Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: PhD thesis on the history of planning?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Rewey's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    38

    PhD thesis on the history of planning?

    Hi guys,

    I'm a history/geography teacher doing a masters degree in planning, and am looking to go on to doing a PhD thesis.

    Just wondering if anyone can think of a riveting topic for a thesis along some historical background, ie. changes as a result of the Great Fire of London, or the Black Death, or even as far back as the Roman Empire?

    Anything that would be challenging and deep enough to write a whole thesis on would be great!

    Many thanks in advance...

    Rewey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Someplace between yesterday and tomorrow.
    Posts
    11,922
    How planning as influenced and reacted to events that changed history.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,377
    Read The City in History by Lewis Mumford. Plenty of good ideas in there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_in_History
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  4. #4
    BANNED
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    194

    Research topics

    Quote Originally posted by Rewey View post
    Hi guys,

    I'm a history/geography teacher doing a masters degree in planning, and am looking to go on to doing a PhD thesis.

    Just wondering if anyone can think of a riveting topic for a thesis along some historical background, ie. changes as a result of the Great Fire of London, or the Black De ath, or even as far back as the Roman Empire?

    Anything that would be challenging and deep enough to write a whole thesis on would be great!

    Many thanks in advance...

    Rewey
    One topic might consider the effects of site value taxation on land use. In Australia I know there is at least one major city (Melbourne?) that uses laissez-faire (site value) taxation - it is an idea that was going around about the end of the 19th Century. (It should not be confused with Adam Smith's use of the term laissez-faire in a totally different context). Economist who studied this method said it would disperse population where it is too dense and concentrate population where it is too sparse. The economic theory of laissez-faire originated in France about 1770 and was used to balance the French national budget in 1776; By way of Franklin, Jefferson and DuPont it became the economics of the American Revolution but was independently restated and popularized about 1875 in the United States and has been used in a couple of cities in the USA (Pittsburg, PA for one) but only on a limited basis. What has been the actual result of this form of taxation on land use development?

    Another topic might consider legislation developed in the early 20th Century designed to induce Cities to make and adopt a Master Plan for orderly development. Alabama, and I think many other States had made laws concerning this matter by 1935 - the first may have been in New York about 1920. These laws could not be implemented because no one knew how to design a city - except Frank Lloyd Wright who wrote a book about it, The Disappearing City, c. 1932 and he consequently offered the Broadacre City Concept. Other architects tried to fake it (by their own admission); such fake master plans were developed to supply the demand. Mobile, Alabama had one by 1960. This scheme still remains the official map which is fiercely defended by the Planning Commissions (both Municipal and Regional) although it was never officially adopted as required by the law. A study of that situation might be interesting in the light of a genuine Master Plan as intended by the law, such as I have discovered in KYMAK or even the Broadacre City Concept which also conforms to the intent of the law - however, its pattern and principles are incorporated in the KYMAK scheme. The fake master plan has become a tradition which makes the law of no effect. How are things going in the rest of the world concerning this matter? I have seen somewhere during the last 5 or 10 years that the Broadacre’s Concept is being given serious consideration in Germany.
    Last edited by bud; 23 Aug 2006 at 12:40 PM. Reason: correct grammar

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Rewey's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    38
    Thanks guys - these are awesome ideas - keep them coming!

    How about something to do with the great 'accidental' planning by the Aztecs or the Roman Empire - is there enough depth there?

    Thanks again guys, this stuff is great...

    Rewey

    I've borrowed some text from another post on this site to refine your idea. How about how the historical solutions have created the landscape of cities today, and whether they solved, or created new problems that are worse, citing things like Chicago Fire 1920s, Fire of London, Plague perhaps, maybe SF earthquakes, Pompeii at a stretch? (thanks to Donk for most of this)

    Would this be far too broad to cover with any real consideration?

    Rewey
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 24 Aug 2006 at 8:12 AM. Reason: double reply

  6. #6
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever mediocore planning lurks
    Posts
    99
    Rewey in answer to your last question, I think it is indeed too broad. Maybe if you narrowed it to one city or type of event/catastrophe. I think you have found the general area to do further research on as you have come back to the same general topic after the other postings showing that you have an interest in this topic - I think the most important thing. I think all you need to do now is maybe do some more reading in these areas, find that something that sticks out in your mind and formualte your research question around that. I think you are close...

  7. #7
         
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Funky Town, CO.
    Posts
    432
    I just recently read an article about the redevelopment of Berlin after WWII. The two different political systems created two very different styles of development on each side of the wall. Perhaps something along that line. There has to be some other similar examples using two cities that had to rebuild after similar destruction and during a similar time period either in Asia or Europe.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    De Noc
    Posts
    17,482
    Quote Originally posted by Rewey View post
    I've borrowed some text from another post on this site to refine your idea. How about how the historical solutions have created the landscape of cities today, and whether they solved, or created new problems that are worse, citing things like Chicago Fire 1920s, Fire of London, Plague perhaps, maybe SF earthquakes, Pompeii at a stretch?
    Sorry to rain on your parade -
    The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster
    Book Description: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/019...lance&n=283155

    The Wall Street Journal recounts rebuilding efforts after major disasters of the past, the 1871 Chicago Fire, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the 1889 Johnstown Flood, and the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. I wish there were more details on the actual economic effects, but the stories do give a clear sense of how resilient the people and the cities were in each of these four cases:
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/ec...building_.html

    Google: rebuilding cities in ruins after a disaster
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  9. #9

    Just some thoughts

    Quote Originally posted by Rewey View post
    Hi guys,

    I'm a history/geography teacher doing a masters degree in planning, and am looking to go on to doing a PhD thesis.

    Just wondering if anyone can think of a riveting topic for a thesis along some historical background, ie. changes as a result of the Great Fire of London, or the Black Death, or even as far back as the Roman Empire?

    Anything that would be challenging and deep enough to write a whole thesis on would be great!

    Many thanks in advance...

    Rewey
    Hi Rewey,
    I'm sure I or anybody else on this forum could give you tons of ideas, but I think most importantly -- especially for something like a PhD thesis -- you should play around and struggle with some ideas to find something that really interests you yourself. I think that's part of the process of finding a topic you can really be excited about. Of course, it's useful to ask around for suggestions every now and then, but don't forget that in the end it should be a thesis that can keep you motivated throughout the 3?, 4?, 5? years of doing your PhD.

    Having said that, here's some general things to think about that might help you formulate some ideas:
    History --> When? Geography --> Where?
    In terms of timeline, there's the modern history of planning which I think is usually considered to be 20th century, then there's back in ye olden days, and even more ancient times. Which brings us to your region of interest, I think the origins of planning is generally considered to be somewhere in the Middle East. However most of the suggestions here are more Western European oriented. What about the history of Australian planning? Other places in the world not mentioned? There are lots of room for discovering a thesis topic here...and as suggested, you need to really narrow it down eventually.

    Also I am guessing that the history aspect of your PhD comes from your background as a history/geography teacher. Are you then more inclined to focus on these such topics that you have dealt with in class?

    Okay, final word to put in. For me personally, if I were to spend the time and effort into something like a PhD, long-term career, etc. I would hope to do something that is of pertinence for society. Is there a social need currently that has yet to be met? For me it would be like killing...or saving two birds with one stone -- I can get a PhD and benefit society in someway. Just my thoughts.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Transportation planning thesis
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 23 Jan 2012, 5:14 AM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last post: 25 May 2011, 7:28 AM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last post: 07 Nov 2008, 1:42 AM
  4. Grad planning thesis ideas
    Student Commons
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 09 Mar 2008, 10:34 AM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last post: 27 Nov 2007, 11:38 AM