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Rediscover Your American Grid

Contemporary development practice produces cities that are generally unwalkable, unsustainable, and unpleasant places to live. By readopting the grid plan, municipalities and developers can start to change that. While the grid is not a panacea for all city planning problems, it is a tried-and-true physical foundation upon which a city may grow. As a case in point, the grid has allowed some of America’s most vibrant cities and beautiful towns to materialize including Pasadena, Oak Park, and New York.

Everyone, from developers to everyday citizens, should benefit from the grid’s built-in qualities of efficiency, economy, flexibility, adaptability, sustainability, accessibility, and walkability. Good urbanism does not need a plan that looks exciting from the air; it needs a plan that works on the ground. By its very geometry, the grid has all of the physical qualities that allows good urbanism to thrive.

Website Goals

  1. Distinguish the realities of the grid plan from its false perceptions, e.g., “Grids are boring places to live.”
  2. Reintroduce the grid plan as a viable alternative to contemporary development practice, i.e., replace the cul-de-sac with the grid and reintroduce the master street plan.
  3. Website Organization

    1. Archives: Record of discussions on the grid as both a contemporary planning tool and an historical artifact.
    2. Bibliography & Links: Sources of information for further research.
    3. Diagrams: Infographics and dimensions to reveal the quantitative qualities of the grid.

    About the Editor

    My name is Paul Knight. I am a certified city planner (AICP) and an architectural and urban designer at Historical Concepts, an architecture and planning firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

    I am also the Executive Director of the Douglas C. Allen Institute for the Study of Cities, a 501c3 dedicated to advancing urban design and building better cities.

    Please contact me if you would like to contribute your own thoughts or work on the American grid in city planning or the everyday.

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