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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

9. Landscape architecture and planning,   pp. 165-176


Page 167

them out. One significant feature of these plans was the designation of several sites (squares, or
commons area) to be set aside for public use.
Period Two: 1893-1930
This period represents the founding days of the profession. This was a period when cities were
relatively small and self-contained, with social and economic stability. Civic-mindedness
focused upon the city's ugliness, and from this the "city-beautiful" movement sprang. The
majority of planning activities during this era were sponsored by chambers of commerce. One of
the first modem plans to be developed in the United States was Janesville's Nolen Plan,
commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce in 1920 and developed by John Nolen of Cambridge,
Massachusetts.
During the 1920s, significant strides in planning were made. Local planning gained strength,
momentum, and breadth, spurred by the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act (published by the
Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Commerce) in 1922 and the U.S. Supreme
Court's landmark decision in 1926, which supported the constitutionality of zoning.
Comprehensive planning was given similar impetus by the Model City Planning Act, published
by the Department of Commerce in 1928. Many states and local governments adopted these
standard acts, and planning spread nationwide. Wisconsin's planning statutes still largely
reflect the Model Act.
Period Three: The Depression and War Years
With the onset of the Depression, these early successes in planning were stunted as the
emphasis shifted from the local to the national scene. Planning at the national level, in the
form of the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB), TVA and Resettlement
Administration, developed planning approaches to a variety of new problems. NRPB
recognized the need for planning and offered assistance to all states creating properly
empowered state planning agencies. These programs restimulated the interest in local
planning.
During the late 1930s and into the 1940s, planning broadened from zoning and community
facilities to land use and natural resource planning as attention was directed toward
metropolitan concerns with the beginning of suburbanization.
During World War II, planning agencies largely shelved long-range plans and planned for the
immediate crises.
Period Four: Postwar to Date
The economy strengthened and expanded after the war, and a new and accelerated period of
urban growth ensued. Aided by new highways, improved incomes, federal housing policies, and
govemment-sponsored dispersal of industries, rapid urbanization and suburbanization occurred.
Coupled with the rural-to-urban migration pattern were problems of urban decay. Planning
once again focused on local government. Urban renewal and federal grant-in-aid 701 funds
flowed from Washington in support of planning efforts. During this period, planning activities
became an accepted function of local government.
Explosive growth and population shifts in the late 1960s and early 1970s gave a new dimension
to planning in terms of both content and judicial interpretation. Cities hard-pressed to meet
rising needs for services attempted to slow growth. Land use regulations, planning systems, and
Landscape Architecture and Planning
167


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