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Vote for the Most Influential Urbanists
Update: The final list has been published.
A few weeks ago, Planetizen put out a call for nominees for the title of "Most Influential Urbanist," and via Facebook, Twitter, and email, our audience produced almost 200 nominees.
We added an extra layer of consideration to the request: that the 2017 version of this crowdsourcing activity reflect the diversity of the many related fields of urbanism—both in demographic considerations like age and gender, and also in the many forms that urbanism can take. In doing so, we hoped to produce a list of nominees that broadens the discussion about what it means to influence the future of cities and communities.
There again, the audience delivered, and the list below is much more inclusive than our previous effort at crowdsourcing a list of "Top Urban Thinkers." It's clear that the Planetizen audience is ready to change the focus of the urbanism discussion.
Now for the fun part. We have created a survey that allows anyone and everyone to rank the "Most Influential Urbanists" from the following list of nominees. Here are a few suggestions as you do so: After clicking the link below, you'll see a Survey Monkey form with all of the names shown below. Please select only the names that you strongly believe should be included on a list of "Most Influential Urbanists." After you select these nominees, you'll have a chance to rank them in order. If you see a name on the list that you aren't familiar with, or one that you feel strongly should not be on the list, leave them off your selections. If you believe urbanism should have strict definitions, or that some characters in history have received more credit than they should, your omissions are the way to express those opinions.
Meanwhile, we hope the list below will serve as a continued resource for people to explore new ideas and historic practice of urbanism. Even the most seasoned and studied urbanists out there will find something new to learn from exploring the list and digging further into the history and accomplishments of the 200 nominees listed below.
Update: The final list has been published.
Jane Addams - (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) Known as the "mother" of Social Work.
R. John Anderson - Co-founder and principal for Anderson|Kim Architecture + Urban Design.
Christopher Alexander - Architect and design theorist, regarded as the "father" of the pattern language movement. Co-author of the 1977 book A Pattern Language.
Saul Alinsky - (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) An American community organizer and writer and an early adopter and champion for many of the practices of modern community organizing.
Zaheer Allam - An advocate for energy and urban systems in Africa and the Small Island States. Co-founder of the Plateforme Citoyenne.
Donald Appleyard - (July 26, 1928 – September 23, 1982) An urban designer and theorist, teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. Author of the book Livable Streets and, along with Allan Jacobs, the paper "Toward an Urban Design Manifesto."
Allison Arieff - Editorial Director at the SPUR think tank and a contributing columnist to the New York Times. A leading voice on planning, design, and the tech industry.
Edmund Bacon - (May 2, 1910 – October 14, 2005) An American urban planner, architect, educator, and author. Served as executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949 to 1970, earning the nickname "The Father of Modern Philadelphia."
Harland Bartholomew - (September 14, 1889 – December 2, 1989) An American urban planner during the rise of the automobile, who pioneered many of the techniques for what is now called comprehensive planning.
Jean-Michel Basquiat - (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) An American artist, who began his career as a graffiti artist in New York City, helping to popularize the medium.
Edward Bassett - (February 7, 1863 – October 7, 1948), "The Father of American Zoning" and one of the founding fathers of modern-day urban planning, Bassett wrote the comprehensive zoning ordinance adopted by New York City in 1916.
Catherine Bauer - (May 11, 1905 – November 21, 1964) A prominent public housing advocate. Author of Modern Housing.
Eddie Bautista - Now the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), Eddie Bautista is community organizer and urban planner and former director of the Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs.
F. Kaid Benfield - Former director for sustainable communities for the National Resources Defense Council and high profile author, writing at numerous urbanism publications and authoring several books.
Walter Benjamin - (July 15, 1892 – September 26, 1940) A philosopher famous for theories of aesthetics. Benjamin also focused academic inquiry on the concept of the flâneur.
Scott Bernstein - Co-founder of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a non-profit organization committed to sustainable development and livable urban communities.
Alfred Bettman - (1873 – 1945) One of the key founders of modern urban planning, bolstering the case for zoning by supporting the side of Euclid in the landmark Supreme Court case of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. and leading the creation of the first comprehensive plan in the United States: the City Plan for Cincinnati.
Michael Bloomberg - Michael R. Bloomberg is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who served three terms as the mayor of the city of New York, during a time of innovation in city government and placemaking efforts in the nation's largest city.
Earl Blumenauer - The U.S. Representative for Oregon's 3rd congressional district, Earl Blumenauer is one of the federal government's most ardent supporters of alternative transportation, through public transit and bike infrastructure, as well as sustainability initiatives.
