Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
This well-written book on the 1909 Plan of Chicago, "The Burnham Plan," excellently summarizes numerous publications about the plan and its influence on Chicago's development. Smith (Northwestern Univ.) organized the book chronologically, beginning with the 1890s planning efforts, followed by antecedents and inspiration, including Paris and Vienna, that Burnham studied. Smith describes Chicago at the turn of the century and initiation of the plan by the Merchants' Club of Chicago, soon to become the Commercial Club. He chronicles Burnham and architect Edward H. Bennett's planning process during 30 months, promotion of the plan, and political undertakings to establish the Chicago Plan Commission, followed by work to implement many plan recommendations. Smith makes several good points--the Plan of Chicago did little to address architecture per se, and it barely acknowledged contributions to modern architecture and development of the high-rise, fostered by Burnham's firm. It really focused on planning issues; the architecture was little more than background for the proposed boulevards and new monumental civic center. The most telling chapter is the last, "Heritage," where Smith shows that city planning today is much less concerned with formal architectural issues than with social issues, better schools, housing for low-income people, jobs, and economic development. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. J. W. Stamper University of Notre Dame