1st Edition

Planning the Great Metropolis The 1929 regional plan of New York and its environs

By David Johnson Copyright 1996

    As the Regional Plan Association embarks on a Fourth Regional Plan, there can be no better time for a paperback edition of David Johnson’s critically acclaimed assessment of the 1929 Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs. As he says in his preface to this edition, the questions faced by the regional planners of today are little changed from those their predecessors faced in the 1920s.

    Derided by some, accused by others of being the root cause of New York City’s relative economic and physical decline, the 1929 Plan was in reality an important source of ideas for many projects built during the New Deal era of the 1930s.

    In his detailed examination of the Plan, Johnson traces its origins to Progressive era and Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. He describes the making of the Plan under the direction of Scotsman Thomas Adams, its reception in the New York Region, and its partial realization.

    The story he tells has important lessons for planners, decision-makers and citizens facing an increasingly urban future where the physical plan approach may again have a critical role to play.

    Preface to the Paperback Edition.  Preface.  1. Introduction  2. The Making of the New York Metropolitan Region  3. The Emergence of a Planning Tradition  4. First Steps Towards a Metropolitan Regional Plan  5. The Search for Scope and Substance  6. Technological and Ideological Inputs  7. From Survey to Plan  8. Conflict Amidst Planning: Three Decisions  9. Carrying Out the Plan: 1929 to 1941  10. Plan and Reality: 1965  11. The Regional Plan as an Artefact and Process


    David A. Johnson, FAICP, is Professor Emeritus of Planning at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is a past President of the Fulbright Association of the United States and has directed educational projects in Slovenia, Brazil, and Portugal. Professor Johnson also has served on the staffs of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Washington National Capital Planning Commission and the Regional Plan Association of New York.

    'Deals with matters of major interest both to geographers and to planners...a fascinating...vivid and spellbinding story...I strongly recommend this well-written and provocative book. The answers about events and ideas of seventy years ago are relevant today.' - Environment and Planning, 1998

    ...provides the reader with a detailed case study of the plan-making process...a rich resource...Professor Johnson is to be commended for the meticulous research and interesting writing and presentation..." - Town Planning Review