Urban Beast or Urbane Beauty: Planning the City Beautiful

One hundred years ago, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett published a vision of Chicago that reflected the early stages of big city planning. The City Beautiful Movement, spurred by Baron Haussmann's remaking of Paris in the 1860s, was intended to create a rational, classical city to replace the crowded, unplanned Victorian city common in the 19th Century. The 1909 Plan for Chicago, although never fully realized, is heralded as the apex of the City Beautiful Movement which found echoes in plans for the San Francisco Civic Center, Oakland's City Center, the Sunol Water Tower Temple, and urban planning from Manila to Canberra, Australia. This exhibit explores the City Beautiful Movement as manifested in the San Francisco Bay Area, and subsequent attempts to make its wide boulevards, Beaux Arts buildings and neo-classical domes welcome to urban inhabitants.

Credits

Curators: David Eifler and Matthew Prutsman, Environmental Design Library. Exhibition team: Waverly Lowell and Miranda Hambro, Environmental Design Archives