Few individuals have had more impact on the American City than architect and planner Daniel Hudson Burnham. In the midst of late nineteenth century urban disorder, Burnham offered a powerful vision of what a civilized American city could look like that provided a compelling framework for Americans to make sense of the world around them.
He built some of the first skyscrapers in the world, directed construction of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition that inspired the City Beautiful Movement, and created urban plans for San Francisco, Washington, DC. Chicago, Cleveland and Manila all before the profession of comprehensive urban planning existed. In fact, some say he invented it.
Burnham’s work sought to reconcile things often thought opposite: the practical and the ideal; business and art; and capitalism and democracy. At the center of it all was the idea of a vibrant urban community.