Hazel Borys - Managing principal of PlaceMakers, LLC and a leading advocate for the principles of New Urbanism, especially as realized through zoning reform.
Roberta Brandes Gratz - A journalist, urban critic, lecturer, and author, Gratz co-founded the Center For the Living City and authored The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, among other accomplishments.
Ben Brown - A former newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, who now advocates for New Urbanist-style community and regional planning.
Carrie Brownstein - A founding member of the band Sleater Kinney, long identified with the Pacific Northwest music scene and third-wave feminism. Brownstein's role on the show Portlandia has popularized satire of urban bohemian lifestyles, especially in the city of Portland.
Dan Burden - A leader in innovative transportation planning, working in the past as Florida's first state bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and as a co-founder of Walkable Communities, Inc. Burden is currently director of innovation and inspiration at Blue Zones, LLC.
Daniel Burnham - (September 4, 1846 – June 1, 1912) An American architect and a towering figure in the history of American planning, thanks to his work in co-authoring the Plan of Chicago. Burnham also contributed to plans for cities like Cleveland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts - President of the State University of New York at Old Westbury and pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the city of New York.
Peter Calthorpe - Founder of the award-winning firm of Calthorpe Associates, Calthorpe is also one of the founders and the first board president of the Congress of New Urbanism.
Geoffrey Canada - An American educator, social activist and author. Since 1990, Canada has been president of the Harlem Children's Zone in Harlem, New York. Canada has been repeatedly recognized as one of the most ambitious and accomplished leaders working for social good in the urban arena.
Rachel Carson - (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) An American marine biologist, author, and conservationist. Carson's book Silent Spring is credited with bringing environmental advoccy to a new level of public awareness.
Jimmy Carter - The 39th president of the United States, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and a tireless champion of Habitat for Humanity.
Majora Carter - An American urban revitalization strategist and public radio host from the South Bronx area of New York City. Carter's work focuses on inclusion and sustainability.
Manuel Castells - A Spanish sociologist especially associated with widely cited research on the information society, communication, and globalization.
Horace Cayton, Jr. - (April 12, 1903 – January 21, 1970) A prominent American sociologist, newspaper columnist, and author, specializing in studies of working-class black Americans. Cayton Jr. co-authored the seminal study Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City.
Candi CdeBaca - Co-founder and co-executive director of Project VOYCE, founder and member of the Cross Community Coalition, and founder and principal of Rebel Soul Strategies.
Ildefonso Cerdá Suñer - (December 23, 1815 – August 21, 1876) A Catalan Spanish urban planner who designed the 19th-century "extension" of Barcelona called the Eixample.
Charles, Prince of Wales - A frequent commenter on matters of the built environment, Prince Charles is an advocate of neo-traditional ideas, such as those of Christopher Alexander and Leon Krier. Prince Charles illustrated his ideas on the built environment during a 1984 attack on the British architectural community in a speech given to the Royal Institute of British Architects, in which he described a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle."
Henry Cisneros - Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, from 1981 to 1989—the second Latino mayor of a major American city and the city's first since 1842. Cisneros also served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the administration of President Bill Clinton.
Carol Coletta - A senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice, Coletta is leading a proposed $40 million collaboration of foundations, nonprofits, and governments to demonstrate the benefits of a civic commons. Former vice president of community and national Initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and president of ArtPlace.
Le Corbusier - (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965) Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was a pioneer of modern architecture and planning. The "towers in the park" concept that emerged from his Radiant City Plan was adopted in cities around the United States.
Mick Cornett - The current mayor of Oklahoma City, which has exemplified downtown revitalization in recent years. Mayor Cornett supported the $800 million MAPS 3 ordinance that funded parks, urban transit, and wellness centers, and is perhaps most famous for leading a public health campaign to inspire Oklahoma City residents to lose a collective one million pounds.
Jose Corona - Currently the director of equity and strategic partnership for the Mayor's Office in the city of Oakland. Previously worked as chief executive officer of Inner City Advisors (ICA).
Joe Cortright - Joe Cortright is president and principal economist for Impresa, a consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, innovation, and industry clusters. Joe Cortright is a frequently cited source on subjects of urbanism in his working writing and researching for City Observatory.
Paul Crabtree - Crabtree is a civil engineer who has focused his work on the integration of urban infrastructure with the principles of New Urbanism and smart growth planning.
