John Nolen’s New Ideals in the Planning of Cities, Towns, and Villages is the most thorough assessment of city planning written by an American practitioner before 1920. It records the interplay of urban reform in Europe and the United States, the rise of the planning expert, the design of new towns, and the technique for directing urban expansion on systematic lines. Most important, it documents the blueprint for investing the "peace dividend" of the Great War to make urban life "more fit for democracy".
Written for men fighting to make the world safe for democracy, New Ideals revealed how the domestic part of the peace program could justify their sacrifice. The wartime housing initiative had improved the living conditions of industrial workers and the same public regulation and control of the layout and character of residential neighbourhoods could provide what "men of service expect to find on their return, a new and better type of workman’s home."
While New Ideals strained towards the utopian, experience tempered Nolen’s expectations and the high aims of the book were not immediately realised in a post-war society seeking a return to pre-war normalcy. However in the last decade, Nolen’s planned communities have been closely studied as the demand for pedestrian-oriented neighbourhoods set on sustainable lines has moved from novelty to policy. New Ideals is an important text not only for its design template, but also its aspirations. Nolen’s call to "make cites that will serve the needs--physical, economic, and spiritual-- of all people" lays at the heart of the city planning profession and the lessons Nolen imparted inform a new generation planning cities to be both resilient and just.
Introduction, Part I: 1. Replanning American Cities, Part II: 1. Definition and Scope, 2. The City Planning Movement, 3. Local Data as Basis for City Plan, 4. Types of City Plans, 5. Elements of City Plans, 6. Leglislation and City Plan Authorities, 7. The Cost of City Planning, 8. Professional Training and Experience, 9. New Towns and New Standards, 10. Public Opinion and City Planning Progress, 11. The Promise of the Future
The Studies in International Planning History series brings back to print influential texts from around the world about the study and practice of city and regional planning. The aim is to make material that is now difficult or impossible to obtain more widely available for the study of the internationalisation of planning ideas and local responses. Each book is a facsimile of the original work, (including an English translation if necessary) with an introductory essay written by an expert in the field putting the text into its contemporary and current context.