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Adams, Thomaslocked

(10 September 1871–24 March 1940)
  • Michael Simpson


Adams, Thomas (10 September 1871–24 March 1940), city and regional planner, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of James Adams and Margaret Johnston, dairy farmers. Educated in Edinburgh, he married Caroline Weierter in 1897; they had five children, two of whom, James Adams and Frederick Adams, also became distinguished planners. Farming, local Liberal politics, and writing were followed by the secretary-managership (1903–1906) of Letchworth, the first garden city, a new town intended to combine the advantages of town and country without the disadvantages. After a spell as Britain’s first planning consultant, Adams became its first planning inspector (1910–1914) and founded the Town Planning Institute (inaugural president, 1913–1914). “Justly looked up to as the head of the profession in Britain,” he served as town planning adviser (1914–1921) to the Canadian Commission of Conservation, promoting the British mode of controlling future urban development by provincial legislation, publicity, planning education, research, model communities, and the Town Planning Institute of Canada (founder-president, 1919–1921). After 1919 the collapse of Canadian progressivism compelled him to seek fresh opportunities in Britain and the United States via a transatlantic planning practice. He made numerous regional plans in the United Kingdom, introduced the American profession of landscape architecture, virtually founding the Institute of Landscape Architecture (president, 1937–1939), and remained the foremost advocate of planning in Britain....

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