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Definition: town planning from Collins English Dictionary


1 the comprehensive planning of the physical and social development of a town, including the construction of facilities US term: city planning

› town planner n

Summary Article: town planning
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

The design of buildings or groups of buildings in a physical and social context, concentrating on the relationship between various buildings and their environment, as well as on their uses.

Response to industrialization An urgent need for town planning emerged in the 19th-century with the rapid growth of urban industrial centres. Reformists saw the crowded industrial city as the root of social evil, and various attempts were made to integrate industry with the pastoral vision of the village, culminating in the English town planner Ebenezer Howard's proposal for the garden city. This was first realized at Letchworth in Hertfordshire (begun 1903) and followed 1946 by the first generation of publicly financed new towns, each with its own civic amenities and industries.

Zoning versus mixed use In continental Europe after World War II, CIAM, a loose association of modernist architects and planners, took responsibility for much of the rebuilding and planning of European cities, advocating functional zoning and high-rise mass housing as the only viable solution to urban growth. CIAM remained the dominant force in town planning until the mid-1950s, when the concepts of multilayered, mixed-use city centres were re-evaluated.

Since the 1970s there has been renewed interest in urban design, with architects and planners working together in search of solutions. Robert Krier (1938– ) and Leon Krier have argued eloquently in favour of the pre-industrial European city with its fabric of clearly defined urban spaces, and Aldo Rossi has also emphasized the importance of traditional urban architecture. In the UK Terry Farrell and Richard Rogers have campaigned for an urgent review of planning policy in London.


Cities and Utopia

Urban Design in the 20th Century

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