Levin College Forum Events

Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City

City Scape

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Glickman-Miller Hall, Roberta Steinbacher Atrium

Register | The New Group Plan Commission in Cleveland, Ohio


Norman Krumholz, Professor, Levin College of Urban Affairs

Anthony Coyne (Chairman, Cleveland City Planning Commission and Group Plan Commission)
Robert Brown (Director, Cleveland City Planning Commission)
Steven Litt (Architecture writer, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Steven Rugare (Assistant Professor, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University)
Pamela Eyerdam (Fine Arts & Special Collections Manager, Cleveland Public Library)

About the Forum

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."
— Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912)

The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs Forum Program, Cleveland State University presents the PBS Documentary Film:
“Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City”

“Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City” is the story of a dreamer who shaped some of America’s best-known places and spaces. The 57-minute film explores Burnham’s fascinating career and complex legacy as public debate continues today about how and for whom cities are planned.

Few individuals have had more impact on the American city and the City of Cleveland than architect and planner Daniel Burnham. In 1903, Burnham presented the Group Plan for the City of Cleveland, detailing what would become the modern-day alignment of public buildings around the downtown Mall. The legacy of Burnham’s Group Plan lives on more than a century later in downtown Cleveland.

Earlier this summer, Mayor Frank Jackson asked civic leaders to serve on the newly-formed Group Plan Commission to evaluate the future of Cleveland’s downtown landscape in relation to Burnham’s Group Plan and development of multiple projects, including Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center on the Mall.

“Make No Little Plans” provides a valuable historical context for today’s discussions on the future design and uses of the Mall. Learn about Daniel Burnham, the man who developed the Group Plan for downtown Cleveland. In the midst of late 19th century urban disorder, Burnham offered a powerful vision of what a civilized American city could look like. 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 Cleveland, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco and Manila—all before the profession of urban planning existed. In fact, some say that he invented it.

Narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen, the film combines digital models, original drawings, personal letters, animated graphics and stunning visuals to highlight dramatic developments that transformed both Burnham and the American city.

Presented in partnership with the City of Cleveland, ParkWorks, and Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center.

All forum events are free and open to the public, but please register online or call 216.523.7330.
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    Phone: 216.523.7495

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