Planetizen Turns 8: A Look Back
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.
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
- Urban Renewal Through Private Communal Gardens
- HUD and Export-Import Bank Sign Agreement
- Methane at LA's Playa Vista: Real Problems or Just Gas?
- Pasadena's Raymond Theater: Preserve or Develop?
- States Ranked By Education
- California Water Policy Under Attack By Environmental Groups
- Curitiba-Style Busway Along LA's Wilshire Blvd Rejected
- Bechtel Invests in "Mortar" Infrastructure to Succeed in New Economy
- Lawsuit Over Wood-burning Fireplace Ban
- Attorney Robert Wyman Discusses LA's Pollution Credit Program
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2000
- Oregon Learns A Hard Lesson by Richard H. Carson
- Economic Gardening by Chris Gibbons
- Los Angeles' Vision for Neighborhood Empowerment by Bill Christopher
- Why Measure Smart Growth? by Stan Ross
- California's Housing Policies Create Slums by Anthony Downs
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
- Ten Cheapest Places To Live
- World's Best Tap Water
- The Best Places To Retire
- Kunstler Predicts The End Of Tall Buildings
- The Real Information Superhighway
- Ten Cities With The Worst Commute
- Jane Jacobs Reviews New Urbanism
- The Worst Town In The Nation
- Why The World Trade Center Towers Collapsed
- Atlanta Transit In Acrimonious Battle
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2001
- The Future Of Cities: The Absurdity of Modernism – An Interview with Leon Krier by Nikos Salingaros
- New Urbanist Proposals For Rebuilding The World Trade Center edited by Laurence Aurbach Jr.
- The End Of Tall Buildings by James Howard Kunstler and Nikos A. Salingaros
- The Worst Streets In North America by Jim Colleran
- AICP: Does Planning Certification Matter? by Richard H. Carson
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
- Ten Cheapest Places To Live
- Top 25 Safest And Most Dangerous Cities
- Top Five Most Diverse Cities
- Top Ten Great College Towns
- The Least Affordable Place To Buy A House
- Top Five Cities To Buy A Home
- Top Five Housing 'Bubble' Cities
- Fight Sprawl, Or Learn To Live With It
- Urban Growth: The Next Generation
- The Nation's Newest Big City
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2002
- Conventional Rail vs. 'Gadgetbahnen' by Michael D. Setty and Leroy W. Demery, Jr.
- Housing in 'Smart Growth' Cities: Is It Really Worth The Cost? by Randal O'Toole
- The Segway: A Pedestrian Friend or Foe? by Andy Clarke
- Keeping The 'Town' In College Town by Bob Karrow
- Why New Urbanism Fails by Chris DeWolf
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?
- Tango: A Homemade Electric Car
- Best Places To Live
- The Next American City
- Least Affordable States And MSA's In The U.S.
- Nation's Healthiest Cities
- America's Top 'Brain-Gain' Cities
- Water Supply A Mirage In Phoenix
- The Thriving Non-Cities Of America
- Can America's Biggest Mall Be Saved?
- Ten Principles For Successful Development Around Transit
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2003
- Zoning Without Zoning by Michael Lewyn
- Is That A Load-bearing French Fry? by Rick Bishop, AICP
- Secret Geography by Adam Rogers
- Goodbye Car, Hello Bus by Christian Peralta
- Behind Enemy Lines at the Anti-Smart Growth Conference by Joel S. Hirschhorn
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.
- Poorest U.S. Cities
- City Management, Urban Policy Programs Ranked
- Friday Funny: Map Of Homer Simpson's Hometown
- Friday Funny: London Underground Games
- Why Sidewalks Alone Don't Make A Walkable Community
- Portland's Skinny House Competition
- Humor: Laughing With Us Or At Us?
- Prefab Housing Reinvented
- The Emergence Of Geoportals
- Wal-Mart At Teotihuacan Opens
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2004
- Taking a Lesson in Math to Limit Urban Sprawl by Chris Fiscelli
- Toward a Science -- and Art -- of Better Places by Michael Mehaffy
- Comparing Sprawl In U.S. And Canadian Cities by Patrick Condon
- We Can No Longer Afford to Give Away Highway Lanes to Carpools and Low-Emission Vehicles by C. Kenneth Orski
- Why Smart Growth Needs New Urbanism and Vice-Versa by Joel S. Hirschhorn
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 Sustainable MBA Programs
- Los Angeles' Smog: The New Threat to Public Health
- Exurbs Are Dead, Long Live The Exurbs
- The Desert House: The Latest In Steel Prefab Homes
- Unsupportable Affordable Housing: Most Expensive Places To Live
- Atlanta's Beltway Plan Revealed
- Personal Rapid Transit For Heathrow Airport, Dubai Financial Center
- Google Offers Free Satellite Imagery
- Vancouver, BC: The World's Most Livable City?
- Driving Costs Escalate With Stockholm's Congestion Tax
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2005
- Ten Common Sense Rules For TOD by Bruce Liedstrand
- Thoughts On Rebuilding (And Not Rebuilding) New Orleans by Jason Henderson
- Car-less in the Eye of Katrina by John Renne
- From NIMBYs To DUDEs: The Wacky World Of Plannerese by Ric Stephens
- LucasWorlds: Urban Planning and Design in the Star Wars Epic by Jack Skelley
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
- The 'Katrina Cottage' For Sale At Lowes?
- Growth Is Squeezing Out Rural Life In Arizona
- Minnesota Governor Vetoes Transportation Bill
- For FEMA, The Katrina Cottage Is A No Go
- Caracas, Venezuela: 'The New Leftist Mecca'
- Nation's Safest And Most Dangerous Cities
- Coming Soon: The World's Largest Airport And 'Logistics City'
- Honda Puts Greensburg, Indiana On The Map
- Worst Real Estate Markets In The U.S.
- The Angriest Cities In America
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2006
- Pedestrians Lost In The New Suburbia by Diana DeRubertis
- How Cities Compete In The Media Economy by Neil Takemoto and Mike Lydon
- Can The U.S. Learn From The Slow City Movement? by Heike Mayer and Paul L. Knox
- Urban Fables: The Role Of Storytelling And Imagery In Successful Planning Movements by Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP
- The Price Of Parking On Great Streets by Donald C. Shoup, FAICP
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
- Massive Flooding Drowns Online World
- The Ugliest City In America - The People, That Is
- Las Vegas Could See Shipping Container Homes Soon
- The Most Affordable Places To Live
- Metro Atlanta Population Hits Five Million
- The Best Cities For Artists -- And Real Estate Investors
- Metro Atlanta Tops U.S. Population Growth
- The Great Global Warming Swindle Video?
- The World's Cleanest City
- Rent Control: Tenant's Dream, Landlord's Nightmare?
Notable Planetizen Op-Eds from 2007
- When A McMansion Isn't Large Enough by Sriram Khe
- Beyond Moses and Jacobs by Neil Smith and Scott Larson
- A Browner Shade of Green: The New Water Rules and the Next Chapter of Sprawl by Lisa Nisenson
- Removing Urban Freeways by Charles Siegel
- Sustainability: Planning's Redemption or Curse? By Michael Gunder, PhD
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.