Radburn: Inspiring Every Generation of Planners

Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Mobile Workshop - Walking
- Mobile Workshop - Public Transportation
CM | 3.50
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You'll learn about:

  • How a community can be designed to successfully separate pedestrians and automobiles

  • How design can successfully create a neighborhood out of neighbors

  • Why a popular place for planners may not necessarily be a popular place for most Americans

Since 1928, every generation of planners has been inspired by Radburn, the planned community in northern New Jersey. Radburn was designed to create a neighborhood out of neighbors and to separate automobiles and pedestrians completely. Its planners introduced the concept of residential superblocks with homes on cul-de-sacs—residents walk to their neighbors, playgrounds, swimming pools, parks, and elementary school via footpaths, without ever crossing a street.

Radburn’s concept grew out of Ebenezer Howard’s vision for a garden city. The community was intended to be a self-sufficient entity with residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Although it is now home to approximately 3,100 people, Radburn was never completed. The 1929 stock market crash aborted construction, and post-war home buyers wanted more privacy than a community like Radburn offered.  That is why Radburn is an oasis, surrounded by suburban sprawl.

Visit Radburn and its surrounds. This tour will explore a vision recently developed by local officials to improve the pedestrian environment near Radburn’s train station and commercial area. It will go near New York's Penn Station and the Secaucus Junction train station, and stop for a short walk near the train station in Hoboken. 


Philip Plotch , AICP , Saint Peter's University , Jersey City , NJ (see bio)