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Towards a greater urban geography: regional planning and associational networks in London during the early twentieth century

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This article examines commitment to the regional development of London as it emerged among individuals and groups interested in urban planning in the early twentieth century. Following a brief account of growth and reform in the capital during the nineteenth century, this article focuses on the development of debates about planning the metropolis in the first two decades of the century, exploring practical initiatives such as the Town Planning Conference held in 1910 and the production of The London Society's Development Plan for Greater London during the years of the First World War. London's associational culture was central in generating and hosting discussions about the future of the city during this period and the article provides an indication of the extent of overlapping memberships between groups such as the Royal Institute of British Architects, The London Society and the Town Planning Institute. In conclusion, this article suggests that the regional imagination, central to the later development of planning, was clearly visible in the programme of work undertaken during the First World War and that associational networks were an important part of early professionalization in planning in Britain.

Keywords: London; networks; professionalization of planning; regional planning; voluntary associations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape,Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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