Grady Clay 1916 - 2013

Grady Clay

Grady Clay’s lifetime passion for journalism has strengthened the collective image of the urban landscape. He was editor of Landscape Architecture magazine from 1960 through 1985 and also worked as urban affairs editor for the Louisville Courier-Post and authored the book Close-Up: How to Read the American City.

Among New Urbanist insiders, he is best known for a prescient 1959 article in Horizon Magazine, "Metropolis Regained," that critiqued the hollow, highway-connected contemporary vision of the city and described an inchoate rediscovery (primarily among journalists and critics) of the timeless traditional view of the city. In words described as “eerily similar" to the Charter of the New Urbanism, which followed more than 35 years later, Clay defined the principles of a group he identified as New Urbanists.

“We believe in the city, they would say, not in tearing it down. We like open space, but hold that too much of it is just as bad as too little. We want that multiplicity of choice that the city has always offered, but is now in danger of losing,” wrote Clay. “I can only say that all great movements start in murmurs and that I can hear murmurs.”

In 2008, Clay was honored with the Congress for the New Urbanism's Athena Medal in Austin, joining a select group of world-renowned urbanists for his contributions to the field. His contributions to urbanism will long be remembered. Grady Clay passed in Louisville, Kentucky on March 17, at the age of 96.


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