Arts & Crafts: A Forgotten Legacy of Richard Ely

Article authored by:

Ron Thomas, FAICP

Ron Thomas has been a Lambda Alpha member for nearly 20 years. First in Chicago where he served as executive director of the regional planning agency, Northeast Illinois Planning Commission and then in Atlanta from 2010 when he relocated to Athens, GA to serve on faculty at the College of Environment and was chair of the Oconee Rivers Planning Commission from 2011-16. For 20 years he directed his planning firm located in Washington DC; and then became an associated principal with Jones and Jones in Seattle. He continues as a practicing consultant urban planner and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He has edited the APA Regional Planning Journal and is working on a book on Arts & Crafts era planning, a subject of personal interest for over 40 years. In 2007 the Ely Chapter of LAI awarded him their Harry Chaddick Distinguished Public Service Award.


Richards Ely’s ideas and the work of Arts & Crafts planners provide insight and principles for dealing with the land, its use and development with issues we read, hear or listen to in the daily news such as this sample shows:

  • "Why $4.5 Billion From Big Tech Won’t End California Housing Crisis.”
  • "The Suburban Office Park, an Aging Relic, Seeks a Comeback.”
  • "Bulldozing America’s Shrinking Cities.”
  • "Why Has Globalization Led to Bigger Cities?”
  • "The Great American Single-Family Home Problem.”
  • "Why Workers Without College Degrees Are Fleeing Big Cities.”
  • "Why Corporate America Is Leaving the Suburbs for the City.”

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