The TVA Regional Planning and Development Program: The Transformation of an Institution and Its Mission, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The TVA Regional Planning and Development Program

The Transformation of an Institution and Its Mission, 1st Edition

By David A. Johnson


210 pages

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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a world-renowned model for regional planning and development. Based along the Tennessee River and its series of hydro-electric power stations, dams and reservoirs, the TVA development program envisioned a broad regional planning program. The program focused on development opportunities and problems around the array of TVA dams and their reservoirs. It also created new 'model' towns and pioneered land-use planning bringing together federal, state, and local agencies, farmers, foresters and industrial firms to further the economic, social, and physical conditions of what had been one of the most seriously lagging regions of the U.S. This book is based on the memoirs and experiences of Aelred J. Gray, former planner with the TVA, who saw the 'big picture' and introduced much of the pioneering work of the agency. Gray worked as a staff planner at the TVA for nearly 40 years including a decade as its chief planner, overseeing numerous changes and developments to the Authority's program. As well as building up the regional industrial development and the foundation of state parks, he also had a strong interest in the region's cities. In the 1950s he introduced TVA's landmark Flood Prevention Program, which became a national model. His review of how this innovative and influential regional development agency functioned and changed through the decades will be of value to all those interested in planning practice, planning history, and regional politics.


’In an age when America's sprawling suburban landscape has become a permanent, yet ever-expanding, feature of U.S. society and culture, it is good to remember a time when alternative development strategies seemed possible. David Johnson's The TVA Regional Planning and Development Program�, which draws on the experience of long-time TVA planner Aelred J. Gray, speaks to a time when the nation's endless suburban landscape had not yet been set in a sea of cement and split-level homes. It is well worth a look for readers interested in learning more about an era when planning and vision were not mutually exclusive terms.’ Daniel Schaffer, Trieste, Italy, Author of Garden Cities for America: The Radburn Experience

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the emergence of regional planning agencies in the United States; The first twenty years: the formulation of the TVA approach to regional planning and development, 1933-1953; TVA's second twenty years: the search for new directions in the regional planning and development program, 1953-1973; The rise of the corporate image and the managerial elite: effects on the regional development program, 1973-1994; Some reflections on TVA's experience as a regional development agency; Postscript; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

David A. Johnson is Professor Emeritus at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.

About the Series

Urban Planning and Environment

Urban Planning and Environment
Maintaining and enhancing living conditions in cities through a combination of physical planning and environmental management is a newly emerging focus of governments around the world. For example, local governments seek to insulate sensitive land uses such as residential areas from environmentally intrusive activities such as major transport facilities and manufacturing. Regional governments protect water quality and natural habitat by enforcing pollution controls and regulating the location of growth. Some national governments fund acquisition of strategically important sites, facilitate the renewal of brown fields, and even develop integrated environmental quality plans. The aim of this series is to share information on experiments and best practices of governments at several levels. These empirically-based studies present and critically assess a variety of initiatives to improve environmental quality. Although institutional and cultural contexts vary, lessons from one commonly can provide useful ideas to other communities. Each of the contributions are independently peer reviewed, and are intended to be helpful to professional planners and environmental managers, elected officials, representatives of NGOs, and researchers seeking improved ways to resolve environmental problems in urban areas and to foster sustainable urban development.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Civil / Dams & Reservoirs