In the early 1990’s Randall began exploring the relationship of Park Forest and American community planning. He learned that the two are intricately woven into the psychic of Americans, post-World War II growth, and suburban expansion. During the early growth of his new planning and design firm he researched and wrote what has become the definitive story of the Village of Park Forest, Illinois; the seminal community in the suburban growth of baby-boom America. Originally published in 2000 by Johns Hopkins University Press, the new edition of his book, America’s Original GI Town, Park Forest, Illinois, is being released as a new edition in the fall of 2010 (Windsor Hill Publishing).
Gregory C. Randall was born in the summer of 1949 in Traverse City, Michigan to a very young couple, and during the following years with brothers and sisters added, his journalism father and housewife mother moved and moved, always bettering the family’s financial condition. In the early 1950’s the family found Park Forest, Illinois, where Randall was raised. Dad was the quintessential Organization Man, commuting every day the thirty miles to Chicago’s Loop by train. Always a drawer and sketcher, Greg Randall studied architectural and industrial design at Kent State University and completed a B.S. degree in landscape architecture, with honors, at Michigan State University. In the space of a month he graduated, married his college sweetheart, packed up the car and trailer and moved to California, vowing to never to look back. From 1971 until the present (2010), he has worked as a professional urban and community planner and landscape architect. His work in the Bay Area of California as well as in other regions of the United States involved him with many of the best planned communities in the region. Since 1993 he has served as principal and president of Randall Planning & Design, Inc. in Walnut Creek, California, a landscape and urban planning firm that specializes in large-scale master planned residential communities. He has designed over one hundred communities throughout California. He is still married to his sweetheart, now for almost forty years, and together they have started numerous businesses, written four books on the gardens of England and Scotland, sit on non-profit boards, and been involved in national business associations. They are owners of the Windsor Hill Publishing Company located in Walnut Creek, California. Mr. Randall has had a lifelong interest in the history of planned communities in the United States and Great Britain.
Greg is also a fiction writer whose scribbling’s fall into the categories of mystery/detective and literary fiction. In the fall of 2010 his first book in the Sharon O’Mara Chronicles 4 Death, Land Swap 4 Death, series will be published by Windsor Hill Publishing and hopefully, later in the year or early next year, his literary story of a youngster’s coming of age and awareness in the summer in 1956, Elk River, will be added to the catalog – watch for these releases.
Randall lives and works in Walnut Creek, California with his wife Bonnie. When not writing or designing cities, he devotes his time to the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek (one of the western United States best succulent and sustainable gardens). He is currently beginning to write the story of the garden and develop a pictorial biography of the garden, its plants, and the awakening relationship of water conservation and this unique genre of plants.
About the Release of the Second Edition - 2010
The initial research and work for this book was done between 1994 and 1998. Through the editorial efforts of George F. Thompson and the Center for American Places, the manuscript and artwork were published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 2000. The release was reasonably successful for an academic book of this type and was released as a paperback edition in 2005. Significant changes have happened to the village in the twelve years since the completion of the original manuscript and the author believed that a new edition would help to tell the story of those years. The second epilogue is his attempt at placing before the interested reader those changes and concerns that the village has as it ages into the most challenging period in its history. Cities never grow up, they are never finished: they only age, react, change, and hopefully survive, so that someday a new author will recognize the value and importance of this small village on the Midwest prairie just an hour south of Chicago and continue its story.