Daniel Burnham and the Chicago City Plan

Many of the designs that Leonardo da Vinci outlined in his plan for an “ideal city” were implemented by Daniel Burnham when he created his master plan for the city of Chicago in 1909. He was similarly focused on the movement of people within the city, and he planned out a systematic arrangement of streets to decrease congestion. The final city plan, although not included in Burnham’s drawings, also incorporated Da Vinci’s idea for a two-tier roadway system. Burnham also focused on incorporation green spaces and preserving the lakefront from industrialization in his plan. He felt that the citizens of Chicago should all own the lakefront together, rather than it being controlled by businesses. Unlike Da Vinci, Burnham had a fairly clean slate to work with for his design, due to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and many aspects of his plan were incorporated into Chicago.


“Burnham Plan of Chicago.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Feb. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnham_Plan_of_Chicago.

“The Plan of Chicago.” The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City by Carl Smith, an Excerpt, press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/764726.html.

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