Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

1/1/2012 - 12/31/2012

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Contributions to Urbanism and Urban Planning

FAIN: FA-56642-12

Neil Levine
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

My book on Frank Lloyd Wright’s urbanism will be the first inclusive study of the architect’s contribution to planning the modern city and suburb. The first half discusses the architect’s projects for redefining the system of land subdivision and the idea of community in the American streetcar suburb between the later 1890s and World War I. The second half focuses on his engagement with the automobile, first as a means to combat congestion through decentralization in his utopian scheme of 1929-35 for Broadacre City, and then as a tool for revitalizing the city center by means of large-scale civic, cultural, and multi-use interventions between 1938 and 1958. Aside from Broadacre City, relatively little has been written about this work. Bringing it to light and analyzing its conceptual development in relation to national and international trends will offer important new insights into modern urban history and the creative possibilities Wright brought to shaping the built environment.

Media Coverage

"He Knew He Was Wright: An Impressive Account of a Genius Whose Urban Designs Were Left Largely Unrealized" (Review)
Author(s): Thomas S. Hines
Publication: Times Literary Supplement
Date: 6/3/2016

"Wrights Stadtlandschaft" (Review)
Publication: Neuer Zürcher Zeitung
Date: 2/2/2016

"The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright" (Review)
Author(s): Noor Bell
Publication: CityCity Magazine
Date: 6/1/2016

"The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright" (Review)
Author(s): Alina Cohen
Publication: Surface
Date: 2/1/2014

Associated Products

The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright (Book)
Title: The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: Neil Levine
Abstract: This is the first study ever devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for remaking the modern city. It is comprehensive in scope and critical in approach, offering new and important perspectives on the history of modernism. It places the architect’s projects, produced over a period of more than half a century, in their historical, cultural, and physical contexts while relating them to the theory and practice of modern urbanism. In contrast to the conventional view of Wright as someone who deplored the city and wanted to replace it with the utopian vision of a decentralized, automobile-based, fundamentally single-family house network of continuous, low-density agrarian communities that he called Broadacre City, this book reveals the larger, more varied, and much more complex urban vision Wright had. Through a series of case studies from the later 1890s and through the early 1910s for reforming the planning of residential neighborhoods of the city, mainly in the Chicago area, and then proceeding through projects for commercial, mixed-use, civic, and cultural centers for downtown Chicago, Madison, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Baghdad, Wright takes his place among the leading contributors to the creation of a humane, integral, and exciting form of urbanism appropriate to the special conditions of the modern city. His often spectacular designs are shown to be not only those of an innovative precursor but also of a creative participant in the world of ideas that shaped the modern metropolis. The large number of Wright drawings illustrating the text have been scanned especially for this book and set a new standard for the reproduction of his graphic work.
Year: 2016
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780691167534
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

“Beyond Broadacre City: The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright,” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “Beyond Broadacre City: The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright,”
Abstract: A critical outline and history of Wright's urbanism given as part of my tenure as the Astor Visiting Lecturer
Author: Neil Levine
Date: 05/20/2016
Location: St. John's College, University of Oxford

“A Belated Garden City in the Desert: Baghdad’s Master Plan of the 1950s” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “A Belated Garden City in the Desert: Baghdad’s Master Plan of the 1950s”
Abstract: Discussion of the Minoprio, Spencely, Macfarlane master plan for Baghdad in the context of the symposium on “Identity, Sovereignty, and Global Politics in the Building of Baghdad: From Revolution through the Gulf War and Beyond”
Author: Neil Levine
Date: 09/15/2014
Location: Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

“Au-delà de Broadacre City: l’urbanisme de Frank Lloyd Wright” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “Au-delà de Broadacre City: l’urbanisme de Frank Lloyd Wright”
Abstract: An outline and critical discussion of Wright's urbanism for a French audience
Author: Neil Levine
Date: 03/29/2016
Location: Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France

“The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright”
Abstract: Discussion of Wright's urbanism based on my book The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: Neil Levine
Date: 02/04/2016
Location: Oxford Book Festival, Oxford University