The Most Popular Urban Planning Articles of 2020

The most-read news, features, and blogs on Planetizen in that year that was 2020.

December 28, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell


Los Angeles and Coronavirus

StoopDown / Shutterstock

Every year, Planetizen combs through analytics from 365 days of news, opinions, and analysis to produce a list of the most-read articles the year. Usually, looking back at the year in the aggregate reveals a few trends that could come as a surprise.

2020 was different, obviously, so there probably aren't a lot of surprises here. The intersection of planning and the public health crisis became obvious almost simultaneously with the announcement of stay-at-home orders, shutdowns, and plummeting transit ridership of the early days of the pandemic. Throughout the year, Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid kept us current with the ways public health professionals called the shots (or got shot down), and the Planetizen audience demonstrated a repeated desire to get public health news and analysis from this planning site.

I remember very clearly the first email I received from a reader about what the pandemic would mean for the future of communities and planning, and we haven't let up with the interrogation since. We're likely to be interrogating the assumptions and complications arising from the pandemic for years and even to come, and Planetizen will publishadditional in-depth analysis of how the pandemic has influenced the theory and practice of planning very soon.

Planetizen uses Google Analytics to track traffic to the site throughout the year. We used the Pageviews metric, which accounts for repeated views, to rank the popularity of these articles. There are always a few articles with staying power across the years that could have been included on this list, but this list is created for insight into relevance to developments, news, and ideas generated in the past year. For a reminder of the before times, see also the list of most and least popular articles of 2019.

This editor admits to wondering in March if there would be much planning during the pandemic. Turns out, there was more than enough. No, really. That's enough, 2020.

Feature Articles

  1. The Top Urban Planning Books of 2020
  2. Urban Planning Trends to Watch in 2020
  3. Top Urban Planning Websites – 2019
  4. The Top Urban Planning Books of 2019
  5. The Villages and the Dangers of Holding Too Tightly to the Past
  6. Jan Gehl on 60 Years of Designing Cities for People
  7. Twitter for Urban Planning
  8. Urban Planning Resources for COVID-19
  9. The Stage for Trump's Racist Tweet: The Villages, Florida
  10. I Have Spent My Career Advocating for Fair Housing. It's Good to See Obama's Rule Go.

Blog Posts

  1. Debating the Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
  2. Dollar Stores and Grocery Stores
  3. 4 Urban Planning Fails We Need to Correct in 2020
  4. Planners and Pandemics: Identifying Problems and Providing Solutions
  5. Violence Against Black Americans a Moment of Reckoning for the Planning Profession
  6. 4 Predictions for Urban Planning Post-Coronavirus
  7. Lessons from Pandemics: Comparing Urban and Rural Risks
  8. Lessons from Pandemics: Transportation Risks and Safety Strategies
  9. 3 Cities That Will Thrive Post-Pandemic—and 2 That Might Struggle
  10. 4 Urban Analytics and Modeling Trends to Watch in 2020

News Articles

  1. And the Best City for Bicycling in the U.S. Is...
  2. Mississippi Governor First to Preempt Local Stay-at-Home Orders
  3. Census Information for Rental Property Owners
  4. Reopening Main Street
  5. Tampa Closes Streets to Open Outdoor Space to Restaurants
  6. Georgia Feud Over Mask Mandates May Not Be What it Seems
  7. Texas County First in Nation to Issue Second Stay-at-Home Order
  8. What's So Special About Oregon and Utah?
  9. Massive Widening Planned for Interstate 10 in Maricopa County
  10. Planned Highway Widening Requires Eminent Domain in Southern California
Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.