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City planner, landscape architect.

John Nolen attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Ph.D. in 1893, and for the next ten years worked as secretary of the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching. In 1903 he enrolled in the newly established Harvard School of Landscape Architecture, receiving an A.M. in 1905. He established an office in Cambridge, where he and his associates branched out into city planning as well as landscape architecture. Over the course of his career, Nolen participated in 400 public planning projects and works of landscape architecture, and replanned 50 cities in 20 states. Travel and field work were important aspects of his career. He used visual media, including glass slides, extensively. He was a frequent lecturer on city and town planning, and was active in many professional organizations, including the American City Planning Institute (later called the American Institute of Planners, now known as the American Planners Association), American Civic Association (now Urban America), American Society of Landscape Architects, American Society of Planning Officials, International Garden Cities and Town-Planning Federation, National Conference on City Planning (now Urban America), and the Town Planning Institute of England.


1869 Born June 14, Philadelphia, son of John C. and Mathilda (Thomas)
1878-1884 Girard College, Philadelphia
1885 Grocery clerk
1886-1891 Minor secretary, Girard Estate Trust Fund
1891-1893 University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School as economics and public administration major, degree of Bachelor of Philosophy
1893-1903 American Society for the Extension of University Teaching
1895 Travel to Europe; Oxford, England Summer Course
1896 Travel to Europe; April 22, married Barbara Schatte of Philadelphia; November, Secretary of the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching
1900 Travel to Europe
1900-1901 University of Munich
1903-1905 Harvard School of Landscape Architecture, Master of Arts
1904 Opened office, Harvard Square, Cambridge
1906 Travel to Europe
1911 Travel to Europe
1912 Member, Metropolitan Boston Planning Commission, visited Europe with Boston Chamber of Commerce party
1913 Honorary Doctor of Science degree, Hobart College, Geneva, N.Y.
1914 Travel to Europe
Judge of competition to rebuild Dublin
1923 Travel to Europe; arranges Gottenberg exhibit, Sweden; member of Committee on the Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, associated with the Russell Sage Foundation. "....new experiment in planning method. While economic and social investigators carry on their studies, a group of notable planners has been called together to guide and co-ordinate their investigations. Thomas Adams ... chairman, John Nolen Harland Bartholomew, George B. Ford, Edward Bennett, co-worker of Daniel Burnham in the Chicago Plan and Frederick Law Olmsted."
1926 President, National Conference on City Planning; travel to Europe; September, International Housing and Town Planning Congress
1927 Travel to Europe, Town Planning Institute meeting, London, England
1928 Travel to Europe, International Housing and Town Planning Congress, Paris
1931 President, International Federation of Housing and Town Planning. June 22, award by the Oberlaender Trust "to study the development of city planning in Germany, particularly the beautifying of river banks and water waterfronts" June 5-28, Russia, 1st All Union convention on City Planning Open to Foreign Specialists
1932 President, Boston Society of Landscape Architects; May, visited International Congress of Local Authorities in London, and visited Germany
1933 President, Federated Societies on Planning Parks
1935 Presided over International Housing and Town Planning Conference, London
1937 Died, February 10, Cambridge, Massachusetts


1918 Member, advisory housing committee, Emergency Fleet Corporation
Chief, Bureau of Housing and town Planning, Army Educational Committee
Town planner, Union Park Garden, U.S. Shipping Board
Niagara Falls project, U.S. Housing Corporation
1933 Since 1933, consultant in U.S. Department of Interior with assignments in National Park Service, National Resources Committee, Resettlement Administration (Greenbelt towns) and Housing Division, P.W.A.
State planning consultant for New Hampshire, Vermont, Alabama and East Georgia Planning Council


1907 Editor, Repton's Art of Landscape Gardening
1910 Madison, a Model City
1911-1912 Replanning Small Cities
1919 New Ideals in Planning of Cities, Towns and Villages
1927 New Towns for Old
1937 Obituary, Boston Herald "Recently he had been engaged in an extensive research of American parkways systems to be published as one of the Harvard city planning studies." Nolen, John and Hubbard H.V., Parkways v. Land Values (Harvard City Planning Studies no. 11) Cambridge, Harvard University Press


  1. Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects

  2. Member, Board of Directors, American Planning and Civic Association (now Urban America Inc.)

  3. Member, Board of Directors, American Society of Planning Officials (now A.P.A.)

  4. Past president, National Conference on City Planning

  5. Past president, American City Planning Institute (now A.I.P., which is part of A.P.A.)

  6. Member, American Society of Civil Engineers

  7. Member, American Federation of Arts

  8. Member, Town Planning Institute, England

  9. Member, Beta Theta Pi

  10. Past president and member, Executive Committee, International Federation for Housing and Town Planning

  11. President, Federated Societies on Planning and Parks