Feature

Most Popular Planning Articles of 2018

We crunched the numbers on all the features, blog posts, and news articles we published in 2018 to figure out which made the biggest splash with readers.
December 27, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mailboxes in Eagan, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Oksana Tysovska

Anyone who has maintained a website or blog knows that Internet traffic can be a fickle beast. Can't miss stories can go unnoticed, click bait can be ignored, and small, simple stories can get swept up in a wave of viral momentum.

Trends emerge in the aggregate, especially when publishing every day (even Christmas), all year long—60 posts every week. For Planetizen, the stories that rise to the top have several common traits: broad applicability and a "long tail" of usefulness (which attracts new visitors via search engines like Google).

When looking for trends of more specific note, one story stands out above the rest, however. On December 14, 2018, Willamette Week broke the news that an Oregon legislator was drafting legislation that ban the practice of single family zoning in the entire state of Oregon (for cities over a very small population threshold). Planetizen shared that news in the next day's news feed (a Saturday, usually the slowest day for traffic of the week), and the article immediately shot to the top of our analytics tools. Within a week, that bit of particularly juicy news ended up the most-read news story of the year, by a long shot, without the benefit of a year's worth of Internet searches or late social media shares.

There's a clear message to be interpreted from the success of the story about Oregon's prospective legislation session: people are hungry for, or greatly afraid of, changes to the dominant powers of 20th century planning. (The number of comments and social media responses lambasting the state of Oregon for banning single family housing, not single family zoning, shows how much misunderstanding still drives the public debate on the subject as well.)

It must be noted that the most popular stories don't necessarily indicate the most essential or groundbreaking news stories, discoveries, or opinions of the year. (We know that because there were many such stories among the 3,000-plus articles we published this year that didn't make into the top 30 listed here, but it will probably be apparent to you as well.)

Articles that manage to be both essential and popular are what we strive for every day. We hope you'll join us again in 2019 in making and reading more of the same.

Top Features

  1. Urban Planning Trends to Watch in 2018
  2. Top 10 Urban Planning Books - 2018
  3. The Best Planning Apps
  4. Los Angeles: Focus on Urban Design (Not Just Urban Planning)
  5. Top Planning Websites - 2018
  6. Walkable Suburbia
  7. Let Me Tell You a Story! Storytelling to Enhance Urban Planning Engagement
  8. 10 Principles Toward More Sharing and Less Sprawl
  9. How Lyft and Uber Can Fix—Not Cause—Congestion
  10. Two Popular Business Books for Planners

Top Blogs

  1. Fun Parking Facts
  2. Resumes and Cover Letters for Future Planners
  3. 16 Daily Habits to Help Improve Your Planning Productivity
  4. How Urban Planning Is Changing in the 21st Century
  5. Why We Need to Reduce Noise Levels in Cities
  6. A Non-Cyclist's Case For Bike Lanes
  7. Why Is Transit Ridership Declining?
  8. Parking Planning Paradigm Shift              
  9. How Filtering Increases Housing Affordability
  10. Autonomous Vehicle Reality

Top News

  1. Oregon to Consider Statewide Ban of Single-Family Zoning
  2. An Infographic to Explain the History of Urban Planning
  3. Which States are the Most Renter, or Landlord, Friendly?
  4. 10 U.S. Megaprojects to Watch
  5. Montreal's Bonaventure Expressway Removal and Redevelopment Earns Recognition
  6. The Rise of the NIMBY Movement, and How Homeowners Came to Own the Whole Neighborhood
  7. Mapping 25 Years of Urban Expansion
  8. Equity and Mobility: A Comic Treatment for Transportation Professionals
  9. Acknowledging the Emotional Abuse Facing Planners
  10. Study Finds More Reasons to Worry About Airbnb's Effect in the Housing Market

For comparison's sake to previous years, see also similar lists from 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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