Summary of Chapter 3 Entitled “The History of Planning” Chapter 3 of the book with the subtitle “The History of Planning: Part I” thoroughly discusses the history or historical narrative of the urban- or rural-planning prominent in America from the pre-revolution era to the post-revolution…
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Before the Revolution erupted in the United States, the planning and designing of the community -- in the spatial/physical sense -- in the Colonial America were largely held by an individual grantee. An imitation of the 17th-century (or much earlier) European urban planning, the structuring and/or restructuring of places or towns in the pre-revolutionary America was under the sole power of an individual person. The grantor or donor was usually a high ranking official -- with respect to Europe, it was the royal king/queen who made and dispensed land ownership to certain person -- who gave to an individual an authority to configure or reconfigure a particular municipality or town. In the early 18th-century America, for instance, a man named James Oglethorpe was given a land grant wherein he created or recreated the Savannah landscape. In Oglethorpe’s design plan, the configuration is prominently four-sided. Drawn in vertical and horizontal lines that converge as square blocks, Oglethorpe’s Savannah is a type of urban planning which is a characteristic of his time. It is noteworthy that Oglethorpe’s planning design is almost symmetrical to William Penn’s 1682 Philadelphia plan. Of their similarities are the street patterns, presence of the public open spaces, and grid-block designs. And of their differences are the specific location of open spaces and the particular spatial dimension of primary and secondary roadways. As it seems, the municipal and/or urban landscape visible in the Colonial America in the pre-revolution era was greatly determined or decided by an individual grantee. In the process, he possessed the capacity or legitimacy to shape or form the place according to his taste and liking. In the Revolution era, on the other hand, the town/urban planners shifted from the grantee to a specific group orientation -- particularly the commercial elite. The monarchy or its representation in the former Colonial America essentially lost its power to grant or award a piece of land to a single person. In this historical period, individualism or commercialism dominated over the system of monarchy or hierarchy. In general, the municipal power or political grip was greatly overridden by the “enormous growth pressures.” With the American Revolution also came the emergence of the industrial revolution in America. As a consequence, business and commerce seemed to rule in the newly born land of the free -- which included the free trade. It is noteworthy that the role of the state or political institution marked in the United States in the early period of the Revolution era was apparently undefined, if not ambiguous, in relation to the urban planning. That is to say, the U.S. Government, in its early establishment and institutionalization, significantly lacks the authority or arguably the will to control the spatial/physical configuration of the American landscape, seascape, and air-scape. Perhaps the absence of political control or authority in the design and plan of the communities -- in the artistic or architectural strand -- was due largely to the fundamental principles held dearly by the American revolutionists: individualism or liberal politics. Indeed, liberalism became the popular philosophical system in the revolutionary America. Thence, the group of elite -- those who are well-off in the American society -- was able to secure the power or control over land and land
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