1st Edition

John Nolen and the Metropolitan Landscape

By Jody Beck Copyright 2013
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    "A model city, the hope of democracy" – John Nolen on his suggested plans for Madison, Wisconsin

    This book connects John Nolen's political and social visions with his design proposals by analyzing his extensive writings, personal correspondence and some of his most significant works.  While John Nolen is best known as a city planner, he trained as a landscape architect and used the titles 'landscape architect' and 'city planner' interchangeably throughout his career.  A prolific practitioner, he was engaged in nearly 400 projects throughout the United States between 1905 and 1936, including town planning, industrial housing, state and city parks, new towns and regional planning.

    Focusing particularly on several projects central to Nolen’s career including Madison (WI), Mariemont (OH), Venice (FL) and Penderlea (NC), Beck investigates the ideologies that underpinned Nolen’s work.  This is a rare look at a key figure in the development of 20th century American cities. 

    1. John Nolen in Context  2. Biography  3. A Model City, the Hope of Democracy  4. Modern City Planning Principles and Local Happiness  5. Better Planning, Better Organization, Better Control  6. The Problem with Practical Arguments


    Jody Beck is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. His research focuses on the connections between the politics of daily life, patterns of inhabitation and the design of landscapes at all scales.

    "Beck discuss a wide range of themes illustrated by Nolen’s works and writings. The most interesting and well developed of these include the following: (1) his early growth and development at Girard College, Wharton School, and the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching (ASEUT); (2) his studies of landscape architecture at Harvard University; (3) travels to Europe and transatlantic exchange of ideas; (4) evolution of his approach to comprehensive planning; (5) his reflections on racism and segregation; (6) his role as educator; and (7) lessons from Nolen’s life and work for today’s planners."

    - Frederick E. Lutt, Journal of Planning History, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA