Carefully documented and copiously illustrated, The Origins of Modern Town Planning delves into the social origins and history of town planning in nineteenth-century England and France.
The touchstone of Benevolo's research is the relationship between town planning and politics. The twofold origin of the planning concept found expression in two schools of nineteenth-century thought: the Utopians—Owen, Saint-Simon, Fourier—and their active vision of the town as a self-sufficient, coherent organism are contrasted with the specialists and officials who endeavored to remedy each urban defect individually by introducing new health regulations and social legislation into already existing towns. Despite the conceptual difference, however, Benevolo points out the shared ideology which inspired all achievements of thought and action—even the purely technical—and establishes its correspondence in spirit up to the time of modern socialism.
"This refreshing little book, translated clearly from the original Italian, makes a plea for relinking town planning with the main line of today's socio-politico-economic movements." —H. Wentworth Eldredge, Dartmouth College