city beautiful movement


  • Specifically, the Old Louisville neighborhood, that was planned and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the image of the City Beautiful movement, became the largest Victorian
    neighborhood in the United States.

  • Although City Beautiful, or artistic planning, became a part of comprehensive town planning, the Great Depression of the 1930s largely ended this fashion.

  • Kansas City, Missouri, and Dallas undertook the installation of parkways and parks under the influence of the movement,[8] and Coral Gables would be an example of a city consistent
    with the City Beautiful philosophy.

  • The “Garden City” movement in Britain influenced the contemporary planning of some newer suburbs of London, and there was cross-influence between the two aesthetics, one based
    in formal garden plans and urbanization schemes and the other, with its “semi-detached villas” evoking a more rural atmosphere.

  • Dock’s speech was titled “The City Beautiful” or “Improvement Work at Home and Abroad”, and this was the starting point for Harrisburg’s city improvements.

  • These improvements, combined with a new state capitol building in 1906, quickly transformed Harrisburg into a proud modern city by 1915.

  • Harrisburg[edit] Harrisburg’s movement of beautification and improvement was one of the early and more successful urban reform movements in the U.S.[13] It began when local
    minded residents became convinced that their city was unattractive, unhealthy, and filthy, and lacked the appearance and facilities appropriate to its status as Pennsylvania’s state capital.

  • [1] The movement, which was originally associated mainly with Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., promoted beauty not only for its own sake, but
    also to create moral and civic virtue among urban populations.

  • The plan emerged from the U.S. Senate Park Commission’s redesigning of the monumental core of Washington, D.C., to commemorate the city’s centennial and to fulfill unrealized
    aspects of the city plan of Pierre Charles L’Enfant a century earlier.

  • The exposition displayed a model city of grand scale, known as the “White City”, with modern transport systems and no poverty visible.

  • [20] • Utopian city plans were another influence on the Australian City Beautiful movement.

  • As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the association’s attorney Sidney Adler of Loeb & Adler said, “As I saw the beautiful picture of the city beautiful we will have fountains
    in West Madison Street, with poets and poetesses walking along Clinton, and the simple minded residents of the west side, after work is done, will take their gondolas and row on the limpid bosom of the Chicago River idlely strumming guitars.”
    [10] Coral Gables[edit] Main article: Coral Gables, Florida A typical residential street in Coral Gables, Florida Planned out as a suburb of Miami in the early 1920s by George Edgar Merrick during the Florida land boom of the 1920s, Coral
    Gables was developed entirely upon the City Beautiful movement, with obelisks, fountains, and monuments seen in street roundabouts, parks, city buildings and around the city.

  • The movement flourished for several decades, and in addition to the construction of monuments, it also achieved great influence in urban planning that endured throughout the
    20th century, particularly in regard to United States public housing projects.

  • At the heart of the design was the creation of the National Mall and eventually included Burnham’s Union Station.

  • The term ‘beautility’ derived from the American city beautiful philosophy, which meant that the beautification of a city must also be functional.

  • Today, Coral Gables is one of Miami’s most expensive suburban communities, long known for its strict zoning regulations which preserve the City Beautiful elements along with
    its Mediterranean Revival architecture style, which is prevalent throughout the city.

  • They hoped to make Washington, D.C., monumental and green like the European capitals of the era; they believed that state-organized beautification could lend legitimacy to
    government during a time of social disturbance in the United States.

  • [23] Melbourne[edit] The skyline of Melbourne and the Shrine of Remembrance in Kings Domain Melbourne’s grid plan was considered dull and monotonous by some people, and so
    the architect William Campbell designed a blueprint for the city.

  • [22] John Sulman, however, was Australia’s “leading proponent” of the City Beautiful movement and, in 1921, wrote the book An Introduction to Australian City Planning.

  • Chicago[edit] Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago is considered one of principal documents of the City Beautiful movement.

  • The exposition is credited with resulting in the large-scale adoption of monumentalism for American architecture for the next 15 years.

  • The causes of the city’s defects were well known: industrialization in the previous half century had left the city poorly planned with unpaved streets and undeveloped water
    management systems.

  • Monuments and vistas were an essential feature of City Beautiful urban planning: in Denver, Paris-trained American sculptor Frederick MacMonnies was commissioned to design
    a monument marking the end of the Smoky Hill Trail.

  • In Australia Both European and North American cities provided models for the Australian City Beautiful movement.

  • Influence in other cities[edit] See also: Group Plan and Olmsted Portland park plan San Antonio prior to the 1920 establishment of the Riverwalk Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    in Philadelphia The success of the City Beautiful philosophy in Washington, D.C., is credited with influencing subsequent plans for beautification of many other cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland (The Mall), Columbus[5] (with
    the axis along State Street from the Ohio State Capitol building east to the Metropolitan Library and west to the Scioto River), Des Moines, Denver, Detroit (the Cultural Center, Belle Isle and Outer Drive),[6][7] Madison (with the axis from
    the capitol building through State Street and to the University of Wisconsin campus), Montreal, New York City (notably the Manhattan Municipal Building), Philadelphia (the Benjamin Franklin Parkway museum district between Philadelphia City
    Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art), Pittsburgh (the Schenley Farms district in the Oakland neighborhood of parks, museums, and universities), San Antonio (San Antonio River development), San Francisco (manifested by its Civic Center),
    and the Washington State Capitol Campus in Olympia, and the University of Washington’s Rainier Vista in Seattle.

