Planning Takes Center Stage in Broadway-Bound Musical

Liisa Ecola reviews “If/Then”, a new musical that follows the personal and professional paths chosen by professional planners. There's a good chance this will be the first Broadway musical to feature a heroine who has a PhD in city planning.

1 minute read

November 13, 2013, 1:00 PM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"I settled in my seat for If/Then, which opened November 5 at Washington’s National Theater, with both anticipation and trepidation," writes Ecola. "By intermission, though, I couldn’t stop babbling about how much I loved it."

"The show’s title reflects the vagaries of chance, and the plotlines follow [actress Idina Menzel] through two possible lives — 'Liz' takes a less ambitious job (disappointingly for this transportation planner, working for the MTA is considered second-class) but finds love, while 'Beth' accepts a position overseeing a high-profile waterfront redevelopment project and goes on to great success, but remains single. Both lives bring joys and sorrows; neither is entirely satisfactory."

"City planning, on the other hand, was presented as unequivocally inspiring."


Monday, November 11, 2013 in DC.Streetsblog

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wind turbines and solar panels against a backdrop of mountains in the Mojave Desert near Palm Springs, California

California Grid Runs on 100% Renewable Energy for Over 9 Hours

The state’s energy grid was entirely powered by clean energy for some portion of the day on 37 out of the last 45 days.

6 hours ago - Fast Company

Close-up of hand holding up wooden thermometer in front of blurred street

New Forecasting Tool Aims to Reduce Heat-Related Deaths

Two federal agencies launched a new, easy-to-use, color-coded heat warning system that combines meteorological and medical risk factors.

7 hours ago - Associated Press via Portland Press Herald

View of Dallas city skyline with moderately busy freeway in foreground at twilight.

AI Traffic Management Comes to Dallas-Fort Worth

Several Texas cities are using an AI-powered platform called NoTraffic to help manage traffic signals to increase safety and improve traffic flow.

April 24 - Dallas Morning News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.