© 2019

The Ancestry of Regional Spatial Planning

A Planner’s Look at History


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. The Past of Regional Spatial Planning

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 3-25
    3. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 27-52
    4. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 53-80
    5. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 81-108
    6. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 125-151
  3. A View from the Present

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 155-165
    3. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 167-187
    4. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 189-207
    5. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 209-227
    6. Louis C. Wassenhoven
      Pages 229-239
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 241-249

About this book


This book is not a historical or archaeological treatise, but rather a study in which the author looks at the past, not as a historian, but as a planner who has the ambition to unravel the early manifestations of his discipline; a discipline which did not exist as such in remote periods, but the ingredients of which were nevertheless present. The author has observed the past equipped with knowledge and understanding of what regional planning was in the second half of the twentieth century and still is. He stands in the period of the first decades after the Second World War, which were the formative years of regional planning, and looks back at bygone ages. He discusses ideas and literature from the immediate post-war period in order to examine the ancestry of regional planning through their lens.

The book will attract a broad range of readers because of its approach and its wide coverage of historical periods and world regions. Although Europe is the main focus, the book contains material on all continents and all periods, the ancient world, the medieval age and the modern era. The history of Urban Planning is taught and researched widely, but the history, or pre-history, before the twentieth century, of Regional Spatial Planning is not. This book will fill that vacuum.


Urban and regional planning history Organisation of space and land-use Historical population distribution and re-distribution Spatial re-construction transportation infrastructures Town and urban networks

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.AthensGreece

About the authors

Louis C. Wassenhoven is Professor Emeritus (Urban and Regional Planning), National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London), a Postgraduate Diploma in Planning from the Architectural Association School of Architecture (London), an MA in Architecture (NTUA) and a Certificate in Town Planning (Ministry of Housing, France). Apart from his career at NTUA, where he was the director of the Laboratory of Regional Planning and Urban Development, he has taught as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at the Development Planning Unit, Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning (University College London) and as visiting teacher in other universities. He has served as chairman of the Greek National Council of Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, as chairman of the Steering Committee of the Joint Activity on Urban Management of OECD, as vice-chairman of the Greek State Scholarships Foundation, as member of the board of the company Hellinikon s.a. (Management and Redevelopment of the site of the former Athens international airport), and as member of the council of the Technical University of Crete. He is a past member of the British Royal Town Planning Institute and a member of the Association of Greek Urban and Regional Planners. He is the author of two books (in Greek) on Territorial Governance and Maritime Spatial Planning and of a number of articles and papers in Greek or English. He wrote the volume on Greece of the EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies.. 

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


“This impressive original book bridges a major gap in literature on planning history and indeed prehistory, when planning was not even named yet as an activity or discipline. … Louis Wassenhoven thus offers a mesmerizing account on the ancestry of regional spatial planning even before it was named, but also a forceful statement on the functions of history as past and its importance in forecasting the future, or rather our multiple futures.” (Lila Leontidou, European Planning Studies, Vol. 28 (12), 2020)