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Where Urban Planners Go: The Top 10 Urban Planning Websi...

Where Urban Planners Go: The Top 10 Urban Planning Websites for 2013 - And Coverage of the Top 20

Last year, The Grid went on a mission to uncover the most popular urban planning-related websites for 2012. With extensive research and the help of Alexa International Rankings, we were able to compile a list of the top 20 websites for this specific niche. It is time for an update. In the list for 2013

Last year, The Grid went on a mission to uncover the most popular urban planning-related websites for 2012. With extensive research and the help of Alexa International Rankings, we were able to compile a list of the top 20 websites for this specific niche. It is time for an update. In the list for 2013 we see a few familiar names made it back, with some moving up the ranking and others moving down, as well as some completely new sites, including Grist, Blueprint America, Newgeography and Untapped Cities. Once again, we have a mix ranging from non-profit to for-profit to hobbyist lists. Check out our new list here and on Twitter to see where urban planners from around the world are getting their information and accessing urban planning resources.

1. Blueprint America / http://www.pbs.org/wnet/blueprintamerica/category/blogs / @beyondmotorcity

Blueprint America

Blueprint America specializes in a specific niche of urban planning - infrastructure. This pioneering initiative was founded in 2008 by Thirteen/WNET and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The site uses a variety of outlets, including videos, blogs and web-only content to address the deficient service to America’s infrastructure and the implications that come with it. This is a topic typically under-reported by traditional news media outlets. Blueprint America has gained significant exposure by partnering with various news programs, most notably PBS. If you feel like the site is missing some content or there is some material you would like to add, you can easily provide input on their page.

2. Grist / http://www.grist.org / @grist


Grist is a nonprofit media organization that brings environmental stories straight to its 1,500,000+ readers. Based out of Seattle, Washington, it was founded in 1999 and is funded by foundation grants, user donations and advertising. By putting a little bit of humor in each of its reports, this quirky site connects everyday events to climate issues and takes the often depressing tone that comes with this topic out of its content. And by welcoming stories and photos from readers, Grist effectively engages its audience. If you are interested in their work, you can sign up for one or several weekly newsletters by filling out this form.

3. Newgeography / http://www.newgeography.com / @newgeography


Newgeography, a joint venture of Joel Kotvin and Praxis Strategy Group, studies our neighborhoods and their relationship to our work, economy and infrastructure. It tries to develop solutions to how we can best respond to the dynamic, ever-changing world we now know.  Not only does the site try to help us by digging into various topics such as urban planning, economic development and politics, but it also encourages our input. Just check out their list of contributing editors!

4. Streetsblog / http://www.streetsblog.org / @StreetsblogNet


Streetsblog is your source for any and all news on sustainable transportation and livable communities. The site is produced by the non-profit OpenPlans and funded through grants, sponsorships, advertising and donations from readers. Streetsblog makes its easy to read blogs from all over the US through an interactive map that connects its readers to different stories from around the country. Additionally, Streetsblog connects local advocacy groups to one another in order to promote transportation reform.  If you want to see a blog added to their network, just fill out this form here!

5. Planetizen / http://www.planetizen.com / @planetizen


Last year’s number one urban planning website has moved down to number five in 2013. Still, Planetizen has been going strong since 2000, acting as an effective source of information for urban planning news, commentary, interviews, event coverage, book reviews, announcements, jobs, consultant listings, online training and courses, and much more. They cover a wide array of planning issues and cater to an audience of professional urban planners, developers, architects, policy makers, educators, economists, civic enthusiasts, and others from all around the world. Planetizen is still the urban planner’s one-stop shop.

6. Urban Land Institute / http://www.uli.org / @UrbanLandInst

Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit research and educational organization supported by its members, has maintained the same ranking since last year. The institute’s initiatives are focused on emerging land use trends and issues; proposing creative solutions based upon their research findings. Their work encompasses a variety of sectors within the industry, including resort and residential, retail and destination development, office and industrial development, transportation and parking, housing and the land use and real estate market. It is no wonder that this organization has reached international acclaim online; fostering strong country-specific and district offices around the world. You can join this international organization too, or learn more by purchasing the ULI magazines, books, or signing up for one of their professional development courses.

