Since the days of antiquity, nations have endeavored to build civilization where there is none. The history of civilization is the story of urban planning, its roots tracing back tens of thousands of years. That history lives on today, as booming populations and rapidly expanding enterprises are creating new cities by the dozens all across the globe, ushering in a colossal wave of development and rewriting maps.
Some of the earliest examples of urban planning are from India’s Indus Valley Civilization, where streets were first laid out in a grid pattern and homes were laid out around privacy and noise mitigation. In China, urban planning began in the Yellow River valley as early as 10,000 BC. Urban planning soon evolved into building planned communities, creating a city from scratch. Greeks built new cities with specific plans across the Mediterranean. Rome took the construction, scale, and scope of city planning to another level. The age of exploration and colonization exploded the number of cities. Over time, urban development has filled our maps with dot after dot. Capitols like New Delhi, Canberra, and Washington D.C. once started as an idea, were forged into reality over decades, and are now home to millions. How planned cities have evolved tells us a great deal about where urban planning and development is headed on a macro scale.