Public Spaces

Man sitting on wooden bench under tall streetlight at night.

Can Urban Design Truly Impact Loneliness?

Some theorists want to design cities to reduce loneliness and isolation. Others want to accommodate them.

January 23, 2024 - Governing

Rendering of Park Station mixed-use development in Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.

Commentary: A Vision for Responsible Neighborhood Revitalization

The first project under Chicago’s Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance is taking shape, aiming to bring new housing and retail to the neighborhood while avoiding displacement.

December 20, 2023 - Richard Whitney

Blurred dense crowd of people with no recognizable faces walking in a busy city.

How Cities Can Avoid Perpetuating Segregation

Residents of big cities, known as the ‘melting pots’ of America, have fewer interactions with people outside their socioeconomic group than those in smaller communities, according to new research.

November 30, 2023 - Stanford News

Encampment set up by unhoused residents in Portland, Oregon

Tent Encampments: Will the Legal Restraint be Lifted?

A controversial U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2018 that has hindered the ability of western cities to clear tent encampments on public spaces will likely be revisited and overturned by the Supreme Court, predicts a popular CNN host.

July 17, 2023 - OPB

George Floyd

The Racial Reckoning in Public Spaces

Following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, there was an explosion of anti-racist street art across the country. “When we allow ourselves to release our emotions, oftentimes what is produced out of that is art.”

November 18, 2021 - Shelterforce Magazine

Girl Friends

Better Public Spaces for Teenage Girls

A growing design movement seeks to provide parks and playgrounds that meet the unique needs of teen girls.

June 3, 2021 - Bloomberg CityLab

Street Traffic in Manhattan

Urban Planning in a Post-Pandemic World

The coronavirus crisis is highlighting the contributions of cities as well as their vulnerabilities and the planning issues that need to be priorities in the future.

May 11, 2020 - The City Fix

Spanish Steps

How Coronavirus Has Transformed Italy's Urban Spaces

Italy has been hit hard by the pandemic, and slowing the spread of the virus has meant dramatic changes in urban life.

April 3, 2020 - The Conversation

New York

N.Y.C. Density and Spread of Coronavirus

The densest city in the country is struggling with the rapid spread of the virus, and close proximity is likely a primary factor.

March 31, 2020 - The New York Times


Is the End of Bangkok Street Food Vending Near?

Street food vendors are an integral part of the Bangkok urban landscape, but city planners want to see them gone.

December 19, 2019 - The New York Times

Equity in Public Spaces

Earlier this year, the Project for Public Spaces published a "Playbook for Inclusive Placemaking."

December 13, 2019 - Project For Public Spaces

Downtown Boston

A Bold Vision for a Car-Free Boston

As other cities take daring steps to reclaim their streets, a car ban in downtown Boston doesn’t seem so implausible.

November 22, 2019 - Curbed Boston

Street Vendor

Street Vending Makes Public Spaces Better. Stop Criminalizing It.

While recent crackdowns on street vending suggest it is a problem to be fixed, the reality is that street vendors energize urban spaces and make them more accessible for everyone.

November 20, 2019 - Curbed

Women in the City

What Would Cities Look Like if They Were Designed by Women?

Cities are built by men, and so too often urban design does not reflect the needs, perspectives, and realities of women.

November 11, 2019 - BBC

Skateboard Park

Skateboarding and the City

Skateboarding is becoming a legitimate part of the urban landscape by revitalizing public spaces and engaging young people and the broader community.

September 4, 2019 - The Conversation


As Cities Densify, New Building Design Strategies Keep Them Livable

Cities need to increase density, but the design of buildings can drastically affect people’s quality of life. Architects are using new tactics and tools to create innovative structures where light, air, and space are not compromised.

August 19, 2019 - Fast Company

Automated Vehicles

Can Autonomous Vehicles Absolve the Sins of 20th Century Planning?

Self-driving cars are likely to become part of the urban landscape in the future, and they have the potential to drastically alter urban environments—in good and bad ways.

August 8, 2019 - The Washington Post

Bryant Park

Reimagining the Social Value of Public Spaces

While they're often treated as mere assets to be maintained or abandoned for other uses, public spaces can be an active part of cities' plans for equitable revitalization.

June 2, 2019 - Governing

Pedestrian Infrastructure

A 'Curious' New Report on Pedestrian Behavior in Public Spaces

The Seattle Department of Transportation recently released its first-ever public life study.

April 22, 2019 - Streetblog USA

New York by Gehry

Making Privately Owned Public Spaces in New York City More Accessible by Mapping Them

A new map shows where privately owned public spaces are located to encourage more public use.

September 22, 2018 - Curbed New York

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HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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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.