The Most Popular Articles on Planetizen in 2021

The most-read news, features, blogs, and Planopedia posts on Planetizen in 2021.

December 31, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell


Large numbers of young people, some wearing and masks and others note, walk around an outdoor shopping mall in Southern California.

Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

365 days seemed both like 730 days and 182.5 days. Everything seemed new, and everything got old. 2021 was one doozy of a year. 

Planetizen has already devoted 6,000 words, spread across two "year in review" articles (Part One and Part Two) trying to make sense of how the surreality of life during the pandemic relates to the realities that are planning's bread and butter. 

Here we'll get down to brass tacks: These are the articles, published in 2021, with the most pageviews throughout the year—a combination of direct traffic; referrals from search engines, aggregators, social media, and emails; and repeated visits.

Feature Articles

  1. Key Details of the $1.2 Trillion Federal Infrastructure Bill (November 15, 2021)
  2. The Top Urban Planning Books of 2021 (November 26, 2021)
  3. Top Websites for Urban Planning – 2021 (October 25, 2021)
  4. Suburban Revival: How the 21st Century will Redefine Life Outside the City (November 7, 2021)
  5. The Surprisingly Important Role of Symmetry in Healthy Places (March 8, 2021)
  6. Planning Trends to Watch in 2021 (January 30, 2021)
  7. It's Time for Public Participation to Evolve With Transportation Planning (November 15, 2021)
  8. The Perils of Central Planning for Parking (May 26, 2021)
  9. Biking's Billion-Dollar Value, Right Under Our Wheels (July 12, 2021)
  10. Why NFTs Matter to Urban Planning (April 14, 2021)

Blog Posts

  1. Electric Cars Won't Solve Climate Change (March 9, 2021)
  2. When Wall Street Controls the Housing Market (April 7, 2021)
  3. The Housing Supply Debate: Evaluating the Evidence (May 13, 2021)
  4. Housing First; Cars Last (January 7, 2021)
  5. The Roadway Expansion Paradox (November 28, 2021)
  6. A Critical Review of "Sick City: Disease, Race, Inequality and Urban Land" (March 25, 2021)
  7. You're in Charge of the U.S. DOT; Where Do You Start? (February 8, 2021)
  8. The Beginning of Housing Reparations (June 30, 2021)
  9. Deep History, Ancient Wisdom, and Modern Planning (November 14, 2021)
  10. Planning for New Mobilities: Preparing for Innovative Transportation Technologies and Services (June 30, 2021)

News Articles

  1. CDC: Time to Rethink Herd Immunity (November 21, 2021)
  2. Phase 1 Revealed for $20 Billion Chicago Megaproject (October 19, 2021)
  3. Amtrak's Proposed 'Corridor' Expansion, Explained (February 11, 2021)
  4. Finding New Uses for the 'Vine That Ate the South' (April 25, 2021)
  5. Eric Adams Opposes Large Brooklyn Apartment Development (July 11, 2021)
  6. Los Angeles County First to Recommend Resumption of Indoor Masking (July 6, 2021)
  7. City of Compton Introduces Two-Year Guaranteed Income Pilot (January 14, 2021)
  8. The Problem With Housing Choice Vouchers (October 11, 2021)
  9. 2020 Population Growth Rates for the 50 Biggest U.S. Cities (June 4, 2021)
  10. Army Corps Rescinds Permits for Massive Master Planned Community in Arizona (July 12, 2021)


  1. What is White Flight? - 'White flight' refers to the exodus of white Americans from central cities to suburbs in the early and mid-20 century, a phenomenon which led to declining tax revenue and business closures that created lasting damage to urban neighborhoods.
  2. What Is a Central Business District (CBD)? - A central business district (CBD) is a geographic area sometimes referred to as downtown, but with key distinctions critical to an understanding of city and regional planning.
  3. What Is Floor Area Ratio? - FAR defines development intensity and determines numerous other regulations and development outcomes.
  4. What Is Market Rate Housing? - Market-rate housing is a term that indicates the kind of existing buildings or proposed developments that result from the market and regulatory environment, without any special subsidies or legal compensation.
  5. What Is Regional Planning? - Regional planning addresses planning issues that cross local jurisdictional boundaries, like transportation or watershed protection. In other examples, regional planning offers a holistic approach to the interconnected systems and dynamics that shape physical and cultural landscapes.
  6. What is Single-Family Zoning? - Single-family zoning refers to zoning policy that restricts development in an area to single-family homes.
  7. What Are Le Corbusier's Towers in the Park? - Part of a movement that sought to modernize cities through a rational reorganization of the urban form, "Towers in the Park" is a style of housing development that emphasizes a separation of uses and access to communal green space and amenities.
  8. What Is By-Right Development? - A by-right approval (also known as an as-of-right approval) is granted when a development proposal strictly conforms to zoning and building codes and, thus, qualifies for construction without requiring discretionary approval.
  9. What Are Zoning Codes? - Local governments use zoning codes to define what can and cannot be built. While comprehensive plans and other kinds of plans lay out a vision for the future, zoning codes offer the legal tools to implement that vision.
  10. What Is the City Beautiful Movement? - Known for grand buildings and sweeping green spaces, the City Beautiful movement combined philosophy and architecture into a powerful planning ideology that still drives urban design into the present day.

In case you're curious for more of what the Planetizen audience thinks, here's a look at the same list in 2020.

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

A silhouette of construction workers lowering larger numerals into place to form 2022.

Planning Trends to Watch in 2022

Building a framework of understanding for the year to come.

January 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Houston, Texas

A Market Urbanism Manifesto

In his new book on market urbanism, Scott Beyer describes market urbanism and to compares it to the status quo.

January 11, 2022 - Michael Lewyn

U.S. Department of the Interior

Navajo Leaders: Renewable Energy Transition Must Account for Equity

Native American leaders in the Southwest want to ensure their communities have a voice, and an opportunity for well-paying jobs, in renewable energy projects on Native land.

January 19 - High Country News

Self-Driving Shuttle

Optimism for Autonomous Shuttles Despite Recent Setbacks

Two autonomous shuttle companies closed last week, but one industry observer sees reasons for optimism for the long-term viability of the still-speculative market.

January 19 - Forbes

Aurora, Colorado

Mobile Social Services Address Gaps in Suburban Colorado

In the Denver suburb of Aurora, nonprofits are using 'mobile public spaces' to reach refugees settling in the autocentric community.

January 19 - The Brookings Institution

Planner/Senior Planner

City of St. Marys


Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger

Long Range Land Use Planner

PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc.

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

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.