7. Sustainable Cities Collective / http://www.sustainablecitiescollective.com / @sustaincities

Sustainable Cities Collective

Last year’s number two ranked urban planning-related website has dropped down five spots, from number two to number seven for 2013’s rankings. Sustainable Cities Collective is an editorially independent, and moderated community created with the generous support of Siemens AG. Sustainable Cities Collective provides unique and aggregated content related to urban planning, sustainable development, and urban economics, among other issues. They cover the fields of building and design, planning, resources, populace, economy, and transportation. If you want to blog for them or just get more involved you can tie your existing blog’s RSS feed onto their site, manually submit content and sign up for RSS or email updates.

8. American Planning Association / https://www.planning.org / @APA_Planning

American Planning Association

The American Planning Association (APA), created in 1978, is an independent nonprofit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. Last year we saw this site at number five in our list, but it still holds a solid spot in the top 10. The APA website offers job and consultancy listing opportunities, outreach, continuing education, events (including annual national and regional conferences), membership information, and planning chapters so you can get involved locally. They also offer opportunities to read up on their reports regarding career development within the sector, and salaries.

9. UN-HABITAT / http://www.unhabitat.org / @UNHABITAT


Our 2012 number three website for urban planners has dropped down to number nine in 2013. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, started in 1978, before sustainable urban development had become a global priority. Today, the UN-HABITAT organization and website serve as the international agency to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. Their themes include environment and climate change, information and monitoring, land and housing, risk and disaster management, social inclusion, urban development and management, urban economy and financing shelter, and water & sanitation infrastructure. They also host a slew of annual events, including the World Urban Forum.

10. Untapped Cities / http://www.untappedcities.com / @untappedcities

Untapped Cities

As you might imagine judging by the title, Untapped Cities digs up unique and hidden stories of our cities. Discovered in 2011 by Michelle Young, this urban planning blog now has over 300 contributors from around the world informing readers about new places through their journalism and photography.  If you are interested in joining their impressive list of contributors, all you have to do is contact them. In addition to their numerous blogs, Untapped Cities has its own shopping center called society6, which allows you to search and shop for artwork, clothing and accessories from cities throughout the globe.

These next 10 also include some familiar names, including last year’s number seven ranked BLDGBLOG and This Big City at number 14. Our list continues to grow more competitive as an increasing number of impressive urban planning sites enter the scene. Join our list on Twitter so you can easily follow these site's stories, photos and urban planning news with minute-to-minute tweeted updates.

11. Cyburbia / @cyburbia_forums
12. Project for Public Spaces / @PPS_Placemaking
13. Planning Resource / @PlanningMag
14. This Big City / @thisbigcity
15. BLDGBLOG / @bldgblog
16. Copenhaganize / @copenhaganize
17. The City Fix / @EMBARQNetwork
18. Human Transit / @humantransit
19. City Farmer News / @CityFarmerNews
20. Arcosanti / @Arcosanti

We know there are many other websites used by urban planning professionals and enthusiasts. After reviewing our list, are there any missing that you think belong in our Top 20?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Intern photo

Rob Poole graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego, but now resides in San Francisco. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates f...

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  • Brett Jones

    So your #1 planning site is one that hasn’t posted any new content since 2011? Am I missing something?

  • Dylan

    I’ve noticed that you’ve left out CNU. Why?

  • Dylan

    Yeah, I see exactly what’s going on here. Move right along GSP, no Illuminati propaganda wanted around here….

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    That’s a great point Brett. Blueprint America ranked so highly even without new content that we hope this will push them to publish some new material. Dylan, we based our ranking on Alexa International Rankings, so our results are quantitative rather than qualitative.

  • http://nextcity.org Emaleigh

    Looks like you missed nextcity.org. Next City is a national online magazine about improving cities. The site is updated daily with investigative features, thoughtful essays and interviews from the front lines of urban change and innovation. In addition to a daily blog, Next City publishes a weekly longform series called Forefront (available by subscription). This week’s issue is right up your alley – “Can Urban Planning Rescue Detroit? The Hopes, Fears and Possibilities of the Detroit Future City Plan.” Read an excerpt here: http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/forefront-excerpt-can-urban-planning-rescue-detroit

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Thanks for the comment Emaleigh! It is interesting that Next City didn’t make our list. I know for me personally, they cover a lot of material I enjoy reading. And I do appreciate their posting today about the BART strike, which is affecting me from getting into San Francisco right now! http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/pay-raises-and-contributions-to-benefits-at-heart-of-bart-strike

    Maybe we will see them on our list in 2014!

