Branch, Melville C. 1913-2008 (Melville Campbell Branch)

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Branch, Melville C. 1913-2008 (Melville Campbell Branch)


See index for CA sketch: Born February 16, 1913, in Richmond, VA; died of heart disease, February 11, 2008, in Pacific Palisades, CA. Urban and corporate planner, educator, municipal official, and author. Branch was one of the first people to earn a doctorate in the newly emergent field of regional planning in 1949. As such, he served as a leader in the field for the rest of his life. He spent his career synthesizing principles of architecture, engineering, and public well-being into the subfield of urban planning. Branch researched and designed his projects literally "from the ground up" whenever possible, but he began his research at the top, using aerial photography to study the potential ramifications of urban growth on the surrounding land forms. Branch spent nearly ten years as a corporate planner for the technology firm of Thompson Ramo Wooldridge (best known as TRW) and several more years as a member and officer of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission. His longest affiliation was with the University of Southern California, where he taught planning from 1966 to 1993. He also taught at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California at Los Angeles. Concurrently he consulted with land developers about the impact of their plans on the surrounding land (resource management) and people (noise pollution, transportation, and public health). Branch wrote or edited more than two-dozen books over five decades. These include City Planning and Aerial Information (1971), Planning Urban Environment (1975), An Atlas of Rare City Maps: Comparative Urban Design, 1830-1842 (1997), Comprehensive Planning for the 21st Century: General Theory and Principles (1998), and The Planning Imperative and Human Behavior (1999).



Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2008, p. B11.