Lkboehm's Blog

Urban History Blog

Reevaluation of the 1909 Plan of Chicago October 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lkboehm @ 6:36 pm

I highly suggest taking a look at the article, below, by historian Laura E. Baker.  Baker takes a fresh look at the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which celebrated its one hundredth birthday last year.  This staple subject of urban history courses across the United States deserves this fresh revision.

Civic Ideals, Mass Culture, and the Public: Reconsidering the 1909 Plan of Chicago

  1. Laura E. Baker

  2. Fitchburg State College, lebaker@fsc.edu

Abstract

The centennial anniversary of the publication of the 1909 Plan of Chicago has sparked renewed interest in this landmark of Progressive Era urbanism. This essay examines an often neglected legacy of the Plan: its influence on civic discourse. Best known for its City Beautiful vision of Chicago, the Plan and its implementation campaign also provided a powerful object lesson in the effectiveness of new media and techniques of mass communication for constructing a collective civic identity. Even as the Plan promoted a spatial approach to this problem, its promotion advanced a vision of civic unity enacted not through the building arts but through the new arts of selling.