I English language, and organized social clubs for the

I
often live by the saying that “In order to know where you are going, you must
know where you came from”. The exclusivity in planning history reminds me of
this phrase.  How can one fully learn and
understand planning history, if we only focus on the ideal work from the “great
men of planning”? (Leonie
Sandercock, 2003, pp. 38). 
Planning history often generalizes the historical context; capitalizing
on the technical and rational expertise of the “Founding Fathers of City Planning”;
thus, leaving behind the many great men and women who helped shaped the social
features of communities and promote diversity and equity. Planners, like Leonie
Sandercock argue that if we only gave importance to visionaries such as Robert
Moses, Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier, and Frederick Law Olmsted, we miss the
true history of planning. What is planning history, if we don’t integrate the
work of others who uplifted our communities. Without the inclusion of
visionaries such as Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, and W.E.B DuBois, it is
difficult for planners to bridge “the gap between the vision and reality”, if
they don’t know where they came from (Leonie Sandercock, 2003, pp. 38). 

The
first planner that comes to mind is Jane Addams, she significantly improved and
impacted cities for women, children, and the poor whom were ignored and not
supported by the visionaries during the 19th century. She was the
voice for the marginalized groups. It was through her founding of the Chicago
Hull House, where she addresses the concerns of housing, promoted negro
culture, and encouraged social action. As a leader, her goal was not merely to
transform the urban environment, but to promote equal opportunity and women
empowerment. Through her humanitarian efforts she established kindergarten because
she felt there was a need for child care, provided a place where immigrants can
learn the English language, and organized social clubs for the mothers. Indeed,
her groundbreaking efforts not only supersedes but corrects Hall’s
justification of the nonappearances of women in planning history.

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Another
planner I would like to include is Florence Kelley. Not only was she a social
reformer for women, children, blacks and consumers, but she began the
anti-congestion reform. Her efforts addressed the results of bad planning
practices that created concentrated areas of disease and insanitation. By
formulating the partnership with Mary K. Simkhovitch and Benjamin C. Marsh, she
founded the Committee on Congestion of Population in New York (CCP). This is
what makes her a visionary of her time. Often, I think about her fierce and
ambitious determination to address child labor. If it was not for her tenacious
efforts, Illinois State Legislature would not have formulated a law prohibiting
employment of children under age 14. Her efforts significantly impacted protection
labor right for women, child labor, and social welfare.

Lastly,
W. E. B. DuBois, is another trail- blazing planning visionary. Certainly,
African Americans were victims of poor and unjust city planning, but it was
scholars like W.E.B Dubois who set forth revolutionary research on racial
disparities in city planning, and made significant contributions to
organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women and National
Urban League. These social organizations played a critical role in the uplift
and collaboration in many black communities, and was often undocumented in
planning history. His community development planning strategy differed from
visionaries of his time through his work of activism. Challenging the work of
others, he highlighted the racial disparity in health city planning. He
questioned whether the efforts from these “great men of planning” such as
garden cities, housing, and transportation were benefiting all Americans.  As a result, because DuBois research
concluded that “racial health disparities were a result of social conditions”,
this led Benjamin Marsh and Frederick Olmstead to address the issues of equity
health city planning (Leeuw, E,
& Simos, J., 2017, pp.34). 

To
conclude, the lessons learned from other planning actors have greatly
contributed to the formation of American cities today. We simply cannot elevate
some planning visionaries and denigrate others.  Genuine planning history is a blend of class
and gender. The work of those who criticize the inequities concentrated in
planning practices should be integrated in planning history. Without the work
from these visionaries, one can imagine the inequality and qualities of cities.
Although, their approach is different from previous visionaries, they all
wanted to provide sustainability and equity.