The City Beautiful Movement : The Urban Planning Practices And Concepts Employed Today And The Foreseeable Future

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Question 1:

In the first half of the 20th century urban planning was greatly influenced by the visionary and utopian ideas coming out of the City Beautiful movement. The City Beautiful movement played a major role in forming the backbone of city planning practices and concepts employed today and the foreseeable future. The term “City Beautiful” was first coined by artists in New York, referring to the urban environment they were surrounded with. One of the first ones to use the term was an artist and architect Charles R. Lamb who wrote an article published Municipal Affairs. Jon Peterson (1976) identifies that, “the formative years of the City Beautiful were 1897 to 1902,” which existed primarily in municipal art, civic improvement and outdoor art arenas.

When the City Beautiful movement was just starting, large scale projects were being implemented in many cities such as Chicago, New York City, Cincinnati, Boston and Philadelphia during the later half of the nineteenth century. The City Beautiful movement soon progressed to developing open parks, college campuses, open parks, on a grander, beautified scale. Peterson comments on these aspects of the movement that have been overlooked: “three concepts are essential to this reconstruction: municipal art, civic improvement, and outdoor art.” He concludes that, “Those who have overlooked the small-scale side of the City Beautiful … have ignored a pattern of activity sustained by thousands of civic groups across the nation.”
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