Planning Canadian Regions


474 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-0850-0
DDC 307.1'2'0971





Reviewed by J.H. Galloway

J.H. Galloway is a professor of geography at the University of Toronto.


This is a weighty volume by two experts in the field. There are over 400
pages of text and a bibliography that runs to more than 20 pages of
single-spaced references. The reading is heavy going, with fact
following fact in lifeless prose. The authors appear not to have tried
to capture the interest of the reader. They no doubt know they have a
captive market of students in universities across the country. Many a
copy will no doubt sit on a shelf in planning offices, a reference work
to be consulted from time to time.

The book opens with a brief obeisance to major figures in the field
over the last 200 years. They are divided into utopians, such as Charles
Fourier, Robert Owen, and Ebenezer Howard; anarchists, such as Kropotkin
and Elisée Reclus, both geographers; two geographers of more orthodox
political views, Vidal de La Blache and Jean Brunhes; and Patrick
Geddes, Lewis Mumford, and Howard Odum, who are listed as sociologists.
Only one town planner seems to have been a founding figure, Thomas
Adams. Surprisingly, there is no mention of Baron Haussmann. The authors
claim that regional planning also owes much to the New Deal, the
conservation movement, and regional science.

The “Foundations of Regional Planning” takes up about a quarter of
the book. It’s followed by lengthy sections on planning in rural
regions and planning in urban regions. In each of these sections the
authors discuss difficulties of definition and the problems—political
and otherwise—to be encountered, and they provide examples of planning
in different parts of the country. We are told “Canada is a world
leader in metropolitan planning.” This statement seems to be based on
the fact that metropolitan planning in Canada dates from 1943, in
Winnipeg, and that there is metropolitan planning in and around almost
all of our large cities. We are not told how good we are at it.

The authors devote the last pages to the future of planning. Planning
in Canada, whether past, present, or future, surely deserves a more
readable and a more appraising book than this.


Hodge, Gerald, and Ira M. Robinson., “Planning Canadian Regions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,