Clarence Perry

Clarence Perry

Clarence Arthur Perry (1872-Sept 6, 1944[1]) was an American planner, sociologist, author, and educator. He was born in Truxton, New York. He later worked in the New York City planning department where he became a strong advocate of the Neighborhood unit. He was an early promoter of neighborhood community and recreation centers.

He began his education as a student of Stanford University for two years then finished his degree at Cornell University in 1899. He was married to Dr. Julia St. John Wygant in 1901 with which he had one daughter. In 1904 he continued at the teachers college of Columbia University. From 1904-1905 he served as principal of the Ponce High School in Puerto Rico then became a special agent for the United States Immigration Commission from 1908-1909. During the summer of 1912 he served as lecturer at the New York University. During World War One he served overseas as a major then returned in 1924 as a lieutenant colonel in the reserves. As a staff member of the New York Regional Plan and the City Recreation Committee, Perry formulated his early ideas about the neighborhood unit and community life. In 1909 he became associated with the Russell Sage Foundation as associate director of recreation until 1937. His ideas were realized in neighborhoods like Radburn [2] through the work of Clarence Stein. He produced several books, many pamphlets and articles though is best remembered for his “The Neighborhood Unit,” Monograph One. Vol. 7, Regional Survey of New York and Its Environs, Neighborhood and Community Planning. New York: New York Regional Plan, 1929. and Housing for the Machine Age New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 1939.

A diagram of Clarence Perry's neighbourhood unit, illustrating the spatiality of the core principles of the concept, from the New York Regional Survey, Vol 7. 1929


  1. ^ "CLARENCE A. PERRY, RECREATION EXPERT: . Pioneer in Development of Neighborhood, Comm., New York Times (1923-Current file); Sep 7, 1944; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007) pg. 23
  2. ^

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