Thomas Adams was born on a farm outside Edinburgh and and moved to London as a journalist. He became secretary to the Garden City Association and the first manager of Letchworth Garden City. In 1914 he became a founder member of the Town Planning Institute and later served as President of the Institute of Landscape Architects from 1937-39. From From 1923 to 1930 he was the director of the New York Regional Plan. His sons became prominent planners J. W. R. Adams was the planner for Kent, and F. J. Adams led the planning program at MIT.