Charles Mulford Robinson

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For other people named Charles Robinson, see Charles Robinson (disambiguation).

Charles Mulford Robinson (1869–1917) was a journalist and a writer who became famous as a pioneering Urban Planning theorist. He was the first Professor for Civic Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which was only one of two universities offering courses in Urban Planning at the time, the other being Harvard.

Robinson wrote The Fair of Spectacle in 1893, an illustrated description of Chicago's World Columbian Exposition, a watershed event for the City Beautiful Movement, and went on to write the first guide to City Planning in 1901, titled The Improvement of Towns and Cities.

He was hired in 1910 to review the city design and planning of St. Joseph, Missouri. Fully half of his report dealt with the need for park space in the city, leading to the design of the National Register of Historic Places–listed St. Joseph Park and Parkway System.[1]


  • The Fair of Spectacle, A Report on Chicago's World Columbian Exposition, 1893.
  • "Improvement in City Live". Atlantic Monthly 83. 1899. [2]
  • Rochester Ways. Scrantom Wetmore & Company, Rochester, New York, 1900.
  • The Improvement of Towns and Cities. Or the Practical Basic of Civic Aesthetics. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1901.
  • Modern Civic Art, or the City Made Beautiful. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1903.
  • The Call of the City. Paul Elder & Company, San Francisco/New York, 1908.
  • City Planning. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1916.


  1. ^ Deon K. Wolfenbarger (June 20, 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form" (PDF). pp. 92–102. 
  2. ^ Arthur Meier Schlesinger (1933), "Critical Essay on Authorities: Urban Life", Rise of the City, 1878-1898, NY: Macmillan, p. 448+  (fulltext via OpenLibrary)

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