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John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City Planner

R. Bruce Stephenson

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ISBN 10: 1625340796 / ISBN 13: 9781625340795
Published by University of Massachusetts Press, 2015
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City ...

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


John Nolen (1869–1937) was the first American to identify himself exclusively as a town and city planner. In 1903, at the age of thirty-four, he enrolled in the new Harvard University programme in landscape architecture, studying under Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and Arthur Shurcliff. Two years later, he opened his own office in Harvard Square.

Over the course of his career, Nolen and his firm completed more than four hundred projects, including comprehensive plans for more than twenty-five cities, across the United States. Like other progressive reformers of his era, Nolen looked to Europe for models to structure the rapid urbanisation defining modern life into more efficient and livable form. His books, including New Towns for Old: Achievements in Civic Improvement in Some American Small Towns and Neighborhoods, promoted the new practise of city planning and were widely influential.

In this insightful biography, R. Bruce Stephenson analyzes the details of Nolen’s many experiments, illuminating the planning principles he used in laying out communities from Mariemont, Ohio, to Venice, Florida. Stephenson concludes by discussing the potential of Nolen’s work as a model of a sustainable vision relevant to American civic culture today.


In this deeply researched and richly detailed biography... Stephenson focuses attention on a figure who has been curiously understudied and who arguably deserves additional scrutiny on several topics--from his ideas about race and class to his proto-environmentalism, all key interests among Progressive reformers.

-- (01/01/0001)

Stephenson offers a richly developed biographical portrait of Nolen interwoven with a detailed discussion of his numerous planning projects.... [The] biographical component allows the reader to see how Nolen's life experiences shaped his professional work. Especially impressive is Stephenson's discussion of Nolen as a progressive during his work at ASEUT and his early travels to Europe.... The numerous color photographs make the book a visual delight and the excellent index makes referencing the book a breeze.

--Journal of Planning History

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