Al Fresco Streets

Vacant boarded-up storefronts along Powell Street in San Francisco, California.

Planning Year in Review 2022: Downtowns, Transportation, Climate Change

Part two of a review of the major themes, debates, and events of the year in planning that was 2022.

December 19, 2022 - James Brasuell

The former parking of Woodies restaurant is filled with empty picnic tables for dining during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Outdoor Dining Parklets No Longer Cheap and Easy

Cities in Santa Cruz County, California are making outdoor dining laws permanent, and some businesses are getting sticker shock at the extra cost of maintaining the pandemic-era expansion of al fresco dining.

November 21, 2022 - Lookout Santa Cruz

New York City Open Streets

Open Streets and Outdoor Dining Are Best for Business, Report Says

Most business owners believe that they'd be out of business without on-street parking near their front door. The experience of New York City during the pandemic proves otherwise.

October 27, 2022 - StreetsBlog NYC

Italian restaurant outdoor dining patio with string lights in New York City

Who Should Manage New York’s Outdoor Dining Program?

A proposal to shift responsibility away from the Department of Transportation has met staunch resistance from industry groups and advocates of the program.

October 24, 2022 - StreetsBlog NYC

New York City Open Streets

Cities Rethinking the Value of Parking

The effort to reclaim public and private spaces from car storage had some setbacks since the days of al fresco and open streets in the first years of Covid-19. But widespread parking reforms and new evidence shows the public is rethinking parking.

October 17, 2022 - Globe and Mail

Busy restaurant seating on New York City sidewalk during COVID-19 pandemic

Americans Have Fallen in Love With Outdoor Dining

Started as a response to pandemic restrictions, al fresco dining has taken off as customers, restaurant owners, and city officials realize the social and economic benefits of outdoor dining spaces.

August 29, 2022 - Boston Globe

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Pedestrianized Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Pedestrians Briefly Take Back Miami Beach's Ocean Drive

Miami Beach reopened Ocean Drive to vehicles earlier this year at the request of hotel owners. So many pedestrians showed up to the famous street on a weekend earlier this month, however, that cars were blocked once again.

March 30, 2022 - The Next Miami

Al Fresco Streets

New York's Outdoor Dining Program Stays Controversial, Likely to Evolve

New York City's Open Restaurants Program, while here to stay, is going to see substantial changes, requiring new permits, as soon as next year.

March 23, 2022 - Bloomberg CityLab

Al Fresco Streets

Outdoor Dining: Too Popular to Abandon

Some cities that took the almost unprecedented step to loosen restrictions on outdoor dining in the early days of the pandemic are deciding to make their new outdoor dining rules permanent.

January 19, 2022 - James Brasuell

Ocean Drive Open Streets

Miami Beach to Reopen Ocean Drive to Cars

The famous cruising strip was off-limits to cars during the pandemic. Now, the city is letting vehicles return with some pedestrian-oriented compromises.

January 14, 2022 - Bloomberg CityLab

San Francisco Parklet

How the Pandemic Is Reshaping Cities

The social and economic upheaval of the last two years accelerated a shift in thinking about how we use public space and organize the urban realm.

January 4, 2022 - Wired

14th Street Busway New York City

How New York City's Appearance Changed Under de Blasio

The former mayor's administration oversaw several major changes in the city's skyline, streets, and public spaces.

January 4, 2022 - The City

Al Fresco Streets

Opinion: Keep Outdoor Dining Without Thwarting Creativity

While New York City's effort to make its outdoor dining program permanent is a welcome reimagining of public space, some worry that regulations will reduce design diversity and increase costs for small restauranteurs.

December 29, 2021 - Curbed

Outdoor cafes in Old Town, San Diego

San Diego Approves Permanent Outdoor Dining

The city's new regulations pave the way for making the pandemic experiment a permanent fixture.

November 1, 2021 - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Pedestrians circulate around a retrofitted development beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

A Car-Free Vision for Downtown Brooklyn—Updated for the Covid-Era

In December 2019, the Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Vision set ambitious goals for removing cars from one of New York's central business districts. Then came the pandemic and new tests for those ambitions.

October 25, 2021 - Bloomberg CityLab

Chelsea Square Restaurant in Chelsea in in New York

Arlington County to Explore Permanent Outdoor Dining Options

As emergency ordinances passed during the pandemic are set to expire, county officials will consider making some pandemic dining accommodations permanent.

September 23, 2021 - Arl Now

San Francisco Parklet

San Francisco Supervisors Vote to Keep Parklets, Close Them at Night

The pandemic-era outdoor seating arrangements can stay, but a last-minute amendment lets business owners close them overnight.

July 21, 2021 - San Francisco Chronicle

LA Al Fresco Informational Graphic

Los Angeles Extends Outdoor Dining Program for Up to Three Years

An emergency ordinance signed by the city's mayor will allow restaurants to keep outdoor dining facilities built during the pandemic for at least one more year.

July 8, 2021 - Eater Los Angeles

Al Fresco Streets

'Open Streets' Have an Accessibility Problem

The rush to utilize sidewalk space for outdoor seating and parklets has created new obstacles for people with disabilities.

July 2, 2021 - Bloomberg CityLab

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

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.