Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

First Advisor

William V. Davidson


In 1912, five residents of Charleston, South Carolina purchased 5,000 acres of land in the area called "the Neck," a marshy and pestilential portion of the peninsula connecting the City of Charleston with the balance of South Carolina. On this property these leaders, tied to the progressive spirit sweeping America and the effort to create the New South, planned a new city called North Charleston. The 1,000-acre city was to be a complete community, with industrial, commercial, and residential activities to serve a population of 30,000 residents. An adjacent 4,000-acre tract was planned as an agricultural development to revitalize farming in the South Carolina lowcountry. It was hoped that the huge development would propel the Charleston economy into the forefront of the New South and reestablish the city's prominence in the North American system of cities. This work traces the emergence of city planning in North America and particularly in the South during the Progressive Era. Two key movements, the City Beautiful and the Garden City, which both complemented and contradicted each other, come together in the planning of North Charleston as well as other new cities in the American South between 1912 and 1930. The goal was to bind together the South's traditional agrarian economy with the growing industrial economy of the early twentieth century by creating a new urban form, the New South Garden City. Subsequent planned cities that built on the tradition first expressed in North Charleston included Kingsport, Tennessee, Farm City, North Carolina, Clewiston, Florida, and Chicopee, Georgia. Historians of urban planning and urban geographers have generally neglected planning in the South during this period. Clearly, however, there was considerable activity in the creation of new urban places in the South. In creating the New South Garden City, its visionaries drew on an ideology of progress and an ideology of agrarianism, a contradiction that contributed to the halting growth of these new urban places. Though these cities did not develop as planned, the New South Garden City nevertheless represents an important contribution to the dynamic urban geography of North America.