‘America’s Original GI Town’ Author, Gregory Randall Returns to Park Forest

Gregory Randall

Gregory Randall. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Park Forest was planned in 1946 as a GI Town to provide housing for returning World War II veterans and their families. Settled in 1948, the village became the first fully-planned post-World War II suburb. This seminal community in the suburban growth of baby-boom America has been studied and its innovative designs built upon by planners around the world. Author Gregory Randall released his definitive book on the planning of the village, America’s Original GI Town: Park Forest, Illinois (Creating the North American Landscape), in the year 2000. 

On Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. Gregory Randall will return to Park Forest to present the updated edition of his now-classic book. Copies of the book will be for sale at $24.95, with a book signing after the talk. The program, open to the general public, is sponsored by the Park Forest Historical Society, and  will be held in Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive, Park Forest, IL  60466. Information on the program is with Jane Nicoll at 708-481-4252, or at [email protected].

"Significant changes have happened to the village in the twelve years since the completion of the original manuscript," Randall says, "and I believe a new edition will help tell the story of those years."  In the second epilogue he relates the changes and  concerns  the village faces as it ages in the most challenging period in its history. 

Those who built  Park Forest used ideas from earlier planned communities, including Riverside, Illinois, Radburn, New Jersey, and Levittown, New York.  In the same post-war period, New Towns were springing up to rebuild England.  Mr. Randall’s talk will cover these other planned communities and what concepts were drawn upon in designing Park Forest.

A professional urban and community planner and landscape architect, Randall is principal and president of Randall Planning & Design. Inc. in Walnut Creek, California, and has designed over one hundred communities throughout California.   He lived in Park Forest until he was five, and attended Marion Catholic High School.  Randall is the author of other books, including fiction; and four books on the gardens of England and Scotland, co-authored with his wife, Bonnie. Randall’s bibliography can be seen on his website,

The Park Forest Historical Society is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2010-2011.  It operates the 1950s Park Forest House Museum at 141 Forest Blvd.  Information on the museum, membership, and on the mission of the society can be seen at