Urban Fold

Will the Neil deGrasse Tyson of Planning Please Stand Up?

Do you have to be a “plannerd” to think planning is cool? Is there a planner alive who can bridge the divide between the mysteries of planning and general public interest? One writer dares to hope.
Sarah Elliot / Flickr

“How many well known Urban Planners can you name off the top of your head?” asks Patrick McDonnell.

“I’m an Urban Planner, and I can’t even name five. Not because I don’t know any, because urban planning is about as sexy as fountain maintenance — no offense to fountain maintenance workers.”

Inspired by Amanda Burden’s recent TED talk, as well as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Ship of the Imagination” on the television show Cosmos, McDonnell makes an impassioned plea to spice up planning.

It’s not too big a stretch to imagine that people might find planning interesting, says McDonnell: “Urban Planners design cities for a living. We define how land is used. We take massive systems of people and create ways for them to use the city including everything from transportation, to living, to entertainment, to public spaces, to climate change, to food systems and everything that makes cities run. This shit is cool!”

Full Story: Why We Need A ‘Neil deGrasse Tyson’ of Urban Planning

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