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Luis Lozano-Paredes

    I was surprised that “The Atlantic Cities” is not included, in my opinion it has become a really good source of information for Architects and Planners not just in North America but worldwide.

    Also, I would like to suggest the page “Plataforma Urbana” http://www.plataformaurbana.cl/ a Chilean website. I know is not in English but includes really interesting perspectives and views about Urban Planning from this side of the world.

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Luiz, I completely agree regarding your comment on “The Atlantic Cities.” I use that site every day. The writers have a strong urbanist perspective that they apply to topics from around the globe.

    “Plataforma Urbana” looks awesome, but unfortunately my Spanish is limited. This is why I need to start my South America tour ASAP!!

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  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Congratulations TheCityFix! Great work!

  • Karina Hernandez

    I study architecture, many of this websites are my favorite ones. Here in México City there is a recent boom of blogs and webpages with a lot of information about what´s new in urban, architecture and design affairs. Web sites like Pedestre (http://ciudadpedestre.wordpress.com/), Mi Diario Urbano (http://midiariourbano.blogspot.mx/) or Arquine (http://www.arquine.com/) are great, but there´s still a gap, starting with the language that limits our public. I´ll wait for the South America edition then.

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    That’s a great idea Karina! Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can create regional or geographical lists that reflects the interests and culture of those people.

  • Pingback: TheCityFix entre os 20 sites mais lidos por urbanistas | TheCityFix Brasil()

  • Adam

    I would like to suggest the Strong Towns blog, which looks at the fundamentals of how towns and cities are developed.


  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Thanks for the link Adam! Strong Towns seems to be unique in that it is much more open and direct about its opinions. If you look over the sites in our Top 20, they are primarily open forums that provide a platform for people to read and share information. Strong Towns has a strong stance on how we must plan and grow our cities. It’s great to have some variety though!

  • http://urb.im/ Josephine d’Allant

    Thanks for the great list, it’s an excellent resource to have pulled together. I’d also like to suggest URB.im (http://urb.im/), the platform working for just and inclusive cities. We focus on the developing world, have nodes in 10 cities, and publish in six languages. This week’s topic is about slum clearance, planning, and community resistance: http://urb.im/c130701

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Glad you like our list Josephine! URB.im looks great! I am personally most interested in community development and working to create opportunities in underserved communities. In addition, I want to start travelling soon and put my interests to use while visiting different cities, so your website is right up my ally!

  • http://www.governing.com Tod Newcombe

    For the government perspective on urban planning, may I suggest viewers take a look at http://www.governing.com, which now has an urban topic page: http://www.governing.com/topics/urban

    Governing Urban covers the policies, practices and people who manage and lead the public sector community as it relates to urban issues.

    Tod Newcombe
    Senior Editor, Governing

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Tod, this is a great site! I’m actually writing one more list that will come out on August 26th. It will have more of a multidisciplinary focus, bringing together various practices and concepts that address how we can build and improve cities. Governing is an excellent candidate! I’m now following your Facebook page so I can keep myself updated with your work!

  • http://placefocus.com kári sinkko (@karisinkko)


    Have you seen http://www.plcefocus.com ? It’s about placemaking and cities, not sure where it ranks tho.

  • http://www.theglobalgrid.org Robert Poole

    Thanks for the suggestions Kari! It looks like http://www.placefocus.com is oriented towards urban design. But it’s still very useful for that field! I’m compiling a new Top 20 list with a more multidisciplinary focus, for sites the are useful to city builders, community developers and economic developers. This could be a good candidate. Stay updated with us! The list will be out August 26th!

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  • http://PlannersWeb.com Wayne Senville

    Very surprised that you didn’t include our PlannersWeb.com site. We’re the principal online resource aimed at “citizen planners” — unfortunately, an audience too often ignored by other planning web sites. Check us out — we’ve been around for 23 years, first as the Planning Commissioners Journal, and since 2012 as PlannersWeb.com.

  • http://Www.helmofthepublicrealm.com Matt

    http://helmofthepublicrealm.com Is a great urban design blog. It’s been running for 3 years now.

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