It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that Seattle and most cities in the Puget Sound region are gridded or have a relatively gridded pattern. But older cities, particularly outside of North America, often do not.

In this video, Dave from City Beautiful explains how the grid came to be the predominate urban and even rural pattern in America. The popularity of the street grid can be partially attributed to William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, who laid out his great city—and five-time national capital—in a traditional grid. From there, the design caught on like wildfire across new and old American cities alike.

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.