What a Young Engineer Needs to Know
Prepared for the Bradley University Engineering Department
September 7, 2010

What is city planning and why do we care? 

Brief History – want to make this fun and interesting – comment any time 

Other Names for City Planner and City Planning = Planner, Planning, City Planning, Urban Planning, Town and Country Planning, Regional Planning

Initially focused on Land Use and Transportation

Now much more comprehensive – concerned with environmental, social justice, economic development, etc


an act of formulating a program for a definite course of action; "the planning was more fun than the trip itself"

the act or process of drawing up plans or layouts for some project or enterprise

City Planning

determining and drawing up plans for the future physical arrangement and condition of a community

Urban, city, and town planning integrates land use planning and transport planning to improve the built, economic and social environments of communities. Regional planning deals with a still larger environment, at a less detailed level.


social, economic, and racial equity and integration;
Comprehensive plans implemented to create healthy, safe places to live and work;
good public services are provided;
decisions based on sustainability at all levels;
good jobs available close to home;
a quality education available to all students;
quality, affordable housing available to all people;
choice in transportation modes;
recreational and cultural opportunities;
adequate protection from environmental hazards;
natural resources protected or managed in a sustainable way;
public officials and citizens who understand
citizens who actively participate


Human’s nomadic hunter gatherers for million years, agriculture and cities less developed less than 10,000 years ago

Agriculture or cities first? – probably side by side, chicken and egg – settle down a bit

Where? On rivers, lakes, ocean, crossroads, transportation, defense, trade

Where are some of the world’s oldest cities? On Rivers - Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, Garden of Eden, Indus River, Nile, China

Peoria – River, Lake, River crossing, Crossroads, fort, trade, ecology

Native Americans, shelter next to Lake Pimeteau, fish, mollusks, Lake River

Chicago – same as Peoria

Bradley Campus – Neighborhood of Peoria

Initially most towns are a little hamlet of a few houses, gradually growing. Not Planned.

A central meeting space or market then develops, with a temple or church as a unifying symbol. And a fortress, either a walled city, or a fort within the city – changes over time

Romans – engineers, aqueducts, sewers, rational planning

Europe – Rivers – River bluffs – caves – to live in, defense high ground

Illinois farm towns – why located? Railroads, grain elevator, market town

German the Stadtmeet, where the streets meet

Towns – initially grew naturally, subsequently or master planned

Engineers – 1st planners

The Greek Hippodamus (c. 407 BC)  "Father of City Planning" for design of Miletus and the planned new city of Alexandria, the grandest example of idealized urban planning of the ancient Mediterranean world, The Hippodamian, or grid plan, was the basis for subsequent Greek and Roman cities.

The ancient Romans used a consolidated scheme for city planning, developed for military defense and civil convenience. The basic plan consisted of a central forum with city services, surrounded by a compact, rectilinear grid of streets, and wrapped in a wall for defense. To reduce travel times, two diagonal streets crossed the square grid, passing through the central square.
Many European towns, such as Turin, preserve the remains of these schemes, which show the very logical way the Romans designed their cities. They would lay out the streets at right angles, in the form of a square grid. All roads were equal in width and length, except for two, which were slightly wider than the others. One of these ran east–west, the other, north–south, and intersected in the middle to form the center of the grid. All roads were made of carefully fitted flag stones and filled in with smaller, hard-packed rocks and pebbles. Bridges were constructed where needed. Each square marked by four roads was called an insula, the Roman equivalent of a modern city block.
Each insula was 80 yards (73 m) square, with the land within it divided. As the city developed, each insula would eventually be filled with buildings of various shapes and sizes and crisscrossed with back roads and alleys. Most insulae were given to the first settlers of a Roman city, but each person had to pay to construct his own house.
The city was surrounded by a wall to protect it from invaders and to mark the city limits. Areas outside city limits were left open as farmland. At the end of each main road was a large gateway with watchtowers. A portcullis covered the opening when the city was under siege, and additional watchtowers were constructed along the city walls. An aqueduct was built outside the city walls.
The collapse of Roman civilization saw the end of Roman urban planning, among other arts. Urban development in the Middle Ages, characteristically focused on a fortress, a fortified abbey, or a (sometimes abandoned) Roman nucleus, occurred "like the annular rings of a tree",[6] whether in an extended village or the center of a larger city. Since the new center was often on high, defensible ground, the city plan took on an organic character, following the irregularities of elevation contours like the shapes that result from agricultural terracing

PUBLIC SPACE – ROW (Right of Way) versus private housing

Public open space, marketplace, temples, grand central meeting point

Unifying architecture – pyramids, acropolis – high ground, defensible space

City Layout Patterns –

     Just grew
     Star burst or radial
     Concentric circles


     Creating a Plan – Why Plan, When You Can React? 

