A Study of Planned Communities Around the World

Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change book cover

Associate Professor of Architecture John Pittari teaches urban design at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture’s (APLA) Center for Architecture and Urban Studies (Urban Studio) in Birmingham, Alabama. He recently contributed a chapter to Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change, which received the International Planning History Society (IPHS) Prize for Best Planning History, Edited Work. Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, the book addresses how to preserve the spirit of community through the use of key design elements, and the ways in which those elements can be adapted to contemporary circumstances and changing demographics.  (https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15963.html)

Pittari’s contribution, “Sunnyside Gardens and Radburn: The Common Legacy and Divergent Experience of Community Life,” is one of twenty case studies located across six continents. He explores the history of these two iconic 1920s planned communities in the New York metropolitan area that were designed and developed by the same architectural/planning team, but approached with different design strategies for creating comfortable, affordable housing and promoting a strong sense of community life. Whereas Sunnyside Gardens in Queens was organized into roughly one dozen blocks laid out in a traditional grid pattern, Radburn, New Jersey, was designed to be an innovative “Town for the Motor Age.” As the chapter’s title suggests, Pittari analyzes the commonalities and contrasts the differences between the two projects with regard to the impact that their design has had over time on the experience of community life.


Related people:
John Pittari, Jr.