Thomas Adams

Thomas Adams, town planner (b near Edinburgh, Scot 10 Sept 1871; d in Sussex, Eng 24 Mar 1940). A leading British planning pioneer, Adams subsequently became one of the founders of the Canadian planning movement.

Adams, Thomas

Thomas Adams, town planner (b near Edinburgh, Scot 10 Sept 1871; d in Sussex, Eng 24 Mar 1940). A leading British planning pioneer, Adams subsequently became one of the founders of the Canadian planning movement. Adams became acquainted with Patrick Geddes and the Garden City movement headed by Ebenezer Howard and was one of the founders and first president of the British Town Planning Institute.

In 1914 he became planning adviser to the COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION, established in Canada in 1909. Adams provided great impetus to Canadian planning and promoted the creation of comprehensive legislative, institutional and professional structures. He wrote extensively in Town Planning and Conservation of Life and in 1917 published Rural Planning and Development. He founded the Civic Improvement League in 1915 and the Town Planning Institution of Canada in 1919.

His achievements include planning the town of Kipawa (now Témiscaming), Qué, and drafting an urban-renewal scheme for Halifax following the famous HALIFAX EXPLOSION in 1917 which destroyed many residential districts. This scheme provided Adams with a unique opportunity to use his professional expertise to fashion innovations in town planning and public housing.

Adams's influence declined following the demise of the Commission of Conservation in 1921. From 1921 to 1923 he was occupied with projects for the National Parks Division and between 1923 and 1930 was director of the regional plan for New York City and environs. Between 1914 and 1930 Adams was undoubtedly the leading planning figure in Canada, if not the world. Despite his noteworthy sojourn in Canada, however, he did not succeed in fashioning a uniquely Canadian style of planning. See alsoURBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING.


Further Reading

  • Michael Simpson, Thomas Adams and the Modern Planning Movement ... 1900-1940 (1985).