June 04 2012

Top 20 International Urban Planning Websites 2012: Giants of Urban Planning Online

Wondering where urban planners around the world get their news, where they are spending their valuable time, and where you should be looking too? The Grid scoured the Internet, and using Alexa International Rankings, found the 2012 – Top 20 most popular urban planning-related websites. Whether they are non-profit, for-profit, or hobbyist sites, we found them. Now, get your browse on; the sites are ranked in order of greatest popularity.

1. Planetizen / http://www.planetizen.com / @planetizen

planetizen home pagePlanetizen is by-far the authority of urban planning. Since 2000, Planetizen has continued to develop itself as the single source for urban planning news, commentary, interviews, event coverage, book reviews, announcements, jobs, a variety of ‘top’ lists, consultant listings, online training and courses, and much more. They cover a wide array of planning issues and cater to an audience of professional urban planners, developers, architects, policy makers, educators, economists, civic enthusiasts, and others from all around the world. Planetizen is the urban planner’s one-stop shop.

2. Sustainable Cities Collective / http://sustainablecitiescollective.com / @sustaincities

sustainable cities collective home pageSustainable Cities Collective is a editorially independent, and moderated community created with the generous support of Siemens AG. Sustainable Cities Collective provides unique and aggregated content related to urban planning, sustainable development, and urban economics, among other issues. They cover the fields of building and design, planning, resources, populace, economy, and transportation. While they rely heavily on aggregated content, they also have almost 30 contributing featured bloggers, which you could join the ranks of.

3. UN-HABITAT / http://www.unhabitat.org / @UNHABITAT

un-habitat home pageWhat could be the most obvious international resource for urban planners? The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, started in 1978 when most of the world was still rural and didn’t come into full fruition until between 1997 and 2002, when major priorities such as sustainable urban development were realized. Today, the UN-HABITAT organization and website serve as the international agency to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. Their themes include environment and climate change, information and monitoring, land and housing, risk and disaster management, social inclusion, urban development and management, urban economy and financing shelter, and water & sanitation infrastructure. They also host a slew of annual events, including the World Urban Forum.

4. Project for Public Spaces / http://www.pps.org / @PPS_Placemaking

project for public spaces home pageProject for Public Spaces (PPS) is an internationally recognized center for best-practices, information, and resources about Placemaking. Project for Public Spaces, founded in 1975 (they are no newcomer to placemaking), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create vital community places that build local value and serve community needs. Not only does PPS provide a great wealth of information regarding placemaking on their blog, and training programs, but they also offer a variety of services to get your place, made; placemaking plans, city-wide strategic plans, capacity building and cultural change, architecture of place, public markets, and transportation.

5. The American Planning Association / http://www.planning.org / @APA_Planning

american planning association home pageThe American Planning Association (APA), created in 1978, is an independent nonprofit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. The APA website offers job and consultancy listing opportunities, outreach, continuing education, events (including annual national and regional conferences), membership information, and planning chapters so you can get involved locally. They also offer opportunities to read up on their reports regarding career development within the sector, and salaries.

6. Urban Land Institute / http://uli.org / @urbanlandinst

urban land institute home pageThe Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a nonprofit research and educational organization supported by its members. The institute’s initiatives are focused on emerging land use trends and issues; proposing creative solutions based upon their research findings. Their work encompasses a variety of sectors within the industry, including resort and residential, retail and destination development, office and industrial development, transportation and parking, and real estate finance & capital markets. It is no wonder that this organization has reached international acclaim online; fostering strong country-specific and district offices around the world. You can join this international organization too, or learn more by purchasing the ULI magazines, books, or signing up for one of their professional development courses.

7. BLDGBLOG / http://bldgblog.blogspot.com / @bldgblog

building blog home pageFrom our top ten list, this is the only website that is not non-profit or for-profit status; writing for writing itself, that is. The BLDGBLOG, or Building Blog, written by Geoff Manaugh, and published by Future Plural, started in 2004. The blog, sans advertising, focuses on the intersection of architectural conjecture, urban speculation, and landscape futures. All three of these ideas are expressed throughout this frequently updated blog. Aside from authoring BLDGBLOG, Geoff Manaugh, was Senior Editor of Dwell Magazine in his past life and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, Director at Studio-X NYC, and Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine. This guy has his plate full, but still has the time to update this blog several times per week.

