Ben Brown

Restaurant Business

Lessons from the Pandemic: Housing, Retail, Broadband

Second in a series of conversations about what comes next in local government policies and processes, this time between Geoff Koski and Ben Brown on housing, retail, and broadband

May 12, 2020 - PlaceShakers

Stay-at-Home Orders

After the Plague: Go Big or Go Backwards?

Among unwelcome lessons of COVID-19 is growing evidence of what was already broken in politics and business. Ben Brown looks at making bold changes in order to improve the lives of the left out and left behind.

May 10, 2020 - PlaceShakers

Before I die

Plotting a Persuasive Story? Better Have a Happily Ever After

All stories are purposeful. They’re meant to entertain or inform or inspire to action. If you're a storyteller for a placemaking initiative, Ben Brown says you'd better have a happily ever after.

October 19, 2017 - PlaceShakers

A Hurricane Response Lesson: Disrupt the Cycle of Futility

How do we disrupt the cycle of rebuilding things exactly as they were before—if slightly hardened—after increasingly powerful weather events?

September 8, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Good Side of the Downside: The End Is (Only) Near

Depressed by city planning in your neck of the woods? Ben Brown says to lower your expectations.

August 5, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Queen Elizabeth

A Comprehensive Plan for Westeros? Same Issues, More Swordplay

Game of Thrones provides way more sex, blood, and dragons than your typical comprehensive planning project, but the dynamics can be instructive, particularly in places where demand for the high-quality amenities of urbanism out-paces the supply.

July 13, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Senior Pedestrians

The Other Side of Anxiety? Realism. And Maybe Hope.

Ben Brown tells us to stop narrowly defining problems.

June 14, 2017 - PlaceShakers


All We Need to Do: Call BS

Ben Brown calls BS on a number of city planning and gentrification points.

May 25, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Florida Man Fails to Fix Everything, Reconsiders Position

Richard Florida was right about everything, except when he wasn't. Ben Brown brings us up to speed on the Creative Class.

April 20, 2017 - PlaceShakers


Feared Dead, Math’s Back: Planning Nerds Vindicated

Deciding how to grow at the local level's not a red thing or a blue thing. It's a math thing. Ben Brown's got the lowdown.

March 22, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Where Thinking About the End is a Good Place to Begin

Facing scary stuff that's also inevitable tends to clarify the landscape for decision-making.

February 8, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Donald Trump

Bubble Burst Strategy No. 1: Do Something. Now.

Ben Brown on placemaking implications of today's politics

January 14, 2017 - PlaceShakers

Step Away from the Vehicle (And Take Back the Journey)

Walkability’s greatest gifts to health are most accessible when we encounter one another in the flesh. In pedestrian-friendly environments, others amenitize space. On the highway, they encumber it.

December 1, 2016 - PlaceShakers

The City as 'Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities': It’s the People Thing

If even a sliver of a 78-million-strong set of consumers seems willing to hand over cash for something, businesses organize themselves to deliver, whether we’re talking hula hoops or downtown apartments.

October 26, 2016 - PlaceShakers

Burning Man

There Goes the Neighborhood: Oh No, Not Burning Man!

Ben Brown unpacks the components of polarization. Recognizing some people are really pissed off for some really good reasons doesn’t seem to help us make better decisions, whether we’re talking about electing a president or planning a park.

September 27, 2016 - PlaceShakers

Hurricane Sandy

Unpredictable, High Risk, High Cost: Planning for the Worst Is the Worst

Ben Brown takes a hard look at our capacities and limitations in a world more complex than we’d prefer.

August 24, 2016 - PlaceShakers

Equity, Engagement, Community: Empathy Ain't Enough

if a community planning effort is to be judged by the degree to which all voices are heard, then anything short of a big turnout is going to feel like failure. Ben Brown talks equitable engagement, and aligning promises with implementation.

May 24, 2016 - PlaceShakers

From Ideas to Action: Cheaply, Quickly, Fairly

Applying ideas of Lean Urbanism to the charrette process can establish an agreement about values and rules for planning in ways that make it renewable.

April 20, 2016 - PlaceShakers

It's the Complexity, Stupid! (Try 'Splainin' that in an Elevator)

The dangerous absurdity of building a national—or a community—to-do list around fear, resentment, and wishful thinking

April 6, 2016 - PlaceShakers

The Next Frontier for Compact Walkability? It's Gotta Be the Burbs

Suburban retrofit: what's next in issues, approaches, strategies, and tools.

March 16, 2016 - PlaceShakers

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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.