High Line park NYC - Manhattan - New York City

Study: How Beauty Is a Boon for Cities

Richard Florida discusses a study finding a range of connections between a city or neighborhood's aesthetic appeal and its economic health.

May 22, 2019 - CityLab

facades of victorian style residences in San Francisco

A Modest Proposal: A Scientific Method for the Beauty of Cities

Alain de Botton has an idea that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, when it comes to cities anyways. He also proposes a system for evaluating the beauty of the world's cities (spoiler: most cities don't qualify).

March 4, 2015 - CityLab

What's Missed When Taking the Scenic Route?

An app that plots the most beautiful route across cities made news earlier this month, but one commenter worries about how taking the more scenic route could make it harder to improve quality of life in the "less-than-scenic" sections of cities.

July 22, 2014 - TheCityFix

An App that Calculates the Most Beautiful Route

New in flaneur-enabling technology: a team of intrepid aesthetes in Barcelona is working on a new app that would advance GPS mapping tools by providing the most beautiful route to a destination, rather than the shortest or least congested route.

July 15, 2014 - MIT Technology Review

The Evolving Science of Design

Researchers are beginning to understand how the human brain is hard-wired to respond to certain patterns, colors, and proportions. The result is "a revolution in the science of design," says Lance Hosey, and "most people...aren’t even aware of it."

February 20, 2013 - The New York Times

Can We Still Create Beautiful Cities?

Edwin Heathcote looks at "fumbling attempts at creating new forms of urbanity" and "new ideals of beauty" in cities like Milton Keynes, Rotterdam, and Dubai, and asks if we can still create urban beauty, or if it's even desirable in the first place.

January 14, 2013 - The Financial Times

Is There a Place for Design and Beauty in Planning Documents?

As cities strive to improve the "design" and "beauty" of their buildings, how can such attributes be mandated by planning documents if their mere mention is verboten, asks Karrie Jacobs.

October 17, 2012 - Metropolis

Mobility Lacking in Toronto

Toronto's lack of focus on transportation planning and the absence of a national strategy for mobility is turning the city into a messy gridlock, according to this column.

June 2, 2011 - Globe and Mail

Beautiful, But Not So Vibrant

The city of Vancouver is beautiful, but according to this op-ed, it hasn't yet been able to create a truly vibrant city life.

May 27, 2011 - The Vancouver Sun

Public Bleakness in Seattle

Seattle is growing more dense, which is underlining the importance of the city's public spaces. But as this piece from Crosscut argues, the city's public spaces are mostly bleak and underused.

May 19, 2011 - Crosscut

Beauty and the City

Architects and urbanists gathered in the city Jane Jacobs made her home to ask, "What makes a beautiful city?"

April 22, 2011 - Azure

The City: Beautiful?

Is it okay yet to talk about cities and beauty in the same breath? Teacher Karrie Jacobs finds an astonishing lack of reading material for her class on aesthetic beauty and the built environment.

September 15, 2010 - Metropolis Magazine

Can Beauty Be Regulated?

Roger Scruton compares American and European ways of regulating aesthetics in buildings.

December 24, 2009 - The American Enterprise Institute

Does Architecture Make People Happy?

Building Happiness, a new collection of writings on architecture, concludes that the connect between beauty and happiness is unfounded.

May 28, 2009 - Metropolis Magazine

Walkability and the City Beauty Quotient

There's no shortage of writing and conjecture on New York City when it comes to urban and city issues. But one subject that has been neglected in the urban academic discourse is the city's incredible concentration of beautiful women. It's amazing. It's like you can't avoid them, not that you'd want to. Walking down the street in New York City is like walking down a fashion runway. With cross traffic. And no security guards trying to tackle you.

February 22, 2009 - Nate Berg

The Experts' Picks for Prettiest Towns in America

Travel writers, photographers, and an urban designer selected by Forbes have named the 20 prettiest towns in America; their varied definitions of "prettiness" are reflected in their choices.

October 22, 2008 - Forbes Traveler

The Importance of Beauty: A Personal and Professional Perspective

The countless issues and debates about the nature of city-building need powerful voices within the broader public.

April 25, 2007 - Brent Toderian

Project Manager III

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

UDO Transportation Planner

City of Charlotte - Charlotte Area Transit

Top Books

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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.