Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Centenary Papers: An Introductory Note

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Centenary Papers: An Introductory Note

Article excerpt

In 1908 the industrialist and founder of the model settlement of Port Sunlight, William Hesketh Lever, made an important benefaction to the University of Liverpool which has had a remarkable impact. Lever's gift enabled three things to happen: the founding of the Department of Civic Design, the world's first university planning school; the establishment of the Lever Chair, the first university professorship in the subject of town planning; and the creation of the Town Planning Review, the first international journal in the subject.

One hundred years on, Lever's pioneering venture can be seen to have been an outstanding success. The Department, the chair and the journal have all flourished and together they have played a very significant role in the creation of planning as an academic discipline and as a field of professional practice. This influence has been felt not only in Britain but throughout the world.

It is therefore fitting that the University, and the planning community more generally, should choose to celebrate the centenary. Starting in the summer of 2008 a programme of special events has been organised, including the hosting of two international congresses in Liverpool, an exhibition about the history of the Department, a series of Centenary Lectures and a Centenary Dinner. The Royal Town Planning Institute will hold its General Assembly at the University in July 2009.

The Town Planning Review began publication in 1910, a year after the Department was founded. Patrick Abercrombie, its first editor, played an important part in establishing the journal in its early years. Commenting in 1992, Gordon Stephenson wrote:

From the beginning [Abercrombie] set standards in content and format which made it unique. The TPR was a splendid venture and it came to be known in all parts of the world. Modern town planning was only in its infancy and the journal quickly earned an important place in the history of town planning. (Stephenson, 1992, 129)

Stephenson himself edited the journal for five years starting in 1948, successfully re-launching it after a difficult period before, and during, the Second World War. …

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