Richard M. Daley - The longest-termed mayor of Chicago, Illinois, serving in the post from 1989 to 2011. Among other urban development-related accomplishments while in office, Daley oversaw the construction of Millennium Park.
Joshua David - President and CEO of World Monuments Fund. Prior to assuming these positions in November 2015, he was president and co-founder of Friends of the High Line.
Mike Davis - A writer, political activist, urban theorist, and historian, best known for his investigations of power and social class in Southern California. Authored City of Quartz, published in 1990.
Alfa Demmellash - Co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit that supports under-served entrepreneurs in low income urban communities to start and grow successful businesses.
Walt Disney - (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) An entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer. In 1965, Disney began development of Disney World as a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow."
Ogyen Trinley Dorje - A spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism, and claimant to the title of 17th Karmapa Lama. A leading environmentalist, who supports environmental action, and has spoken in support of international climate action policies.
Anthony Downs - A real estate finance expert, researching "smart growth," traffic congestion, and metropolitan policy for the Brookings Institution. Authored An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957).
Scott Doyon - Writer and storyteller for the cause of placemaking. Currently a principal at Placemakers, LLC. Previously a partner at Civitatis Brand Architects.
St. Clair Drake - (January 2, 1911 – June 15, 1990) A sociologist and anthropologist who documented social turmoil of the 1960s. Also established some of the first Black Studies programs in American universities, and co-authored the seminal study Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City.
Andrés Duany - An American architect, an urban planner, and a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Duany is credited with the plan and code for Seaside, the first new traditional community, the development of the SmartCode, and the definition of the rural to urban transect, among other accomplishments.
Ellen Dunham-Jones - Professor at the Georgia Tech School of Architecture and director of the school's urban design program. Authored, along with June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs.
Matias Echanove - Blogger and public figure through the blog airoots/eirut, the Institute of Urbanology, and the urbz.net collective. Works with Rahul Srivastrava.
Janet Echelman - Janet Echelman an artist famed for using art to bring a sense of wonder to public spaces. Also delivered a popular TED talk on the subject of imagination.
Rahm Emanuel - The current mayor of Chicago, serving in the position after a career in politics, including a stop as the chief of staff for President Barack Obama. Mayor Emanuel's stances on issues like development, schools, and policing have been controversial at a key moment in Chicago history.
Amitai Etzioni - Known for his work on socioeconomics and communitarianism, Etzioni founded the Communitarian Network.
Susan Fainstein - Currently a senior research fellow in the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with past profersorships at Columbia University, and Rutgers University. Fainstein has authored and edited many books on urban theory, including Just City.
Doug Farr - Founding principal and president of Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design. Farr also founded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Core Committee and is a board member of EcoDistricts.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti - An American poet and activist associated with the Beat movement. Co-founded City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, and established the City Lights bookstore as a cultural and political hub in the city of San FRancisco.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - A pioneering hip hop group formed in the South Bronx of New York City in 1976. Their classic song "The Message" is an instantly recognizable urban manifesto.
Richard Florida - One of the world's most visible urbanists. Richard Florida authored The Rise of the Creative Class and, most recently, The New Urban Crisis. Serves as university professor and director of cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto.
Buckminster Fuller - (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) An American architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. Fuller published more than 30 books and developed numerous inventions and architectural designs, including the geodesic dome.
Theaster Gates - A Chicago-based installation artist, Gates's addresses urban planning, among other issues. Gates is also the founder and artist director of the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-served communities.
Patrick Geddes - (October 2, 1854 – April 17, 1932) A Scottish biologist, sociologist, geographer, and pioneering town planner, Geddes introduced the concept of "region" to architecture and planning and coined the term "conurbation."
Jan Gehl - An architect and urban designer famous for refocusing design and planning on the human scale. Author of Life Between Buildings; Public Spaces, Public Life; and Cities for People, among other books.
Robert J. Gibbs - President of Gibbs Planning Group. Planned Michigan’s first ten New Urban communities and form-based codes, in addition to contributing to commercial developments in more than 400 town centers and historic cities in the United States and abroad.
Dan Gilbert - The chairman and founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans Inc., Gilbert makes this list for his portfolio of downtown development investments in Detroit and Cleveland.
John Gilderbloom - Professor of urban and public affairs in the Graduate Program in Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville, and director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods.
Edward Glaeser - Economist and professor of economics at Harvard University. His book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, is a popular and widely cited reference for urban boosters.
