Top 50 Websites - 2002

Welcome to the first annual list of the 50 best planning and development websites. We've listed the websites alphabetically in nine general categories. This list is based on nominations by PLANetizen readers and judged against a common set of criteria. Let us know what you think.

Top 50 Websites 2002

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Cyburbia - Formerly the Planning and Architecture Internet Resource Center (PAIRC), this site, run by Dan Tasman, is the oldest and most respected directory of planning websites.

Open Directory - Urban and Regional Planning - One of the largest, human-run web directories; the urban planning section is well-maintained by editor Richard Carson.

PikeNet - A respected directory of commercial real estate information run by Peter Pike, who also publishes a weekly real estate e-newsletter.

Yahoo! Urban Planning and Design - Yahoo!'s well-known and eclectic urban planning directory.

List of Categories

Professional and Industry Associations

American Institute of Architects - The AIA is the membership association for professional architects; the site features an "architect finder", as well as online courses.

American Planning Association - The APA is the membership association for professional planners; the most authoritative source of planning information on the web.

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning - Consortium of university programs in urban planning; their website includes a list of all accredited planning programs in the U.S. and Canada.

Congress for the New Urbanism - The most prominent and respected advocate for The New Urbanism; the website is a comprehensive resource for all things related to New Urbanism.

National Association of Home Builders - The voice of America's housing industry, with a federation of more than 800 state and local builders associations.

Urban Land Institute - The ULI is the membership association for real estate development professionals; their website is a comprehensive portal to real estate research and news.

List of Categories


ArchNewsNow - Kristen Richards' website and daily e-newsletter features architecture and design news from around the world.

Environmental News Network - The single-best source for daily news coverage of major environmental issues.

GEOPlace - Home of many GIS publications online and in print; the site offers access to current and archived articles ofGEOWorld magazine.

Katarxis - A webzine dedicated exclusively to classical and traditional architecture and urbanism.

Metropolis Magazine - The online version of Metropolis Magazine, which examines contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, planning, and preservation.

PlannersWeb - Home to the Planning Commissioner's Journal, a respected newsletter for planning commissioners and citizen planners.

Planning and Markets - Devoted to the study of planned interventions versus market approaches, P&M was the first entirely-electronic academic journal in planning.

The Planning Report - The insider's guide to managed growth in California, featuring monthly planning news and interviews.

List of Categories

Research and Data

Brookings Institution, Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy - A compilation of articles, research, and urban policies regarding neighborhoods, cities and metropolitan regions published by the respected Brookings Institution.

Economagic - This researcher's paradise features a vast and free collection of easily available economic time series data useful for economic and planning research, with a focus on economic forecasting.

List of Categories


Census Bureau - The premier gateway to all things related to the Census, demographic and business data.

Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development - The US Department of Energy's Smart Communities Network featuring a wealth of resources for sustainable development.

Department of Housing and Urban Development - From webcasts to an online library, HUD is the portal to US housing and urban resources, including archived consolidated plan executive summaries.

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress - This extensive collection includes several thousand historical digital images created from maps and atlases and organized into seven categories including cities, transit, landscapes, and the environment.

National Transportation Library - Run by the US Department of Transportation, this website features an impressive repository of transportation publications, statistics and other resources.

Environmental Protection Agency - Everything you always wanted to know about US environmental policies.

US Geological Survey - A large collection of data, information and maps relating to geology, biology, water, topography and mapping.

List of Categories

Special Focus

Building America - [Select the Building America icon on the National Building Museum home page.] This educational site contains a fascinating historical perspective about land, accessible through an impressively designed interactive timeline.

Carfree Cities - Provides a collection of examples and solutions to achieve car-free cities.

Housing Zone - This web portal for professional builders covers a broad spectrum of news and topics such as affordable housing, building materials, and remodeling.

Innovative Transportation Technologies - The fascinating and comprehensive guide to unconventional and transportation technologies, maintained by Dr. Jerry Schneider.

Knowledge Plex - The leading portal for the affordable housing and community development field, supported by the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy - The Institute is dedicated to improving the quality of debate about land use and tax policy, and maintains an impressive collection of materials from past courses.

National Geographic: Sprawl vs. Smart Growth - National Geographic's outstanding introduction to New Urbanism is only one part of their impressive EarthPulse website, which features a variety of conservation tutorials.

National Trust for Historic Preservation - A resource center for documenting, preserving, and protecting diverse historic and cultural places.

Project for Public Spaces - PPS offers technical assistance, research and education to create and sustain public places such as parks, plazas and central squares; transportation; public buildings, architecture and public markets.

Reis - Reis is the web portal for the real estate investment community offering research, news, editorials and market data for over 100 metro areas.

Sierra Club - Offers a variety of tools and information to promote responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources.

Smart Growth America - A nationwide coalition promoting smart growth; the site provides a wealth of information about how to get started in smart growth advocacy. - A program of Reason Public Policy Institute, the website provides an extensive database of research about market-oriented analysis of land use and economic development issues.

List of Categories

Regional/Local Sites

EcoCity Cleveland - Promotes ecological design, smart growth, and transportation choices in Northeast Ohio. The website demonstrates how planning theory is being applied in the region.

LUPIN: Land Use Planning Information Network - LUPIN is part of the California Environmental Resources Evaluation System, and the model site for what a state planning website should be. The website features an extensive collection of zoning codes, plans, reports, and other resources.

Michigan Land Use Institute - MLUI seeks to help Michigan avoid the patterns of suburban sprawl by offering original research and commentary about the environment, transportation, land management and conservation.

List of Categories

International Sites

International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism - INTBAU is a new international network for all those who design, make, maintain, study or enjoy traditional building, architecture and places.

Organization of World Heritage Cities - Maintains an image and research database of the 187 cities whose inhabited sites are listed as cultural properties on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

PLANUM - The online European planning journal, featuring editorials and news from around the world.List of Categories

Outside The Box - The leading source for information about skyscrapers around the world, featuring an impressive database of images and statistics for over 42,000 buildings.

Radical Urban Theory - A simple but elegant collection of writings and excerpts about the urban condition. - A journal of the built and natural environments, featuring articles, essays, editorials, poetry, fiction, artwork, and the "UnSprawl" case studies.

Urban Photo - Featuring a collection of essays and photo galleries about cities around the world, Chris DeWolf offers a unique forum for discussion about urban issues.

Special thanks to all the PLANetizen readers that sent in nominations and feedback!

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.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.