Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs (1928)

This map is a page from the 1929 Regional Plan of New York and its Environs, authored by the Regional Plan Association, formed in 1922 to undertake planning across 31 counties in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. As its title suggests, this plan argued that this sprawling metropolis needed a regional plan that viewed separate municipalities collectively as a single interdependent and interconnected built environment. This comprehensive view is reflected in particular on this map. It contains a section of the state of New Jersey in the upper left, a portion of Bronx County on the upper right, a small piece of Queens County on the lower left, and Upper Manhattan in the center. Unlike earlier plans, the maps in The Regional Plan did not correspond to political divisions; instead, their goal was to transcend such divisions, as the Plan’s authors had understood economics, development, mobility, and, ultimately, life, to do.

The Regional Plan Association integrated ideas and improvements that were already underway. Dotted red lines, for example, denote currently planned expressways and bridges that would improve links between parts of the metropolis. Similarly, the map is colored not to designate distinct administrative areas, but to show land use patterns—and plans for future land use—on a regional basis. Orange connotes developed land, and green indicates parkland. The large green rectangle on the lower right is Manhattan’s Central Park.



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"Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs," in Graphic Regional Plan: New York and Its Environs, SW Harlem, p. 76. New York, 1928. Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago