Kaid Benfield Archive


The top 20 urban planning successes of all time

Kaid Benfield

Posted August 11, 2010 at 1:01PM

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   Taos Pueblo (by: Eamonn O'Brien-Strain, creative commons license)  Camden Town (by: Il Della, creative commons license)

A fascinating post just appeared on the Public Servant Blog:  “The top 20 urban planning successes of all time.”  Written by “L.G.,” the list includes the following:

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  2. Billerica Garden Suburb, Massachusetts (“the country’s first garden suburb designed specifically for workers”)
  3. Camden Town, London (“There is no one age group, race, gender or socio-economic group that outnumbers another”)
  4. Chicago Boulevard System
  5. Eugene, Oregon (“plans to be carbon neutral with no waste by 2020”)
  6. Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri
  7. Granville Island, Vancouver (“possibly the most successful urban redevelopment ever seen in North America”)
  8. Greensburg Sustainable Comprehensive Plan
  9. High Line
  10. Lijnbaan in Rotterdam (“the first purpose-built pedestrian street”)  
  11. Lower Garden District, New Orleans (“vehicles do not dominate this neighborhood”)
  12. Marimont, Ohio (“charming historic architecture, lush foliage, award-winning schools and friendly, community-minded residents”)
  13. Nine Square Plan, New Haven, Connecticut (“following the principles of ideal cities gleaned from the Bible”)
  14. Ponce Center City, Puerto Rico
  15. Sanibel Island, Florida (“nine major ecological zones”)
  16. South Livermore Valley Specific Plan, California (“3,229 acres under permanent agricultural easement”)
  17. Taos, Pueblo, New Mexico (“Possibly one of the earliest high-rise towns”)
  18. The Law of the Indies (“instructions for site selection and the layout and construction of new towns”)
  19. The Miami Valley (Ohio) Region’s Fair Share Housing Plan of 1970 (“the first ‘fair share’ housing plan in the nation”)
  20. The Plan of Philadelphia (“the first large American city to utilize the grid street pattern, to provide dedicated land exclusively for open green public squares”)

An eclectic list, to be sure, and no doubt a subjective and personal one.  Where’s Savannah, for instance?  Pierre L’Enfant?  London’s Underground?  Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve and TDR program?  Why Eugene instead of Portland?

But that’s the fun, no?  Each one is justified, with links, in the blog entry.  How about some nominations by readers for some worthy additions (or subtractions, for that matter)?

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