           Rational Planning versus muddling through

Take the urban chaos – congestion, lack of sanitation, crime, social

     City Beautiful movement 1903 Columbian Exposition
Daniel BURNHAM Great Architect and Planner, not college trained, learned drafting, architect, engineer, planner

     Took principles of the Columbian Exposition to city planning

     Grand civic buildings, Lake Front forever free and clear

     Reversed the Chicago River, sending sewerage down the River

Planning Commission –non partisan, non political, making long range decisions
     Democracy – citizen participation, input, vs. elite developed plan.

     Physical Planning versus consideration of all aspects of –

Comprehensive Plan

URBAN RENEWAL – redevelopment, massive efforts to eradicate slums
60’s – Big social welfare concerns – Engineer planners got some of the blame for public housing towers, freeways through the city, citizen unrest. Planning got a much heavier input from sociology, criminology, political science, psychology. Full employment, good

Social services, HULL House

Robert Moses – New York, Parks, Roads, bridges, public housing. Built a tremendous amount – PhD in Poli Science, very effective, controversial. Bridges, road public housing. Much criticized for freeways through neighborhoods, limited public involvement. But built a great deal

Jane Jacobs, Author  interest in communities and urban planning and decay. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States.

Cars v transit

Freeways in cities versus no freeways – I-74 through downtown Peoria, I-94 thru

Through most American Cities, not in Europe or Vancouver

Ebenezer Howard's influential 1902 diagram, illustrating urban growth through garden city – Separates neighborhoods with green belts.

In the 1920s, the ideas of modernism began to surface in urban planning. Based on the ideas of Le Corbusier and using new skyscraper-building techniques, the modernist city stood for the elimination of disorder, congestion, and the small scale, replacing them with preplanned and widely spaced freeways and tower blocks set within gardens.

No large-scale plans were implemented until after World War II, however. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, housing shortages caused by wartime destruction led many cities to subsidize housing blocks. Planners used the opportunity to implement the modernist ideal of towers surrounded by gardens. The most prominent example of an entire modernist city is Brasilia in Brazil, constructed between 1956 and 1960.

Reaction to Modernism

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, many planners felt that modernism's clean lines and lack of human scale sapped vitality from the community, blaming them for high crime rates and social problems.
Modernist planning fell into decline in the 1970s when the construction of cheap, uniform tower blocks ended in most countries, such as Britain and France. Since then many have been demolished and replaced by other housing types. Rather than attempting to eliminate all disorder, planning now concentrates on individualism and diversity in society and the economy; this is the post-modernist era.

60’s also environmental movement - my Masters Degree program

Environmental Science,  Human Ecology = Sustainability

Environmental improvements

Major inputs rivers and streams fishable swimmable by 1983 air water quality

New Town Program – Design and build new, Pullman, PF, PFS, Canberra,


Urban Sprawl

Transit versus Autos, Europe v America

Smart Growth

New Urbanism – opposes large scale dev, wants transit, walk ability. Back to the future

Sustainable Development Sustainable development and sustainability
Sustainable development and sustainability influence today's urban planners. Some planners argue that modern lifestyles use too many natural resources, polluting or destroying ecosystems, increasing social inequality, creating urban heat islands, and causing climate change. Many urban planners, therefore, advocate sustainable cities.

"Development that improves the long-term social and ecological health of cities and towns." He sketches a 'sustainable' city's features: compact, efficient land use; less automobile use, yet better access; efficient resource use; less pollution and waste; the restoration of natural systems; good housing and living environments; a healthy social ecology; a sustainable economy; community participation and involvement; and preservation of local culture and wisdom




Collaborative planning in the United States

Collaborative planning arose in the US in response to the inadequacy of traditional public participation techniques to provide real opportunities for the public to make decisions affecting their communities.

Collaborative planning is a method designed to empower stakeholders by elevating them to the level of decision-makers through direct engagement and dialogue between stakeholders and public agencies, to solicit ideas, active involvement, and participation in the community planning process. Active public involvement can help planners achieve better outcomes by making them aware of the public’s needs and preferences and by using local knowledge to inform projects. When properly administered, collaboration can result in more meaningful participation and better, more creative outcomes to persistent problems than can traditional participation methods. It enables planners to make decisions that reflect community needs and values, it fosters faith in the wisdom and utility of the resulting project, and the community is given a personal stake in its success.

The Future of the City: Globalization, Megacities, Informational Society, information age,

Size Matters – Chicago, Peoria  10,000,000 people versus 360,000

(Yes we can and do – but with checks and balances)

Regulations – Public Health, Safety, and Welfare

    Zoning, Building, Subdivision, Zoning Board of Appeals

Political Process

Legal Appeals Should not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious 

Euclidean Zoning – separate uses industrial from residential

Criticism – leads to sprawl

Form Based Code

Building codes, setbacks (Bradley Parking garage.

     Brief History
     Current Trends

Peoria Metro Projects

Alumni / Student Housing