John Reps, a renowned historian of urban planning whose work has deeply influenced generations of architects and urbanists, will posthumously receive the 2021 Henry Hope Reed Award. This is given annually to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art.
“Many people espouse the virtue of learning from our past, but John Reps was a rare individual who undertook the serious research to unearth buried treasure in the form of original materials related to exactly what made the design of these admired cities and towns so successful,” said Richard H. Driehaus, founder and chairman of Chicago-based Driehaus Capital Management LLC. “Furthermore, Reps not only ensured this information was shared widely, he personally taught so many aspiring urban planners, designers and architects. He has an enduring legacy.”
The jury citation reads, “The work of Reps is integral to the understanding and practice of architecture and urbanism today. The results of his extraordinary scholarship and urbanist advocacy have inspired two generations of designers and are quietly embedded in their buildings and places throughout the United States and around the world.”
After receiving a bachelor of arts in 1943 from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in 1947, Reps studied in England for several years at the University of Liverpool and the London School of Economics, before returning to Cornell as a faculty member in 1951. Perhaps best known for his iconic book, The Making of Urban America (1965). He was the prolific author of more than a dozen books on the history of American Urbanism, as well as the owner and publisher of Historic Urban Plans. In recognition of his status as the father of modern American city planning history, in 1996 the American Planning Association designated him a Planning Pioneer.