Case Studies: How Planning Students Can Find Interesting Projects Online

Ann Forsyth's picture

Planning students are often interested in finding examples of planning practice, particularly good examples. Several free online sources list projects that have won awards or been the subject of magazine articles. While winning an award doesn't mean a project is perfect, such projects are typically m some of the more interesting examples of planning. 

The World Habitat Awards database includes projects from around the world Projects must include housing but are typically multifaceted. Nicely written case studies of winners are accessible through the online database This really is a terrific source.

The Great Places Awards sponsored by EDRA, Places magazine, and more recently Metropolis magazine, include categories for design, planning, research (in this case very applied), and books. Winners in the planning and research categories are most likely to be relevant. All are listed at The cases are not very detailed but they provide a starting point for more investigation.

The APA awards are also a useful resource with past award winners listed online: Case studies are short but more recent award winners often have additional information available on web sites.

Finally, Progressive Planning, the magazine of Planners Network, is free to non-members after a year and even recent issues have some articles free Archives are at A good issue for cases is one on Progressive Community Design at To find the PDF scroll to the bottom of the page.

My earlier blogs on famous plans (, and famous places ( also list relevant links.

Ann Forsyth is professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.



New case study toolkit for western communities - SCOTie

The Sonoran Institute and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy developed a database of case studies called the Successful Communities Online Toolkit information exchange (SCOTie). The toolkit features case studies from communities in the Intermountain West on a variety of issues including: smart growth, climate adaptation and mitigation, and natural resource protection issues. Students are welcome to send in case studies for inclusion in the toolkit. Bylines will be given to accepted case studies. The toolkit is located at

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