8. This Big City / http://thisbigcity.net / @thisbigcity

this big city home pageThe only website in our top ten that caters to a language other than English, This Big City, founded in 2009, is an award-winning social media movement encouraging the discussion of sustainable cities. Their urban trends, ideas, and analysis are shared in both English and Chinese (published by Leonard Chien) websites. The blog covers areas of architecture, planning, culture, transport, bicycle, and tech + design. Starting in 2012, This Big City started a monthly series of tweechats at #citytalk. #citytalk topics have included The Economics of Sustainable Cities, The Changing Face of Housing, Urban Identity, Cycling Cities, and Future Cities. While it was founded by Joe Peach three years ago, it now features content from urbanism writers and organizations around the world. This Big City has won several awards, including Best Blog Post at the Sustainability Now Social Media Awards, and in 2011, two awards from the Be2 Awards. No wonder it is an international rising star!

9. Cyburbia / http://www.cyburbia.org / @cyburbia_forums

cyburbia home pageCyburbia is the oldest online source for those interested or involved in shaping the built environment. Established online in 1994 (wondering what that first webpage looked like?), Cyburbia is a participant-driven community which relies heavily on their extremely active message board; it boast of more than 580,000 post to-date (check this post’s date). Along with urbanism-related featured articles, images, member blogs, and aggregated content, they also offer inexpensive opportunities to post urbanism and planning-related jobs and announcements. Only $20, for either, is a deal compared to their competition! Aside from their banner Google Ads, they are as close to spam and toll-free that you can get.

10. Next American City / http://americancity.org / @NextAmCity

next american city home pageNext American City is a nonprofit organization that began by publishing a quarterly magazine in 2003; aimed at connecting cities and informing people who work to improve them. The magazine eventually spawned the Next American City website and many conferences around the United States. Starting in 2012, they ceased publication of the magazine and went entirely digital. They now publish a weekly long-form journalism product called Forefront; available by subscription, in addition to a daily blog. Forefront can be subscribed to at a rate of $17.88/year, $1.49/month, or you are able to purchase stories on an individual basis for $1.99. Their daily blog remains free of cost. And, of course, they accept donations to keep their servers running.

They are climbing our list, but couldn’t quite reach the top ten. Here are those that are sure to become larger international stars in the future:

11. The City Fix
12. Streets Blog Network
13. DIY City
14. Planning Resource
15. Human Transit
16. The Canadian Institute of Planners
17. Living Streets
18. Arcosanti
19. Congress for the New Urbanism
20. Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

We know that there are so many other urban planning websites and blogs out there, so who do you think should be in this list – that we missed?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Renée van Staveren

Renée van Staveren is the Founder of Global Site Plans. She holds a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also holds a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. Prior to establishing Global Site Plans and The Grid, Renée van Staveren was an Assistant Planner for A-M-M-A Transit Planning and the Program Director for Planet Green. You can find Renée blogging about featured environmental design firms, providing free website critiques, local events in Istanbul, Turkey, plus helping you achieve industry distinction through innovative discussions. Renée currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey; adding to the list of places she has traveled and lived.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 4th, 2012 at 9:49 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Housing, Infrastructure, Internet Marketing, Land Use, Renée van Staveren, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design, Website Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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5 Responses to “Top 20 International Urban Planning Websites 2012: Giants of Urban Planning Online”

  1. Mitchell Says:

    The Humanitarian Space is a blog dedicated to the role of urban planning in conflict cities and complex environments. With a particular focus on Aghanistan and Somalia, the site explores urban planning issues within the most challenging conditions.

  2. Top 20 International Landscape Architecture & Landscape Design Websites 2012: Giants of Landscape Architecture Online | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] June 4, 2012 we released the Top 20 International Urban Planning Websites 2012, and on June 11, 2012 the Top 20 International Architecture Websites 2012. Now it is Landscape [...]

  3. Everlyne Says:

    I would like to find an online resource with published urban planning and built environment books, which I can pay to read online

  4. Leke Oduwaye Says:

    This is really an excellent urban planning resource centre.

  5. Jepranshu Aganivanshi Says:

    Though just a starter in the blogging community, this blog deals with the ever increasing complexity of the modern urban settlements and emphasises on the urban progression, how planners and others involved in the various planning exercises have generally misread and miss-interpreted the actual senses of the place of human habitat.

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