of this century. There were three other examples of purposeful intervention in the urban development process in this period. One was the attack on urban population congestion, another was the American Garden City movement, and a third was the building of company towns by private business corporations. Each of these was a response to the property contradiction as it manifested itself in the problem of urban population concentration. As such, each involved an assertion of social needs against the private purposes governing the city building...

  10. SEVEN Planning the City Practical
    (pp. 199-232)

    Despite the efforts of Benjamin Marsh and others to focus attention on the problem of population congestion, the aesthetic orientation remained dominant in city planning through the first decade of the twentieth century. So many plans for city beautification were prepared by architects and landscape architects working for private civic and business groups that the term city planning became partially stereotyped by this association: city planning came to be seen as a project of private civic and business organizations, carried out by architects and landscape architects and aimed at improving the physical appearance of the city. In addition to the...

  11. EIGHT Planning and Contradiction
    (pp. 233-257)

    Urban planning can be understood as a productive force of society. It is an accumulation of knowledge and techniques that are acquired from the experience of urban living and are applied to the problems of living and working, producing and consuming, and exchanging goods and services in an urban context. So conceived, urban planning is comparable to the productive technology of society: the latter is an accretion of knowledge about how to produce, the former of how to organize the urban built environment consistent with human needs. Just as industrial technology contributes to the development of society’s productive power, urban...

    (pp. 258-280)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 281-286)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 287-287)