Tyree Guyton - Practitioner of urban environmental art, working for over 30 years in Detroit's East Side on the Heidelberg Project.
Jason Hall - Bike advocate and co-founder of Detroit Bike City and the Slow Roll weekly group rides. The Slow Roll started in Detroit but has since spread to other cities around the United States.
Peter Hall - (March 19, 1932 – July, 30 2014) Professor of planning and regeneration at University College London. Also served as president of the Town and Country Planning Association and the Regional Studies Association. Considered the "father" of the enterprise zone, a policy tool subsequently adopted by countries worldwide to support economic development in disadvantaged areas.
Shima Hamidi - Transportation planner and a smart growth advocate. Director of the Institute of Urban Studies and assistant professor of Urban Planning at the University of Texas Arlington.
Robert Hammond - Co-founder and former executive director of Friends of the High Line. Most recently the producer of the documentary film, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.
Julienne Hanson - Professor at University College of London. In the 1970s, Hanson pioneered, along with Bill Hillier, the concept of space syntax.
Virginia Hanusik - A New Orleans-based artist examining the the relationship between culture and the built environment. Hanusik's most recent projects, Backwater and Impossible City, were detailed in Places Journal.
Keith Haring - (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) An American artist and social activist. Haring's art, often created in public without permission, created an instantly recognizable visual language in conversation with the New York street culture of the 1980s.
David Harvey - A theorist in the field of urban studies, geographer by training, professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and prolific author.
Georges-Eugene Haussmann - (March 27, 1809 – January 11, 1891) Commonly known as Baron Haussmann. Carried out a massive urban renewal program of new boulevards, parks, and public works in Paris commonly referred to as Haussmann's renovation of Paris.
Lawrence Haworth - Professor at the University of Waterloo. Author of The Good City and numerous widely cited articles and chapters in academic titles.
Susan Henderson - Architect and principal at principal at PlaceMakers, LLC. Leads PlaceMakers' charrette teams.
Bill Hillier - Professor at the University of London, and chairman of the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies and Director of the Space Syntax Laboratory at the University College London. Hillier pioneered, along with Julienne Hanson, the concept of space syntax.
John Hope Franklin - (January 2, 1915 – March 25, 2009) An American historian and former president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association. Author of From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ebenezer Howard - (January 29, 1850 – May 1, 1928), the originator of the garden city movement. Authored To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, published in 1898, which described a utopian city in which people live harmoniously together with nature.
Sara Ishikawa - Architect and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Specializes in people-space relationships, with particular interest experience in affordable and low income housing and community facilities. Co-author of A Pattern Language.
Kanako Iuchi - Associate professor at the International Research Institute of Disaster Resilience at Tohoku University. Expertise includes disaster management planning, urban and regional planning, and community development in international settings.
Allan Jacobs - An urban designer and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. Authored the paper, "Toward an Urban Design Manifesto," with Donald Appleyard, among other books. Also served for eight years as the director of the San Francisco Department of City Planning.
Jane Jacobs - (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) The author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs is credited with nurturing a new era of community-led planning. Famously opposed Robert Moses on some of the most famous planning controversies of the 20th century.
Jim Jarmusch - An American film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor, and composer, whose films have repeatedly dealt with protagonists navigating urban settings.
Kristin Jeffers - Founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Urbanist website, with a highly visible byline that has been featured on many other planning and urban design media outlets. Also produces the Third-Wave Urbanism podcast with Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman.
Thomas Jefferson - (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) The third president of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and an accomplished architect. Jefferson's designs for his home of Monticello and the University of Virginia campus are significant contributions to the architectural heritage of the United States, as well as influences on the federal style of architecture that survives to this day.
C. Ray Jeffery - Authored the book Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, which developed a system for designing a built environment that effectively deter criminal activity.
Bruce Katz - The inaugural Centennial Scholar at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on the challenges and opportunities of global urbanization. Served for 20 years as the vice president and co-director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and authored the book The Metropolitan Revolution, published in 2013.
Jennifer Keesmaat - Served as chief planner of Toronto from 2012 until September 2017, during which the city underwent a period of rapid growth. Keesmaat is an active participant in the planning discussion, contributing numerous editorials for local publications that argued in favor of progressive transportation planning policies.
Patrick Kennedy - Currently serving on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors and on the board of the Congress of New Urbanism. A leading proponent of walkability in Dallas and other cities in Texas.
Fred Kent - Founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, and an authority on revitalizing public spaces.
Marina Khoury - Partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and project director of Miami 21, the transformation of the city of Miami's use-based zoning code into a form-based code.
Erin Kilmer-Neel - Deputy Director of Beneficial State Foundation. Spearheaded the Shop Local movement in Oakland by founding Oakland Grown.
Michael Kimmelman - The architecture critic of The New York Times. His criticism has broadened the traditional purview of architecture criticism to include urban affairs, public space, infrastructure, and social equity.
Naomi Klein - A journalist, activist, and author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Shock Doctrine, and No is Not Enough.
Leslie Koch - President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, which recently unveiled to the public one of the largest and most ambitious urban public space projects in the United States.
Rem Koolhaas - Architect, architectural theorist, urbanist, and professor in practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Koolhaus is the author of multiple books, including S,M,L,XL, which includes an essay on urban planning titled "Whatever Happened to Urbanism?"
Joel Kotkin - A dissenting voice from the standard narratives of progressive urbanism, Kotkin is the presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism, and the executive editor of the New Geography website. Kotkin has also written several books.
Léon Krier - A leading proponent of New Urbanism and provocateur or modern urbanism. Best known for the development of Poundbury, an urban extension to Dorchester, in the United Kingdom.
Norman Krumholz - Professor in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Long-time Cleveland planning director, serving under three separate mayors, and a leading proponent of equity planning.
James Howard Kunstler - Noted author and critic of suburban development patterns, best known for the book, The Geography of Nowhere.
Pierre-Charles L'Enfant - (August 2, 1754 – June 14, 1825), A French-born American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, D.C. known today as the L'Enfant Plan (1791).
Matthew Lambert - Partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. Also a founder of the CNU Next-Gen and a member of the Transect Codes Council.
Phyllis Lambert - An architect and philanthropist, Lamber founded Heritage Montreal and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The subject of the documentary film Citizen Lambert: Joan of architecture.
Robert Lang - Executive director of the Lincy Institute and director of Brookings Mountain West at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Henri Lefebrve - (June 16, 1901 – June 29, 1991) A Marxist philosopher and sociologist, best known for pioneering the critique of everyday life and for introducing the concepts of the right to the city and the production of social space. Author of 60 books and 300 articles.
Christopher Leinberger - Research professor and chair of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, president of Locus: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, and founding partner of Arcadia Land Company. Recently a proponent of Walkable Urban Places, or WalkUPs.
Jaime Lerner - An architect and urban planner, founder of the Instituto Jaime Lerner and chairman of Jaime Lerner Arquitetos Associados. A three-time mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, during a period of revitalization that made the city renowned for urban planning, public transportation, environmental social programs, and urban projects.
William Levitt - (February 11, 1907 – January 28, 1994) A real-estate developer credited as the "father" of modern American suburbia. President of Levitt & Sons, and namesake of Levittown.
David Lewis - Professor of urban studies in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon. Lewis started one of the first hands-on educational programs in urban design. Also the founder of Urban Design Associates, one of the first community-based city planning firms, in Pittsburgh.
Charles Lindblom - Professor emeritus of political science and economics at Yale University. An early developer and advocate for the theory of Incrementalism in policy and decision-making and author of Politics And Markets, first published in 1977.
Nina-Marie Lister - Associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. Also a founding principal of PLANDFORM, a creative studio practice exploring the relationship between landscape, ecology, and urbanism.
Mike Lydon - Principal with Street Plans and a leading proponent of Tactical Urbanism. Co-author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change Vol.1-4.
Kevin Lynch - (January 7, 1918 – April 25, 1984) An urban planner and author of The Image of the City (1960) and What Time is This Place? (1972). In The Image of the City, Lynch posited a theory of paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks that is referenced implicitly or explicitly in many planning and design efforts of the current day.
Charles Marohn - Founder and president of Strong Towns, a news and commentary website and a popular portal for advocacy on issues of planning. Marohn authored Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, volumes 1 and 2, and A World Class Transportation System.
William McDonough - Architect, product designer, and advocate. Authored the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, as the most famous expression of his message. Also the founding principal of William McDonough + Partners and co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC).
Ian McHarg - A pioneer of the environmental movement, McHarg founded the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Landscape Architecture and authored the book Design with Nature, published in 1969.
Stephanie Meeks - Stephanie Meeks has been the president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation since July 2010. Author of The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America's Communities.
Paul Mees - (March 20 1961 – June 19, 2013) Associate professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. A passionate advocate for public transport, Mees served as president of the Public Transport Users Association in Melbourne and famously opposed the CityLink tollway system.
Michael Mehaffy - Portland-based consultant and author specializing in walkable mixed-use projects. Mehaffy is also a senior researcher in urban sustainability at KTH University in Stockholm and the executive director of the Sustasis Foundation.
Gabriel Metcalfe - President and CEO of SPUR, as well as co-founder of City CarShare and the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition.
Joseph Minicozzi - Principal of Urban3, LLC, Minnicozzi is an advocate for downtown-style mixed-use developments, especially as preferred to big box retail.
Robert Moses - The "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City and environs, Robert Moses is one of the most polarizing figure of modern city building. Perhaps the most powerful man in New York City for a long stretch of the 20th century, Moses pursued a campaign of modernism based on slum clearing, public housing projects, and high-speed automobile transportation evident in New York to this day. Moses's ambitions also inspired the growth of an opposition movement around Jane Jacobs.
Steve Mouzon - Principal of both the New Urban Guild and Mouzon Design. Mouzon also contributed to the the creation of the Katrina Cottages, and authored a book, The Original Green, that inspired a blog by the same name.
John Muir - (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) A naturalist and author, most famous an early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. His activism helped preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, and many other wilderness areas. Muir also founded the Sierra Club, which is one of the most active environmental groups, advocating positions on development projects throughout the United States.
Lewis Mumford - (October 19, 1895 – January 26, 1990) Mumford interpreted architecture and urban life in a social context, while working as the architectural critic for The New Yorker magazine for over 30 years and authoring numerous books, including The City in History, published in 1961.
Svante Myrick - Mayor of Ithaca, New York. The youngest mayor and first mayor of color in Ithaca city history.
Shi Nan - The vice president and secretary general of the Urban Planning Society of China and the chief editor of the City Planning Review. Nan was also actively involved in major planning and research projects like the Revision of National Planning Act and the National Standard for Planning Terminology.
Naheed Nenshi - Mayor of Calgary, Alberta, and the first Muslim mayor of a large North American city. While mayor, Nenshi has ended a developer subsidy and fought to curb sprawl, with resulting controversy.
John Nolen - (June 14, 1869 - February 18, 1937) A landscape architect and planner best known for work in Florida and Wisconsin. An advocate for regional planning and land use controls to counter land speculation.
Steven Nygren - The founder of the planned "agrihood" of Serenbe, which has won numerous awards, including the Urban Land Institute Inaugural Sustainability Award, the Atlanta Regional Commission Development of Excellence, and EarthCraft's Development of the Year.
Hippodamus of Miletus - (498 – 408 BCE) An ancient Greek architect and urban planner, among other intellectual pursuits. Considered the "Father of European Urban Planning" and the namesake of the "Hippodamian Plan" (grid plan) of city layout.
Laurie Olin - Renowned landscape architect, with projects including the Washington Monument Grounds and Bryant Park in New York City. Also practice professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
Frederick Law Olmsted - (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903) A landscape architect, journalist, social critic, and public administrator. Olmsted is considered the "father" of American landscape architecture, and is responsible for many plans and designs of open spaces around the country, perhaps most famously exemplified by Central Park in Manhattan.
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. - (July 24, 1870 – December 25, 1957) A landscape architect and city planner who worked on projects in Acadia, the Everglades, and Yosemite National Park as part of a life-long commitment to U.S. National Parks. Also a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Michael Pachovas - A founding member of the disability rights movement, whose "guerrilla mobility action" in Berkeley in the early 1970s (i.e., an unsanctioned and unpermitted curb cut) paved the way for the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Gordon Parks - (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) A first famous pioneer among black filmmakers, Parks developed films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and created the "blaxploitation" genre.
Rosa Parks - (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) An activist in the Civil Rights Movement who set the stage for the Montgomery bus boycott with an act of civil disobedience on public transit.
Mary Pattillo - Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University. Authored Black Picket Fences, published in 1999, and Black on the Block, published in 2007, both of which investigate neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side.
Enrique Peñalosa - Mayor of Bogotá from 1998 until 2001, and then again beginning in 2016, overseeing major transportation and public space projects in the city. Also served as the president of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).
Gil Peñalosa - Founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, and a leading advocate for the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, using public transit, and the new use of cars.
William Penn - (14 October 1644 – 30 July 1718) An English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Clarence Perry - (1872 – Sept 6, 1944) worked in the New York City planning department, where he became a strong advocate of the Neighborhood unit and an early promoter of neighborhood community and recreation centers.
