History of Urban Planning Research Proposal

Pages: 4 (1139 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Urban Studies

History Of Urban Planning in the United States

Drive around a number of cities in the United States -- Houston, for example, or Los Angeles -- and you might think that urban planning was just a fantasy, since there seems to have been no thought whatsoever in terms of might be good for the long-term social, cultural, political, and economic health of these cities, where seemingly anything goes. On the other hand, any one of a number of planned communities that dot the newer neighborhoods across the country suggest that urban planning is simply fascism by other means as people cannot pick the flowers for their front yards. There are, of course, some cities that get their urban planning -- like that final bowl for Goldilocks -- just right. But sometimes these can seem very much in the minority, and sometimes seem to get things right more by accident than anything else.

This paper examines the history of urban planning in the United States, considering what has lead different cities to take such extremes on the one hand while others have followed more moderate, more flexible courses that have been better able to stand the test of time.

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Giving the range of what goes under the heading of "urban planning," it is perhaps useful to begin with a definition of the term. In general, urban planning can be considered to be the intersection of land-use planning and transportation planning (along with, in some areas) planning to reduce the effects of pollution and climate change to improve or sustain the physical and social infrastructure and relationships of the community. Sometimes this planning is carried out on a larger geographic area and is called regional planning.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on History of Urban Planning in the United Assignment

It should be noted that urban planning is not the same thing as "urban renewal," which is a governmental focus (sometimes in concert with private enterprise) to remedy a range of infrastructural and cultural problems usually in older parts of a city. Urban renewal is also associated in both the United States and other industrialized nations with efforts made to improve the housing and work conditions for racial minorities. This fact has tended to politicize the process of urban planning in the United States, with conservatives often arguing against it as a part of their overall push to limit social services.

However, urban planning is in fact a process that should be applied to all aspects of a community, and in all likelihood it dates from the very first days of human settlement into permanent cities. For example, in the fifth century BCE, Hippodamus designed the city of Alexandria for Alexander the Great, which might arguably be called the first master-planned city. The city was designed to be efficient in terms of moving goods and people from place to place; hygienic, especially in terms of supplying fresh water to all of the population; and safe, especially in terms of reducing the danger of fire (Jackson, 2985, p. 76).

Today's urban planners are focused on different issues -- but only to some extent. The list above is different now in that urban planners consider how cars and pedestrians can co-exist rather than how horse-drawn carts can co-exist with pedestrians. But the overall goals -- safety, beauty, and communal nature -- remain the same. This should hardly be surprising given that the basic needs of people have not changed dramatically over the course of the last 10,000… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

History of Urban Planning.  (2011, March 12).  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/history-urban-planning-united/481517

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"History of Urban Planning."  12 March 2011.  Web.  2 August 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/history-urban-planning-united/481517>.

Chicago Style

"History of Urban Planning."  Essaytown.com.  March 12, 2011.  Accessed August 2, 2021.