The development of city life in the Graeco-Roman world was a long and complex process of which town planning forms an early and integral part. The Romans and indeed the Etruscans made valuable and independent contributions to the development of urban planning. The individual contributions of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans are placed within the ‘wider framework of a single organically developing tradition’. Whilst such an evolutionary development is undoubtedly true in general terms, the development is not smoothly progressive and the basic distinctions and differences between the contributions of the Greeks and the Romans should not be lost. Such distinctions are illustrated by Greek and Roman attitudes to what might be termed ‘visual planning’. Whereas the Romans at times created artificially ordered townscapes, the Greeks retained a sense of plasticity and spontaneity in design, which was seen to be characteristic of their whole way of life.