Plan for New Haven
Long before cities were going green and eco-conscious residents began debating ideas of sustainability, New Haven, Connecticut, was envisioning a plan for its growth taken from the challenging ideas of the City Beautiful movement and its call for civic monumentality. In a 1910 plan commissioned to legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and prominent architect Cass Gilbert, New Haven leaders charted new ground by incorporating revolutionary models for studying social and demographic data and using the information to help guide the physical plan for the city’s growth. The visionary result is a gem of American urban planning history that would become a benchmark in discussions about the shape the new American city would take in the twentieth century.
This facsimile edition of the 1910 Plan for New Haven, available to general readers for the first time, includes a critical contemporary review of the century-old plan. Architectural scholar Alan Plattus and urban economist Douglas Rae contribute modern perspectives on the plan’s importance to the development of both New Haven and American urbanism in the current rediscovery of urban livability and sustainability. A preface by Vincent Scully adds an important voice to the plan’s historical significance. The lessons of master urban planners like Olmsted and Gilbert have never been more valuable and can guide an exploration of how American urbanism has evolved and where it is going in the twenty-first century.