The topic that I chose for this blog entery is the city beautiful movement. “The City Beautiful movement brought together the ideas of municipal art, civic improvement, and landscape design.” from Contemporary Urban Planning (pg 36) It originated in Chicago in the early 1893. It aimed at improving the quality of life in a city by opening broad, monumental boulevards. “Daniel Burnham, the most prominent architect and urban designer of the day” pg 36) was one of the masterminds behind this. Burnham felt that the lives of citizens, and cities themselves, could be improved “without any restructuring of economic, social, or political institutions.” from City of Lights (pg 25) In this blog, I would like to go over some examples of the city beautiful movement throughout the United States. The first example that I would like to give is the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. This grand boulevard was made to connect the City Hall and the Art Museum. The final plan for this was approved in 1919, and it was finally completed in 1928. The pictures of before and after are as follows:
Before and After, Philadelphia
In 1901, the city beautiful plan for The National Mall in Washington D.C. was passed. Just from the image, we can see many iconic buildings almost in line very similar to the boulevard in Philadelphia! The idea of these boulevards, is to create an open space. The important buildings, museums filled with art bring a sense of value to the capital of the USA.
The next one I would like to mention is the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This was considered as the mark of the beginning of the City Beautiful movement. It “intended to celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America”. (pg 36) It had various features, everything from exposition halls, landscaped areas, and promenades. “The exposition opened the nation’s eyes to what planner, architect, and landscape architect, working in concert, could do.” (pg 37) The following is a birds-eye view of the Columbian Exposition:
Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1894
The last example that I would like to mention is right here in Newark in 2009. “Veterans Memorial Park, a block long plaza that completes a network of outdoor plazas in Newark” was made. The area was really bad, and it put people’s security at risk. Buildings were renovated and rebuilt, the park was built, and fountains were added. There was actually an article written on this with more details. The link is the following: http://blog.nj.com/njv_mark_diionno/2009/09/city_beautiful_shines_again_th.html