John Nolen (1869-1937) was a pioneer in the development of professional town and city planning in the United States. Nolen's comprehensive approach merged the social, economic, and physical aspects of planning while emphasizing, in the author's words, "versatility, special knowledge, and cooperation." Between 1905 and 1937, Nolen's firm, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, completed more than 450 commissions throughout the United States. Among the best known of these is Mariemont, Ohio, whose development Nolen directed from the ground up. New Towns for Old (1927), long out of print and increasingly rare, is still of great interest to planners and urban historians. The well-illustrated study contains an overview of the development of American urbanism and a concise discussion of Nolen's ideas for the improvement of towns and cities. Individual chapters examine a variety of new towns planned by Nolen including Mariemont, Ohio, Kingsport, Tennessee, and Kistler, Pennsylvania, as well as the new suburbs of Union Park Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware, and Myers Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. Re-planned towns of Cohasset and Walpole, Massachusetts, are also featured. The forward-looking final chapter includes material on Venice, Florida, one of Nolen's most ambitious projects. The new edition of New Towns for Old includes additional plans and illustrations, a new index, and a new introductory essay by Charles D. Warren which presents biographical and historical context that illuminates the diverse, productive career of this highly significant practitioner.
Charles D. Warren is an architect and writer. He has taught design at the University of Michigan and The Institute for Classical Architecture, and in 1990-91 he was the Town Architect in Seaside, Florida.
"Nolen's book tracks real problems and real solutions in towns from Walpole, Massachusetts, to Venice, Florida. His observations will fascinate-historians as well as planners shaping new American towns." - Robin Karson, coeditor of Pioneers of American Landscape Design"
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