Planetizen Turns 8: A Look Back

June 9, 2008, 9am PDT | The Planetizen Team
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For the past eight years, Planetizen has been tracking all the news and issues in the world of urban planning, design and development. In honor of our eighth anniversary, we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest news stories, ideas and events of the past eight years.

Image: We're 8 Years Old!
Each and every week, Planetizen publishes sixty news summaries. That adds up to nearly 25,000 articles since the website was founded in June of 2000.

Top News and Issues By Year
Click on a year to look back at the big stories and issues happening in the world of urban planning.

The first story ever posted on Planetizen looked at the planning and construction company Bechtel and its position at the leading edge of physical infrastructure needed by Internet companies to store their hardware. The stories that followed would become a steady stream of news used by thousands of planners around the world to stay up-to-date on issues in areas like land use, transportation, housing, economic development, and more.

As you browse these stories, bear in mind that many of the links to the original source articles have expired.


In Planetizen's first year, many of our stories were focused on California issues (mainly due to our Southern California location). And while there's always a lot to talk about in greater L.A., we quickly saw the need to branch out and cover stories from all over the U.S. and the world. From water woes to transit plans to election issues, our first year laid the foundation for our editorial direction.

Most Popular Stories of 2000

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2000


As we're all aware, Sept. 11, 2001 changed the way the United States perceived itself. The changing identity of America was reflected in the way we talked about planning, from James Howard Kunstler's observation that the age of the skyscraper was at an end to an engineering analysis of why the towers collapsed. But even with 9/11 fresh in our minds, the top story of 2001 (and our most popular story of all time!) is much more prosaic- a look at the Ten Cheapest Places to Live.

Most Popular Stories of 2001

Top Ten Planning Issues of 2001

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2001


More than any other, 2002's top stories list is dominated by, well, top ten lists! The value of these lists can be questionable, and many Planetizen readers are quick to point that out. But even with all the griping, city rankings are always a popular read. Who can resist finding out which cities are the "Most Dangerous"? And what planner worth their salt doesn't love digging into the criteria and complaining about shoddy statistics-gathering? These lists will always be thought-provoking, a little maddening, and make us think about cities in a different way.

Most Popular Stories of 2002

Top Ten Planning Issues of 2002

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2002


Most Popular Stories of 2003

People who think about planning issues are always ahead of the curve when it comes to the issues that impact our world. Back when today's oil crisis was years away, Planetizen readers were captivated by a homemade electric car named Tango. We were also thinking about high-level concepts like principles for successful development and the impact of young talent on the health of a city. And of course, we continued to be seduced by lists of the "Best Places to Live". CNN says Middleton, Wisconsin?

Top 10 Planning Issues of 2003

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2003


Most Popular Stories of 2004

Apparently by 2004 we were all ready to blow off a little steam. Our "Friday Funny" feature, bringing you the odd and unusual from the world of planning and development, dominates this year's top ten. The Onion hit us where it hurts in their article, "Urban Planner Stuck in Traffic of Own Design," and we pored over a map of Homer Simpson's Springfield (in a state that is deliberately left mysterious). Meanwhile, shivers are heard across the Internet as Wal-Mart opens a store at Teotihuacan.

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2004


Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, leaving many to wonder about what kind of a future the legendary city would have. There was a lot of news coverage of the disaster, but even more discussion and speculation amongst planners. A number of Planetizen op-eds focused on what would and should become of the Crescent City, while most of the popular news was tinged with new major developments and the rise of technology in planning.

Most Popular Stories of 2005

Top 10 Planning Issues of 2005

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2005


News about the hurricane now known only as Katrina continued to dominate the news and even increased in 2006 when planners from all over the country became interested in if, how and when the city would come back. 2006 also brought us the infamous Kelo decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, and the death of beloved urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Most Popular Stories of 2006

Top Planning Issues of 2006

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2006


In 2007, the effects of Katrina faded from prominence, but the connection of increased natural disasters due to global warming stayed front and center. As the world became more aware of sustainability issues, the role of planners came to the forefront. Even so, we pushed our controversial open-door editorial policy with articles like "the Great Global Warming Swindle Video". Meanwhile, 2007 saw more of the same selection of great articles on urban planning, transportation, and infrastructure.

Most Popular Stories of 2007

Top Planning Issues of 2007

Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2007

2008 and Beyond...

As we've done for the past eight years, Planetizen will continue to track the news in the field of urban planning, design and development. It's hard to say what the most popular and interesting stories will be for 2008, but there will be plenty to read and much to learn in the meantime.

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