Another timeline: “Great Urban Thinkers”

Again, a work in progress…I made this timeline partly as an assignment and partly as as a study aid for my Great Urban Thinkers course.

GUT Timeline

The small grey arrows at the top of the timeline indicate events hidden from view due to zoom level. To see them, either zoom in, or click on the arrows to see only the entry title and date.

Categories of thinkers

  • Utopians: orchid
  • Regionalists: light green
  • Early greens: dark green
  • Modernists: turquoise
  • Chicago school sociologists: yellow
  • Radicals: pink
  • Placemakers: sky blue
  • Economic development theorists: orange


  • I’ve included all urban thinkers and most “antagonists” covered during the course, as well as adding a couple more I thought were significant.
  • I didn’t want to get caught up in decisions about which thinkers or events were more important than others, which I think would be fairly arbitrary without some more specific criteria to measure against (i.e. more important to what?). As a result, I made all the thinkers the same size (60 pt) and all the books and events slightly smaller (50). Normally I would make the events larger than the individuals, but this course was focused on the thinkers.
    • Sizing was also a design decision – I wanted to have as few hidden events as possible.
  • For thinkers still living, I set the end date as December 31, 2080 – far enough in the future to not jinx anyone.
  • I haven’t included photos for now, due to time constraints and the challenge of finding images without copyright restrictions that prevent their use.
  • The colour-coded categories are meant to make the timeline easier to read and digest. I realize that many of the thinkers could be put in more than one category or are not a perfect fit for any of them.
  • Other than books, I haven’t colour-coded events, unless they are clearly tied to a particular thinker or category.
  • I have set most dates (other than lifespans) as years (rather than specific dates) as a time-saver. Those dates will show up as January 1 of the applicable year.
  • I chose to include a bit of contextual information for each thinker (rather than date info only), but wanted to make this part efficient, so I mainly quoted selected excerpts from Wikipedia (and provided links).
    • As I’m able to in future, I will track down and substitute more academic sources of info.
  • I’ve also thrown in a couple Vancouver events that we’ve discussed in the course – not significant to viewers outside the city.

Please feel welcome to point out any errors.

Similar useful timelines

Planning history timeline by Professor Scott Campbell (U of Michigan, also U.S.-focused)

Urban theorist timeline, also by Professor Scott Campell (pdf)


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