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. Since 2006, I have worked on a variety of land planning and custom residential projects throughout the United States serving both municipal and private clients.

    Most of my research focuses on the link between legal codes and the built environment. My work has been presented at APA’s National Planning Conference, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the University of Georgia’s graduate program in landscape architecture, and the Atlanta Regional Commission. In addition to the Great American Grid, I have another blog, MasterStreetPlan.com, which covers the importance of land subdivision over land use.

    I graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011 with dual masters degrees in architecture and city & regional planning.

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