Synopses & Reviews
Arguably the most influential document in the history of urban planning, Daniel Burnhamand#8217;s 1909 Plan of Chicago
, coauthored by Edward Bennett and produced in collaboration with the Commercial Club of Chicago, proposed many of the cityand#8217;s most distinctive features, including its lakefront parks and roadways, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier. Carl Smithand#8217;s fascinating history reveals the Plan
and#8217;s central role in shaping the ways people envision the cityscape and urban life itself.and#160;
Smithand#8217;s concise and accessible narrative begins with a survey of Chicagoand#8217;s stunning rise from a tiny frontier settlement to the nationand#8217;s second-largest city. He then offers an illuminating exploration of the Planand#8217;s creation and reveals how it embodies the renowned architectand#8217;s belief that cities can and must be remade for the better. The Plan defined the City Beautiful movement and was the first comprehensive attempt to reimagine a major American city. Smith points out the ways the Plan continues to influence debates, even a century after its publication, about how to create a vibrant and habitableand#160;urban environment.and#160;
Richly illustrated and incisively written, his insightful book will be indispensable to our understanding of Chicago, Daniel Burnham, and the emergence of the modern city.
"A concise and reader-friendly introduction to the visionary and ambitious plan that helped shape much of the Windy City as we know it today."-Kevin Nance, Chicago Sun-Times (Chicago Sun-Times, Kevin Nance, Jan 7 2007 )
"Daniel Burnhamand#8217;s 1909 Plan of Chicago has long been regarded as one of the benchmark documents of American urban and regional planning in the twentieth century. and#160;Carl Smith has now provided the first book-length study of this signal moment in the history of American city, exploring its larger context and helping modern readers understand the role it played in shaping the subsequent history not just of Chicago but of metropolitan America."
"Smith has produced a compelling and informative story of a time when the civic realm was still robust. By focusing on the individuals behind the Plan, placing the Plan in the context of Chicago's history, and offering a wealth of detailed knowledge, Smith has written an important book. One cannot fully understand either city planning or the role of business in urban development without knowing what happened in Chicago in 1909."
and#8220;Carl Smith breathes inspired new life into Daniel Burnham, the major figure behind the 1909 Plan of Chicago
. Smith vividly describes both the thoughtful conceptualization and the masterful showmanship of Burnham and his many collaborators in the Plan
development. Smith shows that this is a plan that reshaped American notions of the modern city.and#8221;
and#8220;Carl Smithand#8217;s The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
is a triumph of meticulous research, clear organization, and accessible writing.and#160; In his hands the story of the Plan
, the campaign to promote it, and its influence on generations of Chicagoans come alive.and#8221; and#8212;Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Sprawl: A Compact History
and#8220;Fascinating. . . . One comes away from this finely written book with the conviction that Burnham is arguably not only the most influential person in Chicagoand#8217;s historyand#8212;but also Americaand#8217;s most successful architect and visionary urban planner. . . . The Plan of Chicago
tells one of the great American urban stories.and#8221;
and#8220;A concise and reader-friendly introduction to the visionary and ambitious plan that helped shape much of the Windy City as we know it today.and#8221;
and#8220;This well-written book on the 1909 Plan of Chicago, and#8216;The Burnham Plan,and#8217; excellently summarizes numerous publications about the plan and its influence on Chicagoand#8217;s development.and#8221;and#8211;J.W. Stamper, CHOICE
“This well-written book on the 1909 Plan of Chicago, ‘The Burnham Plan, excellently summarizes numerous publications about the plan and its influence on Chicagos development.”–J.W. Stamper, CHOICE
and#8220;The story of Burnhamand#8217;s plan has been told many times but never in a more appealing or succinct style than in Carl Smithand#8217;s modest little book, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. . . . What sets this book apart from other Burnham histories is Smithand#8217;s attention to the filthy, miserable, nineteenth-century city that repelled and motivated Burnham, and the extraordinary promotional effort led by the Commercial Club of Chicago that sold his plan to the public. . . . A clear-eyed assessment of Burnham.and#8221;
and#8220;An imaginative, beautifully produced, and visually appealing masterpiece of stirring prose and stunning illustration. . . . Carl Smithand#8217;s book is a concise, splendidly accessible, and beautifully constructed introduction to a seminal work of American urban planning and its enduring influence on Chicago and other American cities. He writes particularly well, without padding or academic jargon, and admirable self-restraint: He tells us just enough about the men and the times that created The Plan of Chicago to make us want to learn more on our own. One can offer no higher praise for a writer.and#8221;
"Smith's storytelling, saturated in engaging fact, gives sharp yet sweeping coverage of how the plan came to be and how certain parts were laboriously implemented. . . . Smith's addition to the history and architecture of the city gives fresh perspective on where we've been and where we're going."
"Smith takes up where [Pierce's History of Chicago] left off, and his work may stand alongside hers as the starting point for numerous inquiries into the fascinating city of Chicago."
About the Author
Carl Smith is the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern University. His books include three prize-winning volumes: Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920; Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman; and The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City, the latter two published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. Planning Before the Plan
2. Antecedents and Inspirations
3. The City the Planners Saw
4. The Plan Comes Together
5. Creating the Plan
6. Reading the Plan