Planning in America

Decades before the planning of America's earliest city—St. Augustine, Florida (AD 1565), Indigenous people in America created beautiful master planned communities such as Chaco Canyon of the Anasazi (AD 1000), the Mississippian Mounds of the Midwest and Southeast (AD 900), and the nation of Hawaii (AD 500) and embraced tenants of planning that are today coined as ‘sustainable communities”.

Indigenous nations always had planned communities. We had the ways of the earth - which was the environment and the land-use practices associated with that. That is our tradition, which was the use of sustainable communities designed to preserve the health and spirit of a person. Modern planning makes use of some of the same things…. in some circles it's referred to as Smart Growth, in others, Sustainable Development and in others, it's planning with nature. Quite simply, it's "common sense"-doing what is smart in conjunction with the various constraints and requirements that govern planning. The difference is that Native American planning was never separate from the person. The existence of the spirit or soul of the person was a primary consideration, not just the physical but also the spiritual elements.

L.Robert Ulibarri, AICP
Navajo Nation


I have visited Mesa Verde and Chichen Itza. Very interesting city planning.

Good article noted below: