Poll: Who Are the Most Influential Urbanists?

The world has changed since Planetizen crowdsourced its "Top Urban Thinkers" in 2009. Which urban planners, designers, doers, and dreamers do you think have had the most influence on the world?

August 21, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By Planetizen


Rosa Parks, Jane Jacobs, Frederick Law Olmsted

From left to right: Rosa Parks, Jane Jacobs, and Frederick Law Olmsted. | Credits: Ebony Magazine/ New York World-Telegram & Sun/ T. Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

[Update: Voting is complete, and the 100 Most Influential Urbanists are available for viewing.]

Planetizen is rebooting the "Top Thinkers" crowdsourcing experiment last conducted in 2009. This time, however, we're broadening the discussion to survey our audience on their opinion of the "Most Influential Urbanists." Urbanists are more than just thinkers—they're designers, doers, advocates, contrarians, and, yes, planners.

We invite you to think radically about your nominations. Environmentalists and musicians are two examples of the kind of non-traditional urbanists who perhaps should be included on this list. Outsiders, artists, and citizens going about their daily lives have certainly had tremendous influence on the way we think about cities and how cities are developed, and their contributions should be recognized. An exemplary nominee might have contributed to the future of cities by choosing a better seat on the bus (like Rosa Parks did), or inventing the term "gentrification" (like Ruth Glass did).

When Planetizen last published the "Top Thinkers" list in 2009, Jane Jacobs ran away with the vote, but women and people of color were largely unrecognized through the nominations and voting process. We hope that this time around we can do a better collective job of representing the diversity of the field, its history, and the communities where we all live and work.

If you have nominations, please send an email to [email protected], with the subject line "Influential Urbanists." Also feel free to join the discussion with @planetizen and by using the #topurbanist hashtag on Twitter. We'll release the official results of the "Most Influential Urbanists" poll, and let the voting commence, during the first week of September.

Rosa Parks being fingerprinted by Deputy Sheriff D.H. Lackey after being arrested for boycotting public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama during February 1956. (Image: Associated Press, via Wikimedia Commons)

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