Jay Pitter - Toronto-based advocate for an inclusive city-building processes. Co-editor of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity, and author of the essay "Designing Dignified Social Housing."
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk - Co-founder of Arquitectonica and Duany Plater Zyberk & Company. A leader in the New Urbanism movement and the co-author of Suburban Nation: the Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, and The New Civic Art.
Shelley Poticha - Director of the Urban Solutions team at the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC). Formerly a senior political appointee in the Obama Administration, where she led the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and launched the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Russ Preston - Founder of Principle Group, a planning, design, and development firm focused on creating authentic places. Editor of Living Urbanism, a publication on contemporary urban design and city building.
Aaron Renn - Senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and a contributing editor for City Journal. Also a leader in planning-related media through his website, The Urbanophile.
Lynn Richards - Lynn Richards is President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Previously worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including as acting director and policy director in the Office of Sustainable Communities.
Dorothy Mae Richardson - (1923? – April 28, 1991) A community activist credited with introducing a new model of community development in the late 1960s. Richardson's efforts led to the founding of Neighborhood Housing Services in Pittsburgh and the national group now known as NeighborWorks America.
Jacob Riis - (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914) Social reformer, "muckraking" journalist, and social documentary photographer.
Jason Roberts - Co-founder of the Better Block Project, founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, and co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff.
James Rojas - Urban planner, community activist, and artist., who has championed a public-engagement and community-visioning method called PLACE IT! Rojas is also the founder of the Latino Urban Forum.
Jonathan Rose - Founded Jonathan Rose Companies LLC, a multi-disciplinary real estate development, planning, and investment firm. Authored The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Behavior Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life, published in 2016.
James Rouse - (April 26, 1914 – April 9, 1996) Founder of The Rouse Company, was a pioneering real estate developer, urban planner, and civic activist. In 1982, Rouse created the Enterprise Foundation, an organization that helps community groups build housing.
Janette Sadik-Khan - Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation from 2007–2013, while the nation's largest country pursued and delivered one of the most sweeping revitalizations of the city’s streets in a half-century. Currently the principal at Bloomberg Associates and chair the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO). Author of Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.
Nikos Salingaros - A mathematician by training who applies his work to urban theory. Salingros has championed network thinking and traditional architecture in the books Principles of Urban Structure and A Theory of Architecture, respectively, among other books.
Saskia Sassen - Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a member of the Committee on Global Thought. Coined the term "Global City," and authored Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, published in 1991.
Richard Sennett - Centennial professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and university professor of the Humanities at New York University. Sennett studies social ties in cities, and the effects of urban living on individuals in the modern world, and has authored many books on related subjects, including The Fall of Public Man, published in 1977, about the public realm, and Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation, published in 2012.
Salvatore Settis - An archaeologist and art historian currently the chairman of the Louvre Museum’s Scientific Council. Previously worked as the director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Authored If Venice Dies.
Donald Shoup - Distinguished research professor in the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Author of The High Cost of Free Parking, which has succeeded in launching a new approach to parking policy, as a fundamental aspect of planning and land use regulations, in communities around the country.
Gaétan Siew - Architect, planner, and founder of Lampotang & Siew Architects. Work includes master plans for the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius, the Chinese neighbourhood in Port Louis, the Seychelles International Airport, and other projects around the world.
Mitchell Silver - Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Past president of the American Planning Association (APA) and former chief planning and development officer and planning director for Raleigh, North Carolina.
Herbert Simon - (June 15, 1916 – February 9, 2001) An economist known for the theory of bounded rationality, a theory about economic decision-making that Simon preferred to call "satisficing," a portmanteau of "satisfy" and "suffice." Simon was among the pioneers of several of today's important scientific domains, including artificial intelligence, information processing, decision-making, problem-solving, organization theory, complex systems, and computer simulation of scientific discovery.
Camillo Sitte - Architect, painter, and city planning theoretician. Authored City Planning According to Artistic Principles, published in 1889, frequently cited as a criticism of the Modernist movement.
Kennedy Smith - Expert on commercial district revitalization and development, independent main street businesses, and economically and environmentally sound community development. Co-founded the Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group, LLC. Also the longest-serving director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center.
Paolo Soleri - (June 21, 1919 – April 9, 2013) Architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman, and philosopher. Established Arcosanti, an urban laboratory, constructed in the Arizona high desert as an experiential space to "prototype" an environment in harmony with man.
