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Layout and Level Plan of the Royal City of Prague

The late 19th century saw the beginnings of industrial development, primarily in the Smíchov, Karlín, Libeň and Holešovice districts. People started to migrate to the capital from the countryside in search of work and Prague began to grow. Soon, however, social problems such as water supply and transportation had to be addressed. The response

to this was the first Prague regulatory plan in 1889 – the Layout and Level Plan of the Royal City of Prague.


1893 saw the approval of the Plan of Redevelopment Areas, one of the foundations for the extensive reconstruction of Prague’s centre that continued until the
First World War. The main objectives of this sanitation were an effort to convert the centre into a business and administrative district of European quality, but most importantly to improve hygiene conditions. It was in this period that the majority of the Jewish Town was demolished, while conversely Pařížská street was established in the style of the French boulevards.

Ideal Greater Prague by Max Urban

During the period from 1915 to 1917, architect and urbanist Max Urban designed a utopian vision of the city, known as the Ideal Greater Prague. The document contributed to the popularisation of urban planning for Prague. It was also one of the first documents to offer a comprehensive solution for the entire city area. The Ideal Greater Prague was based on strict symmetry and a geometric layout, and emphasised public open spaces. Common features were wide boulevards or generous circular squares. However, the vision presented in this document was totally independent of the historical development of the city and its existing buildings.

State Regulatory Commission

The creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 brought major changes to Prague. What had been more like a provincial city rapidly began to transform into the country’s cultural and administrative centre. In 1920 the State Regulatory Commission for the Capital City of Prague and its Environs was established. This was the first specialised agency dealing with urbanism in Prague. Its main mission was to ensure the uniformity of building development in Prague and its environs and, in particular, to draft a regulatory and building plan.

Greater Prague

In January 1922 an additional 37 outlying towns and suburban municipalities were attached to Prague (Staré Město and Nové Město, Malá Strana, Hradčany, Josefov, Vyšehrad, Holešovice-Bubny and Libeň). Some of these were already major towns (e.g. Vinohrady with a population of 83,000). The name Greater Prague was used for the new administrative unit. This was an important step in terms of urban planning, because architects could now plan the city as a whole, with a unified appearance and interconnected infrastructure.

First Regulatory and Building Plan for the Capital City of Prague

The creation of a comprehensive regulatory plan for Prague was one of the main objectives of the first professional agency to deal with urbanism in Prague –
the State Regulatory Commission. Architectural competitions were held for different parts of the city. Despite the major difficulties it faced, the State Regulatory Commission did, in 1929, complete its Schematic Regulatory and Building Plan
for the Capital City of Prague. However, it was never approved because too many objections were raised by individuals and city districts.


During the Second World War, the former State Regulatory Commission was replaced by the Protectorate’s Planungskommission für die Hauptstadt Prag und Umgebung. After five years of work, this commission mainly
left behind transport and urban studies, but had not managed to draft a comprehensive city plan. Its output was primarily academic and idealistic in nature. One of the largest projects put forward by the commission was
a north-south artery to be crossed by a wide boulevard leading from Vítkov to náměstí Republiky. The north-south artery was finally completed in the nineteen-seventies. Another detailed project was for what was referred to as the “Severní Město” or Northern City, which was the prototype for today’s Bohnice housing estate.

Planning Commission for the Capital City of Prague

After the end of the war, in the spring of 1945 the commission began to operate under the Czech name Planning Commission for the Capital City of Prague and its Environs. Its mission was first to carry out the post-war restoration of buildings. After the coup in February 1948 it was instructed by the Communist government to develop a master city plan that would meet the new political requirements. The commission’s members mainly focussed on transport issues. They combined a number of older projects, such as the Petřín road system and the north-south artery, with the first proposal for an external ring-road. Yet this plan was never adopted either, and the Planning Commission was abolished when the administrative regions were established in 1949, and urban planning tasks were taken on by a department of the same name in the Central National Committee.

Prague City Development Plan Office

Throughout the nineteen-fifties Prague, unlike other industrial cities, remained outside the government’s main focus of interest. Despite this, the independent Prague City Development Plan Office was established in 1951
to address in particular issues relating to transport and housing. The draft Master City Plan, which was intended to transform Prague into a socialist city, was approved in the nineteen-sixties. The Prague City Development Plan Office also earned its place in the history of Prague because the State Institute for Reconstruction of Historical Towns and Buildings commissioned it to carry out a historical survey of the buildings of the centre

of Prague. This is still an invaluable resource for research on the city’s architectural development.

Office of the Chief Architect of Prague

In 1961 the Office of the Chief Architect of Prague (ÚHA) was established, employing teams of architects, transport engineers, demographic analysts and surveyors. The city plan from 1952 was finally completed under the banner of this department. The final draft of the plan was approved by the government in 1964. During the nineteen-sixties and nineteen-seventies, Prague expanded to incorporate several dozen municipalities – with the first twenty joining in 1968 and, six years later, another thirty. This increased the territory of Prague to its current almost 500 km2. Since the beginning of the nineteen-seventies, this department has been based in Martinický Palace in Hradčanské náměstí.

City Development Authority Prague

After 1989 the Office of the Chief Architect of Prague was seen by the public as a product of the socialist system. In July 1994
it was thus divided into two organisations: the City Development Authority Prague (ÚRM), responsible for developing the city plan, and the Spatial Planning Section for Prague City Hall, which issued zoning decisions under delegated powers. The first post-revolution master plan for Prague, referred to as the Land Use Plan for the Capital City of Prague, was approved in the summer of 1999. To date, up to 3,000 amendments have been proposed for it. In 2007 the City Development Authority Prague moved from Hradčany to the “Pragerovy kostky” (Prager’s Cubes) at the Emmaus Monastery, where it remains today. In 2012 Prague City Council withdrew the new master plan that had been prepared and decided to commission a new land use plan, the Metropolitan Plan, under a new assignment.

Prague Institute of Planning and Development

In 2013 the City Development Authority Prague was transformed into the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague). The aim is to restore Prague to its place among the most advanced European capitals. New conceptual agencies were established – the Metropolitan Plan Office and the Public Space Office. Their common objective is to return an emphasis on the quality of life to urban development. High-quality urban planning and governance requires clear and open communication and cooperation with the city’s districts, the professional and the general public and other stakeholders. Because of this, the organisation of seminars and workshops for city districts and the organisation of exhibitions, discussions and lectures for the public are an integral part of IPR Prague activities.