The Most Popular Urban Planning Articles of 2020

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

Read Time: 3 minutes

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

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee

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