Brainstorm: Who Are the Top Urban Thinkers?

Planetizen is creating a list of the most important people who have shaped urban places, and we want to know what you think. Vote on people nominated by the Planetizen community, or suggest your own. The polls close September 7.

2 minute read

August 6, 2009, 5:00 AM PDT

By Planetizen

Planetizen is pleased to announce a new crowdsourcing experiment to rank the most influential urban thinkers of all time. Using our online polling system, users get 15 votes to nominate their own choices and vote on the choices of others. On Sept. 14th, we'll release the official results of the Top 50 Urban Thinkers poll. We've thrown in a small handful of ringers to get the conversation started.

The polls close September 7.

Whenever we put together a list such as this, there is inevitably controversy. First is the question of what we actually mean by the "top" urban thinkers. What about Le Corbusier (below), who remains an influential figure in architecture but has been labeled Enemy Number One by urban planners? Like Time Magazine,we've left the definition deliberately vague to encompass those who've had the most influence on the way we think about cities and/or how cities are shaped, for better or for worse.

We invite you to be creative and suggest urban planners, architects, artists, or everyday people. Author Upton Sinclair, for instance, would be a legitimate choice for his work as a muckraker and social activist in the city of Chicago. Reaching back to historical figures like Vitruvius or figures outside of the Western canon is also highly encouraged. Have fun, and as another Chicagoan once said, vote early and vote often.


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