  • As part of the plan, the Pennsylvania Union Railroad Depot was to be moved to the west side of the city and replaced with a new modern depot.

  • [20] City Beautiful in Australia today[edit] World War I prolonged the City Beautiful movement in Australia, where more memorials were erected than in any other country.

  • Louisiana Purchase Exposition[edit] The Mall in Washington, D.C., including the United States Capitol in the foreground and the Washington Monument in the background The popularization
    begun by the World Columbian Exposition was increased by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, held in St. Louis.

  • The essence of the plan surrounded the United States Capitol with monumental government buildings to replace “notorious slum communities”.

  • The City Beautiful movement was a reform philosophy of North American architecture and urban planning that flourished during the 1890s and 1900s with the intent of introducing
    beautification and monumental grandeur in cities.

  • Memphis[edit] In Memphis, Tennessee, the City Beautiful Commission was officially established by a city ordinance on July 1, 1930, making it the first and oldest beautification
    commission in the nation.

  • The community was designed as a “City Beautiful.

  • [11] Central Park sits in the middle of Old Louisville and is home to an annual free public Shakespeare festival.

  • It was a part of the progressive social reform movement in North America under the leadership of the upper-middle class concerned with poor living conditions in all major

  • The main principle behind this were diagonal streets, providing sites for new and comprehensive architecture and for special buildings.

  • In April 1901, the Harrisburg Telegraph, a city newspaper, published a front-page article on the city’s problems, which stressed Dock’s message of beautification and recreation,
    paved streets, clean water, a city hall, land for parks, and a covered sewer interceptor along the river.

  • McMillan Plan[edit] Main article: McMillan Plan An early use of the City Beautiful ideal with the intent of creating social order through beautification was the McMillan Plan
    (1902), named for Michigan Senator James McMillan.

  • [19] There were no formal city beautiful organisations that led this movement in Australia; rather it was influenced by communications among professionals and bureaucrats,
    in particular architect-planners and local government reformers.


Works Cited

[‘1. Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City. Routledge. p. 103.
2. ^ Daniel M. Bluestone, Columbia University, (September 1988). Detroit’s City Beautiful and the Problem of Commerce Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol.
XLVII, No. 3, pp. 245-62.
3. ^ Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House, 1961), p.375; quoted in Rybczynski, Witold. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World New York: Scribner, 1995. p.27. ISBN 0-684-81302-5.
4. ^
Marter, Joan M. The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, Vol. 1. pp. 602-03. Oxford UP, 2011.
5. ^ “Context – Engaging Columbus”. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
6. ^ “City Beautiful”. March 10, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
7. ^ Guyette,
Curt. “History of the mystery”. Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
8. ^ Rybczynski, Witold. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World New York: Scribner, 1995. p. 135. ISBN 0-684-81302-5.
9. ^ Arnstein & Lehr, The First 120 Years
(Amazon), pp. 11, 12.
10. ^ Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1913
11. ^ “What is Old Louisville?”. November 27, 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
12. ^ “Old Louisville History”. Retrieved
March 17, 2019.
13. ^ Wilson, William H. (1989). The City Beautiful Movement. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 126–146. ISBN 0801837588.
14. ^ Chambliss, Julian (2010). “Perfecting Space: J. Horace McFarland and the American
Civic Association”. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. 77 (4): 486–497. doi:10.5325/pennhistory.77.4.0486.
15. ^ “About ACA”.
16. ^ Zimring, Carl A. (2012-02-27). Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: Encyc Consumption and
Waste – Google Books. ISBN 9781506338279. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
17. ^ “American Paint and Oil Dealer … – Google Books”. 1917. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
18. ^ Gates THE PALOS VERDES RANCH PROJECT: Olmsted Brothers’ Design Development For A Picturesque
Los Angeles Suburban Community Of The 1920s Available at Archived 2009-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
19. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Freestone R (2000) From city improvement to the city beautiful;
chapter 2. In: Hamnett S and Freestone R (eds) The Australian Metropolis: A Planning History. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
20. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Freestone R (2007) Designing Australia’s cities. UNSW Press, Kensington, pp. 45–79.
21. ^ Jump up to:a
b Stelter GA (2000) Rethinking the significance of the City Beautiful idea. In; Freestone R, Urban planning in a changing world: The twentieth century experience. Taylor & Francis, pp. 98–117.
22. ^ Banks JCG, Bracks CL (2003) Canberra’s urban forest:
evolution and planning for future landscapes. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 1(3), 151-160.
23. ^ Ward A (2000) Assessment of Garden City planning principles in the ACT. Environment ACT, Heritage Unit, Canberra. Available at
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Photo credit:’]