Chris Steins's blog

Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

A Vision for LA's New Web-Based Zoning Code

For the first time since 1946, Los Angeles is completely revising its zoning code. Urban Insight, the team behind Planetizen, is pleased to be part of this project. One of our key goals is to create a modern web-based version of the zoning code.

Urban Planning Gift Ideas For Children (Your Budding Planner)


Legos, trains, blocks and books -- I'm certain my interest in urban planning was spurred by playing with toys like these that involved building and understanding how things work. With twin 5-year old boys at home, I'm intimately acquainted with the latest in toy trucks, games and DVDs for budding urban planners. I've gathered some of the best here, properly field tested by my boys, to help you with your holiday shopping list.

Brder MB Garbage TruckBruder MB Garbage Truck ($55)

LA Planning Department's First Public Participation Webinar

The City of Los Angeles Department of Planning and Department of Transportation held a first-ever public online participation webinar Thursday, July 20, 2010. The city used the opportunity to experiment with web conferencing technology, and will survey participants after the event to evaluate the success of the experiment.

A webinar is a web conference, where participants can access a virtual meeting using a computer, and Internet connection. Participants access a website to see the presenter's computer screen, and also listen to the presenter through the computer's speakers, or using a telephone.

Do You Read These Planning Magazines?

I'm frequently asked for recommendations for good planning magazines. As editors of Planetizen, we come across a staggeringly impressive and diverse array of web-based content. But sometimes there is nothing quite like browsing a good magazine in y

Exploring Web 2.0 in Urban Planning

Last year I had the opportunity to teach a graduate course on "Web 2.0 for Policy and Planning" at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning & Development.

Although I am co-teaching a different class this year, I have updated my course website with a revised course syllabus and extensive reading list on Web 2.0 and planning, based on what I learned from teaching the course in Spring, 2009.

Top 10 Free Web Applications for Planning


I had the opportuntity, at the 2009 national planning conference in Minneapolis, to present (together with my colleague Christian Peralta Madera) ten free web applications that can be used to support planning.

Approximately 350 participants attended the session. Since the presentation, I've received over 100 emails congratulating us on the practical nature of the presentation, and requesting links to the websites we presented. Since our presentation was a hands-on demonstration, this blog entry outlines the ten technologies, and provides links to examples of the technology in practice and resources so you can experiment with the technologies.

Obama, Web 2.0 and Planning


What can we as planners learn from president-elect Barak Obama's use of technology?

President-elect Obama has been an early adopter of Web 2.0 technologies both in his campaign and the transition to the White House. It is likely that the Obama administration will continue to use Web 2.0 technologies to both engage the public in determining policies and to make government operations more transparent.

As planners, there are a lot of great tools and techniques that we can use in the planning processes. Here are some of the tools that the Obama team have used that could be used in planning.

Five Funny Planning YouTube Videos

As the summer winds down, here are a list of the five funniest urban planning videos I've found on YouTube over the years, covering news for Planetizen.

Live From Vegas: Millennial Planners, Activist Planners, & The CE Soap Opera

Las Vegas Strip I'm at the Paris Hotel on the Vegas strip for the 100th annual American Planning Association (APA) conference, which started Saturday, and runs through Thursday, May 1. The conference offers 300 sessions and 60 mobile workshops to the approximately 5,000 participants.

And it's going to be a crowded week, if the 30-minute line for coffee this morning in the Paris boulangerie is any indication.

Infrastructure matters; Planners should be politically active.

Bandwidth-Oriented Development

//www.telegeograph.com)So how do you permit and build a 4,000-mile undersea communication cable system? And why do we care?

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