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Marcel Poete (Doubs 1866-Paris 1950) was an historian, an archivist and a librarian. Throughout his life, he was interested in the evolution of the urban plan, studying especially the morphological transformations of Paris. This article analyses Poete's work, trying to understand which are the sources of his thought, as well as the reasons for his limited practical success among the planning pioneers. The first part is devoted to the recent historiography on Poete; the central part of the paper to his personal engagement on the themes of the citizen's knowledge of their city and of Civic Art, also through his teaching activity and the Exhibitions on Paris organized at the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris; the last part, passing through the huge collection of his manuscript notes, identifies his cultural references.