City Beautiful Movement and The Precedents of Manila Plan

When Daniel Burnham was commissioned of Manila Plan, he was a well-known urban planner in the United States. The Manila plan shared similar ideologies that were utilized in his previous projects, including the planning of Chicago, Washington, Cleveland and San Francisco. They are a series of urban planning projects that exemplifies City Beautiful Movement. City Beautiful Movement proposed to beautify the city by increasing public parks, civic centers and monumental structures within the urban environment. It was believed that the boost of such public space will cultivate the moral and civic virtue of urban dwellers. The roads radiating from the civic center connect other civic centers or public parks, forming an axial relationship among the important public spaces in the city. As a result, on every main road of the city, the civic centers, tangible representation of morality is always in sight.

Philippine architect and urban planner Felino A. Palafox Jr. pointed out that it is important to understand the historical background of City Beautiful Movement:
“It was born out of the need to change the way citizens thought about their cities. In the late 1800s, cities in the US were finally seeing the effect of the increasing urban population, which had begun to outnumber the rural population. The rapid urbanization caused its cities to become congested, polluted, and unsafe–and to look ugly. Sanitation and traffic were approached haphazardly. Moreover, the city’s public spaces had started to disappear to make way for the influx of immigrants.” (2014)

1893 Chicago World’s Fair © 2003 in Daniel H. Burnham : visionary architect and planner by Schaffer, Kristen.
• 1901 Washington McMillan Plan © 2003 in The birth of city planning in the United States, 1840-1917 by Peterson, Jon A.
1901 Washington McMillan Plan © 2003 in The birth of city planning in the United States, 1840-1917 by Peterson, Jon A.
1901 Washington McMillan Plan with Larger Park System © 2003 in Daniel H. Burnham : visionary architect and planner by Schaffer, Kristen.
1903 Cleveland Group Plan © 1993 in Plan of Chicago by Burnham, Daniel H., and Bennett, Edward H.
1903 Cleveland Group Plan © 1993 in Plan of Chicago by Burnham, Daniel H., and Bennett, Edward H.
1903 San Francisco Plan © 1993 in Plan of Chicago by Burnham, Daniel H., and Bennett, Edward H.
1903 San Francisco Plan © 1993 in Plan of Chicago by Burnham, Daniel H., and Bennett, Edward H.

 

Reference:

Schaffer, Kristen. (2003) Daniel H. Burnham : visionary architect and planner. New York : Rizzoli.

Peterson, Jon A. (2003) The birth of city planning in the United States, 1840-1917. London : The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Burnham, D.H. and Bennett E.H. (1993) Plan of Chicago. New York : Princeton Architectural Press.

Palafox, F.A. (2014) The City Beautiful Movement and importance of breathing space. The Manila Times. [Online] 22nd October. Available from: http://www.manilatimes.net/city-beautiful-movement-importance-breathing-spaces/136256/ [Accessed: 19th Dec 2015].

 

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