Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Mayors Institute on City Design...

...turns 25 years old--and Thomas Wright has some important reflections on this anniversary at

Perhaps the strongest legacy of the Institute is how conventional its message has become over the past 25 years. Mayors understand the attractiveness of mixed use communities and 24/7 neighborhoods. They understand the benefits of master planning, historic preservation, arts districts, design guidelines, new urbanism, smart growth, sustainability and many more buzzwords. As a regional planner, I found myself wishing that we had made even a fraction of this progress on the need for integrated infrastructure systems and capital investments, but hopefully that’s yet to come.

As the sessions wound down in Chicago, it was thrilling to take a step back and think about what Mayor Riley’s epistle has achieved over the past 25 years, and its place in planning history. I’d argue that it should be taught in our public schools, just as Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago was part of the curriculum in public schools for many decades. After all, not since Jane Jacobs wrote a book about her experiences in Greenwich Village has a document had such a profound – and beneficial – impact on American cities.

Read the entire article here.

Chad Emerson.

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