Rebecca Solnit - A writer on a variety of subjects, including the environment, politics, place, and art. Solnit's books on urbanism-related subjects include A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster and Wanderlust: A History of Walking.
Jeff Speck - A city planner and urban designer and a leading advocate for walkable cities. Author of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, among other books.
Rahul Srivastava - Blogger and public figure through the blog airoots/eirut, the Institute of Urbanology, and the urbz.net collective. Works with Matias Echanove.
Alex Steffen - Alex Steffen is a futurist who writes and speaks about sustainability and the future of the planet. Also the former executive editor at the website Worldchanging.
Clarence Stein - (June 19, 1882 – February 7, 1975) An urban planner, architect, and writer. Stein was a major proponent of the Garden City movement in the United States. Co-founded the Regional Planning Association of America to address large-scale planning issues such as affordable housing, the impact of sprawl, and wilderness preservation.
Christopher Stone - Faculty at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law. Stone is an authority on environmental and global issues, including international environmental law, environmental ethics, and trade and the environment.
David Suzuki - A genticist by training and an outspoken environmental activist, Suzuki has a long history of producing and hosting scientific-focused television and radio shows.
Galina Tachieva - Managing Partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. Author of Sprawl Repair and the SmartCode Sprawl Repair Module.
Emily Talen - Professor of urbanism at the University of Chicago, following previous faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Arizona State University. Author of numerous books devoted to the relationship between the built environment and social equity.
Beth Tamayose - Co-author of Financing Transit-Oriented Development with Land Values, and an independent contractor with specific expertise in indigenous planning, particularly within the Pacific Islands region.
Aaron Tanaka - Co-founder and director of the Center for Economic Democracy, which stewards funding and technical assistance to grassroots groups in low income communities of color. Tanaka is also the startup manager for the Boston Impact Initiative—Boston’s first local impact fund.
Brent Toderian - Vancouver chief planner from 2006 to 2012, during the city's 2010 Winter Olympics-related planning and design process as well as the EcoDensity initiative and the Greenest City Action Plan. Toderian is now a consulting city planner and urbanist with TODERIAN UrbanWORKS and vocal advocate for livability initiatives.
Seymour Toll - Philadelphia lawyer and author of Zoned American.
Sonja Trauss - A prominent leader of the Yes In My Back Yard (YIMBY) pro-development movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, Trauss is currently a candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Donald J. Trump - The 45th president of the United States. In addition to his name adorning buildings in cities around the world, Trump's presidency has inspired unprecedented attention to issues of urbanism, development, demographics, and infrastructure investment.
Michael Van Valkenburgh - A landscape architect and educator. President and CEO of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, famous for its work on Brooklyn Bridge Park, among other projects.
Jim Venturi - Jim Venturi is the founder and principal of ReThinkNYC, a New York City-based urban transportation planning think tank.
Vitruvius - (c. 80–70 BCE – c. 15 BCE) A Roman author, architect, and engineer. Author of De architectura, whose description of perfect proportion in architecture and human form influenced Leonardo da Vinci.
Jarrett Walker - A consulting transit planner, Walker's work in cities like Houston and his blog Human Transit lead current thinking about best practices public transit and mass transportation infrastructure.
Robert Weaver - (December 29, 1907 – July 17, 1997) The first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, from 1966 to 1968. Also the first African-American member of the U.S. Cabinet, serving under President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Anne Whiston Spirn - Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT, and a proponent for community-oriented spaces that are functional, sustainable, meaningful, and artful.
William H. Whyte - (October 1, 1917 – January 12, 1999) Whyte's 1980 book The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces set a new standard of observation and the study of human behavior in urban settings.
William Julius Wilson - Professor of sociology, previously at the University of Chicago and now at Harvard University. His many books examine the experience of Black Americans living in urban areas, and the effects of concentrated poverty.
Louis Wirth - (August 28, 1897 – May 3, 1952) Sociologist who pioneered the study of urban problems. Wrote Our Cities: Their Role in the National Economy, published in 1937, as an early attempt at outlining a national urban policy.
Frank Lloyd Wright - Perhaps the most famous architect in U.S. history. Frank Lloyd Wright led the Prairie School of architecture and pursued the theory of organic architecture. Fallingwater, a home located in Pennsylvania, is a beloved example of his work.
Kongjian Yu - A landscape architect, professor for landscape architecture at Peking University (PKU), and the founder of the planning office Turenscape in Beijing.