2012 National Planning Excellence Awards: Planning Landmark

The Bennett Plan of the City of Pasadena (1925)

Pasadena, California

Pasadena's 1925 plan was created by Edward H. Bennett, protege of Chicagoan and renowned planner Daniel Burnham. Bennett envisioned Pasadena as the "The Athens of the West." Pasadena residents heavily endorsed Bennett's plan in 1923 in a citywide election. Bennett's plan included architectural concepts and strategies to extend the landscapes of its east-west streets and boulevards and implementation of a zoning ordinance. Over eight decades, the city and its residents vowed to preserve its ten historic landmarks while pursuing various community rehabilitation initiatives.

Remaining faithful to its commitment, nearly $400 million in investments reopened its legendary Civic Auditorium, renovating the old police building to mixed-use housing, restoring City Hall, and the Central Library. In addition to maintaining its rich history, the city undid early mistakes and reopened the Garflied axis through a renovated Paseo Colorado shopping mall; and made architecturally compatible additions to the Plaza Las Fuentes, a hotel and office redevelopment project, and an expanded conference center flanking the auditorium.

The plan created by Edward H. Bennett remains the enduring guide for Pasadena's Civic Center district nearly a century later.