Aerial view of planned community with houses and winding streets in Pearl City, Oahu

Sprawl and Democracy

One common defense of pro-sprawl government policies is that government reflects the will of the people. But is this really true?

March 27, 2023 - Michael Lewyn

Group of people waiting in line at polling place

Brookings: A Demographic Post-Mortem of the Midterms

Young adults, according to a deep dive analysis by Brookings Metro demographer William Frey, were a key demographic group responsible for stopping the red wave that most polling predicted as the likely outcome of last month's midterm elections.

December 9, 2022 - Brookings

Post Office

If the Postal Service Erodes, So Does American Life

An urban designer argues that protecting the U.S. Postal Service is crucial for maintaining civic values, social ties, and urban life.

August 26, 2020 - Fast Company

Supreme Court

Cities Lost Political Power in that 'Other' Supreme Court Ruling Last Month

On June 27, the Supreme Court didn't just rule on the Census Bureau's citizenship question. It also decided that it wasn't their business to consider how congressional districts are drawn, which will likely reduce the influence of cities.

July 7, 2019 - The New York Times

Security cameras on a building

The Dangers of Facial Recognition Software

Facial recognition software has the possibility to change public life completely. Countries and cities should be careful to consider the consequences of adopting the technology.

June 26, 2019 - The Guardian

Charlottesville Downtown mall

Charlottesville and the 'War Against Public Space'

A think-piece published by CityLab argues that public space, and the ideals it embodies, are under threat from the racist groups that gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

August 15, 2017 - CityLab


Crumbling Of Democracy Bodes Ill For Urban Design

Ironically, some of the greatest architecture of the past came from the most nefarious of sources: monarchies and dictatorships. Democratic design, though, can be bland and generic. What of design in our new undemocratic age?

March 13, 2017 - Common Edge


How (and Why) to Start a Local Data Intermediary

A new guide helps communities set up groups that can help analyze their neighborhood data and put it to good use.

June 3, 2016 - Next City

Public Garden (don't reuse)

Let's Talk About Civic Crowdfunding and Government Responsibility

A reply to skeptics about the democratic power and potential of civic crowdfunding platforms.

April 4, 2016 - Katie Lorah

San Francisco's Anti-Displacement Movement: Progressives Against Progress?

The tech industry's push into San Francisco has entailed a fight for political and cultural legitimacy as well as social justice--one that shakes up conventional wisdom about conservatism, progressivism, and progress itself.

August 2, 2014 - The Nation

The Power of Place: On Democracy and Public Participation in Planning

More thoughts on how public participation in the placemaking process can create better places and better functioning democracies.

March 26, 2013 - Jonathan Nettler

Build a Better Democracy Through Public Participation

In the first entry in a series exploring the connection between the processes and products of Placemaking and city governance, PPS explores how "Place Governance" can increase leadership, equity, and cohesion among citizens.

March 20, 2013 - Project for Public Spaces blog

For Urban Poor, Enumeration Equals Inclusion

Marcus Tudehope offers 12 reasons why community-led counting and mapping of the urban poor can be an effective tool for putting "power and democracy" into their hands.

March 7, 2013 - The Global Urbanist

Vallejo Approves First City-Wide Participatory Budgeting Process in US

The City Council of Vallejo, California, approved the first city-wide Participatory Budgeting process in the US this week. Residents will directly decide how to spend around $3 million from new sales tax revenue.

April 20, 2012 - Times Herald

Listening to the People's Voice in Detroit

In this op-ed for The Detroit News, Rob Goodspeed argues that Detroit needs to exert more effort to dialog with its citizens about how the city should change.

June 4, 2011 - The Detroit News

Urban Planning's Civic Dividend

The Tea Party has it all wrong, writes Joel Mills. Urban planning is not a radical, elitist agenda, but the best example of local democracy available today.

January 31, 2011 - Joel Mills

Calling for Consolidation of Hundreds of Tiny Townships

Hundreds of townships in Indiana serve fewer than 1,000 people each, prompting some government officials to call for consolidation to reduce wasted resources.

January 26, 2011 - The Indianapolis Star

From Mega-Cities to Meta-Cities

RThe impact of cities is spreading beyond local and even national borders, argues Robert Neuwirth in this piece from What Matters.

January 13, 2011 - What Matters

Reinventing Government in the Wiki Age

Beth Novick, author of Wiki Government, says that today's technology invites us to "rethink not only our democratic institutions, but our democratic theory."

August 15, 2010 - WorldChanging

Chicago's $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy

In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Alderman Joe Moore explains why he is letting residents decide how to spend his $1.3m ward budget, through the first Participatory Budgeting process in the US.

April 1, 2010 - Chicago Tribune

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

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.