The Greatest Grid


Learning Resources

Before the Grid

Students will analyze the print McSpedon & Baker Five Points, 1827 to note how New York City life was depicted during the 19th century and to understand the impetus behind city planning.

The 1811 Plan

Students will analyze elements of the Commissioners's Plan of 1811 to understand how the street plan provided a framework and articulated the vision for the grid.

Building the Grid: From Paper to Street, Block and Lot

Students will study the Randel Maps to understand how the island was surveyed and prepared for the implementation of the street plan.

19th-Century Development

Students will analyze the print The March of Modern Improvement to debate the progress of the Grid and resulting changes.

Modern Reforms, 20th Century - Now

Students will compare and contrast three photographs, ranging from aerial to street views, to note how the grid developed the city's landscape.

Living on the Grid

Using a series of quotes spanning the 19th to 21st centuries, students will encounter the various changing attitudes planners had about the grid and will reflect on how the grid affected development above and below ground.

Other Grids

Students will compare and contrast the grid plans for New York City, Washington D.C., Savannah, and Philadelphia to understand how street plans provide information about a city's infrastructure as well as a sense of place.