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The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago Visions and Revisions) Paperback – August 15, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An imaginative, beautifully produced, and visually appealing masterpiece of stirring prose and stunning illustration.... Carl Smith'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." - William Bryk, New York Sun "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 "The story of Burnham's plan has been told many times but never in a more appealing or succinct style than in Carl Smith's modest little book.... What sets this book apart from other Burnham histories is Smith'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." - Lois Wille, Chicago Tribune"

About the Author

Carl Smith is the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern University. He is the author of Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880–1920, and Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Visions and Revisions
  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (August 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226764729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226764726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As an architecture tour guide, I've read "The Plan of Chicago" and know some Chicago history. Smith succinctly summarizes prevailing circumstances so the reader knows the context of the development of The Plan, but he deftly includes colorful and precise detail. The book is under 200 pages, reflecting a distinctive self-restraint by this distinguished scholar at Northwestern University. Moving from background of Chicago history and of Daniel Burnham, Smith summarizes the Plan's development, describes the other players, analyzes the Plan's effects, and brings readers quickly up-to-date with urban planning of today. This excellent narrative, supplemented with photographs not commonly seen, ends with a "bibliographic essay" to guide interested readers in their subsequent investigations.
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By A Customer on December 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The most notable aspect of the 1909 Plan of Chicago was that the author's (Daniel Burnham) profession was not exclusively city planning. He was a business man. He viewed his plan for the City of Chicago as the best way to create an exceptional business and civic environment. It worked! Many elements of modern downtown Chicago that make it a truly great, world class city, are a direct result of Burnham's vision. For it is the grand vision that stirs the soul of mankind and allows a "planning document" -- normally a thick document, full of data, which sits on a shelf and collects dust -- to be embraced by an entire community. This is a must read for contemporary city planners, business men and government officials that want to "make it happen" in their communities. MAKE NO SMALL PLANS
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked the book. As someone who recently moved to Chicago, I have a lot to learn about the city's past. This book gives a good overview of Chicago and the part that the Burnham and Bennett Plan played in the formation of the city, up to its present form. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Chicago, social history, or in urban planning.
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Format: Paperback
This concise, well-researched, well-written book tells the story of the first and most famous City Plan in North America. It covers its historical, urban and organizational contexts, its contents as well as its promotion, implementation and heritage.

While subtle and never overtly critical, the author is no blind admirer of the Burnham Plan and provides a mature and balanced description of events prior and after its publication.

The reader is given reference to a scanned copy of the actual 1909 Plan on [...]. He is free to ponder on how much _ and in a sense, how little _ planning documents have evolved in the past 100 years.

This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in urban planning, especially of course to those familiar with Chicago.
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard for me to argue with what was said above. As a student of architectural history, I am as smitten with Burnham's plan as the next person. I do have one caveat with this otherwise fine reproduction: Oftentimes I found the illustrations to be a bit washed out. This gave me great difficulty whilst trying to examine them for a research paper I was assembling. As a result I had to get my hands on an original copy, with the beautiful watercolors still wonderfully intact. As it stands, however, this is a fine volume and worthy of anyone's collection.
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Format: Paperback
This book focuses as much on Daniel Burnham, the committee responsible for the Chicago Plan and the locations of the meetings in which the plan was developed as the plan itself. Too little text is devoted to the actual specifics and text of the Chicago Plan. I read the book but still feel as though I know very little about the Chicago plan, what is worse, I still don't know a whole lot about Burnham either. You'd probably be better off reading a good biography of Burnham or a copy of the actual Chicago Plan.
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Format: Paperback
A must read for anyone interested in Daniel Burnham or Chicago history and planning. Chicago is a very well-planned city. If you've ever wondered why it seems and is much more organized than other large, metro cities, you will certainly know after reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book expertly describes how Daniel Burnham was the main force behind developing Chicago's plan for urban development in 1909. It was advanced with support including Progressives and business leaders who desired planning order. Prior to this, Chicago had quick yet haphazardly with no overall plan. Developers were noted for creating some buildings were notable architectural features. Yet concerns over poor sanitation and other problems associated with rapid urban growth made people demand foresight in future growth.

Daniel Burnham had led the City Beautiful campaign that sought well connected and landscaped roads. There was public support for making the city more visually attractive, and they liked shade trees, beautiful buildings, and open squares that offered statutes and fountains. Some, such as Jane Addams, wanted more done to correct the social disorders that existed.

The Chicago Plan had its critics. Louis Sullivan, an architect, felt the plan gave too much favoritism to business interests. He also disagreed with the modern architecture it advanced.

Burnham had supported creating a six mile park along Chicago's waterfront. This became part of the Plan of Chicago. The Plan looked ahead at what it thought Chicago should become. It looked little at what Chicago was like. The plan worried about speculation and unregulated growth. It was believed the quality of life of city residents was at stake.

The Plan called for more parks, wider streets, and more diagonal streets. It did not focus more on living and employment standards. Roads and transit lines were planning. Houses and businesses were left to locate according to market forces.

Daniel Burnham was hired by associations of business leaders to direct the creation of the Plan of Chicago.
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