We’re #20!

William Penn’s grid plan for Philadelphia is the 20th best city planning effort, like, ever.

So says Public Servant Blog, “where politics meets reality” in the field of public service and public administration. (It really is kind of a cool site, despite its sober appearance.) Their provocative piece is called, “Top 20 Urban Planning Successes of All Time.”

The number 1 spot was deemed to be bicycle-friendly Amsterdam, where little has changed since the comprehensive plan of the early 17th century.

There are some surprising choices, of which a few are a stretch as “urban planning” and might better be classified as “great ideas,” such as the Miami Valley (Ohio) Region’s Fair Share Housing Plan of 1970 and Manhattan’s High Line, which opened just a year ago. And while the Chicago Boulevard System made the list, the Windy City as a whole did not.

Here’s what they have to say about Philly: “Only a year after William Penn approved the siting of the city, the 1683 Plan of Philadelphia was created. Philadelphia was the first large American city to utilize the grid street pattern, to provide dedicated land exclusively for open green public squares, to provide street widths that vary with their functions, and to include a planned area to accommodate significant and long-term future growth.”

That seems a tad more important to us than the anti-sprawl measures taken by the South Livermore Valley in California in the ’90s, or the existence of a town called Marimont, Ohio. But hey, who can deny the magnificence of Billerica, Mass.? 

— Posted by Thomas J. Walsh

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