Urban Planning History PDF Print E-mail

Sources and Ideas for History Fair Topics

D. Bradford Hunt, Roosevelt University
August 2, 2011



General Works on City Planning

Mel Scott, American City Planning since 1890 (University of California, 1969).

Mary Corbin Sies and Christopher Silver, editors, Planning the 20th Century American City (Johns Hopkins, 1996).

Peter Hall, Cities of Tomorrow (Blackwell, 2002).


Burnham Plan, City Beautiful Movement

Carl Smith, Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (University of Chicago Press, 2006).  Accessible and well written.

Thomas Hines, Burnham of Chicago: Architect and Planner (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Carl Condit, Chicago, 1910–1929: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology.  (University of Chicago Press, 1973).

Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago (Yale University Press, 1993).

Robin Bachin, Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago,1890–1919 (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

See chapter in Mel Scott on City Beautiful Movement.

Robert Hunter, Tenement Conditions in Chicago (1901), available on Google Books.



Burnham Centennial site (with links to other sites): http://burnhamplan100.lib.uchicago.edu/


Skyscrapers as Urban Form – the history of their development

Secondary Sources:

Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, Chicago, 1890:  The Skyscraper and the Modern City (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago (Yale University Press, 1993).

Carl Condit, The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925 (University of Chicago Press, 1964).

Robert Bruegmann, “The Myth of the Chicago School,” in Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives (University of Chicago Press, 2005).


Primary Sources and websites:

Chicago Architecture Foundation: http://www.architecture.org/

Monadnock Building: http://www.monadnockbuilding.com/the-building.html#history


Housing Reform in late 19th, early 20th century

Edith Abbott, The Tenements in Chicago, 1908-1935. (1937; reprinted by Arno Press, 1970).

Gail Radford, Modern Housing for America (University of Chicago Press, 1996).

Margaret Garb, City of American Dreams: A History of Homeownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919 (University of Chicago Press, 2005).


Property Development in Chicago

Gerald Suttles, The Man Made City:  The Land-Use Confidence Game in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 1990)

Ross Miller, Here’s the Deal: The Buying and Selling of a Great American City (Knopf, 1996).

Miles L. Berger, They Built Chicago: Entrepreneurs Who Shaped a Great City’s Architecture (Bonus Books, 1992).  (Biographies of major Chicago developers).


Planning Chicago’s Colleges - The history of campus development and urban development, 1970-2000.

Secondary Sources:

Sharon Haar, The City as Campus: Urbanism and Higher Education in Chicago (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

George Rosen, Decision-Making Chicago-Style: The Genesis of a University of Illinois Campus (University of Illinois Press, 1980).


Primary Sources and websites:

“Higher Education in the Loop and South Loop: An Impact Study,” (2005), at: http://loopchicago.com/_files/docs/2004_higheredstudy.pdf

Columbia College Master Plans at: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Commissions/downloadfile.php?id=10098

UIC special collections documents, at: http://www.uic.edu/depts/uichistory/campusconstruction.html


Urban Renewal

Arnold Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

Amanda Seligman, Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Derek Hyra, The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville (University of Chicago Press, 2008)

Primary Source material available at Harold Washington Library, Municipal Reference Collections, 5th Floor


Jane Jacobs and Urban Planning

Glenna Lang and Marjorie Wunsch, Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of the Death and Life of Great American Cities (Godine, 2009).  Young Adult book.

Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities (Random House, 1961).

Max Page and Timothy Mennel, editors, Reconsidering Jane Jacobs (American Planning Association, 2010).

Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, 1960.


Public Housing:

Secondary Sources:

Nicholas Bloom, Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

Devereux Bowly, Jr., The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago, 1895-1976 (Southern Illinois University Press, 1981).

Arnold Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

D. Bradford Hunt, Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Public Housing in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Susan Popkin, Victoria E. Gwiasda, Lynn M. Olson, Dennis P. Rosenbaum, and Larry Buron, The Hidden War: Crime and the Tragedy of Public Housing in Chicago (Rutgers University Press, 2000).

Sudhir Venkatesh, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (Harvard University Press, 2000).


Sources with significant resident voices and/or oral histories:

Roberta Feldman and Susan Stall, The Dignity of Resistance: Women Residents’ Activism in Chicago Public Housing (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Jim Fuerst with the assistance of D. Bradford Hunt, When Public Housing Was Paradise: Building Community in Chicago (University of Illinois Press, 2005).

LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, with David Isay, Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago (Scribner, 1997).  Young Adult Book.

Alex Kotlowitz, There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America (Anchor Books, 1991).

Nicholas Lemann, The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (Vintage, 1991).

David T. Whitaker, Cabrini-Green in Words and Pictures (W3 Chicago, 2000).


Primary Source material:

The Harold Washington Library, Municipal Reference Collection (5th floor) has documents including Chicago Housing Authority annual reports, statistical reports, pamphlets and clipping files related to public housing.


Other topics

William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. (Norton, 1991).

Perry Duis, Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life, 1837-1920. (University of Illinois Press, 1998).


Parks in Chicago

Timothy Gilfoyle, Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark (University of Chicago Press, 2006).

Chicago Public Library, Special Collections Department,   A Breath of Fresh Air: Chicago’s Neighborhood Parks on the Progressive Era, 1900-1925.  (CPL: 1989)

Millennium Park Archives are at the Harold Washington Library


Housing Discrimination in Chicago

Beryl Satter, Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (Metropolitan Books, 2009).

Amanda Seligman, Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side (University of Chicago Press, 2005).


Parking Garages in Chicago

Serhii Chrucky, “Municipal Parking Garages,” in Forgotten Chicago: http://forgottenchicago.com/features/municipal-parking-garages/


Industrial Planning in Chicago

Robert Lewis, Chicago Made: Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis (University of Chicago Press, 2009).



Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Oxford University Press, 1985).

Robert Bruegmann, Sprawl: A Compact History (University of Chicago Press, 2005)

Dolores Hayden, Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000 (Random House, 2003).


Other collections worth noting:

University of Chicago digital map collection: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/maps/

Art Institute website on City Planning: http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource-tag/11039?page=1

Jane Addams Hull House, Urban Experience in Chicago: http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/urbanexp/

Congress for New Urbanism web site: http://www.cnu.org/


UIC—American Planning Council, Leadership, etc.  Ask archivist


LOC/Daily News views of the city

Slum and the Ghetto”

Ann Keating’s books on suburbanization


Social Media


Chicago Metro History Fair on Facebook


Twitter @ChiHistoryFair



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