Sketches from the Urban Internationale, 1910–50: Voluntary Associations, International Institutions and US Philanthropic Foundations


The international town planning milieu forms an intriguing web of people, books, exhibitions, congresses and ideas. Exploring it can add to our nationally oriented understanding of the ways in which the urban scene was conceived in the twentieth century. This article aims to place this exploration in the wider context of the ‘Urban Internationale’ the sphere dedicated to the declensions of ‘urban issues’ such as town planning, housing and urban government. It suggests that the Urban Internationale can be structured around three areas of focus: voluntary associations, international institutions and the big US philanthropic foundations. The development of those areas and the relationships between them shaped the way in which ‘urban issues’ were defined and treated.