This year, marking the sixth year of our annual ranking, six new websites joined the ranks of our Top 20 Urban Planning Websites selection. Last year’s top ranking websites are, however, holding tight to their positions with only two new additions in the top ten. This year’s list emphasizes the central role of urban policy and governance in urban planners’ practice, as well as the intrinsic multidisciplinary character of the profession. Based on Alexa Analytics scores, these are the websites receiving the most visitors in the field of urban planning. Scroll down and enjoy browsing!
CityLab is at the top of our ranking for the third consecutive year. With a website redesign, the site is out to become the reference in urban development and innovation news and bound to capture the attention of a broader spectrum of readers; aiming for a global reach of urban dwellers, decision-makers and business leaders seeking a reliable and accessible source of city and urban news. Published articles are now categorized under design, transportation, environment, equity, and life. With the new design, CityFixer is replaced by Special Reports and Solutions which, respectively, report and analyze best - and worst - practices from cities around the world.
Joining this year’s ranking, in second place, is Governing, one of the leading and most influential media platforms in the area of governance. Governing offers broad coverage of urban issues such as finance, health, infrastructure, management and public safety. Additionally, the website provides access to the integral articles and issues of Governing Magazine, the platform’s print magazine. As a bonus, subscribing to the Governing monthly print magazine and its newsletters is free. The website resources include a library of papers, webinars to join live - or to watch on demand - and an index of universities offering public administration, urban management, and policy degrees. Governing organizes regular events for its audience of public servants in different locations across the United States and hosts the Governing Institute, an initiative established in 2011 to improve state and local government performance and strengthen public-sector innovation, leadership and citizen engagement.
The online platform of the Washington D.C.-based think tank comes in third place this year. Urban.org provides access to fieldwork and published research and reports of the Urban Institute and its policy centers. The website also lists the organization’s partner projects, events, and debates. Under “Urban Wire,” the organization’s experts provide unique insights into their research work. The organization’s graphics and visual library are housed in Data/Viz, while Features is a collection of stories around research work, tools, and charts developed by the Institute.
City Journal ranks fourth this year, down from its second position in last year’s ranking. The online voice of the Manhattan Institute publishes news under nine topics along with three categories dedicated to California, New York, and Texas. Along with contributors’ online articles, including prominent urbanists like Edward Glaeser, Joel Kotkin, and Mario Polèse, past issues of City Journal’s printed magazine are available for browsing online. Their semi-monthly podcast series “10 blocks,” is going strong with 280 podcasts to-date; discussing urban policy issues of healthcare, education, infrastructure, energy and public safety, among others.
This UK-based website has come back to join our ranking for the second year. City Metric addresses urban issues within the areas of business, policy, transportation, the built environment, and innovation. Additional trending topics are regularly rotated and added to the list. Editor, Jonn Elledge, and guests recently hosted their 60th Skylines podcast; continuing their series’ discussions on cities, politics and all things urban. Data Tools are interactive maps, charts, and graphs powered by City Metric’s partner, Centre for Cities, which visualizes demographic and economic data in the UK.
The website of the agency of the United Nations for human settlements and sustainable urban development is the portal to knowledge and information about global urbanization. Resources can be accessed through the website’s Urban Knowledge and Urban Themes sections. The website is the storefront of the organization and publishes news about its activities, initiatives, and programs. UNHabitat.org is also home to the New Urban Agenda adopted last October 2016 during the Habitat III conference in Quito; a roadmap to achieve global sustainable urban development.
Launched in 2000, Planetizen has since been one of the major online references for urban planners. The website’s resources include a job board, a planning schools directory, an online training and courses platform, and a list of current RFP, RFQ and events. Under News, the website features a selection of articles aggregated from different platforms in addition to publishing exclusive blog posts authored by various contributors. Planetizen also runs annual rankings reviewing books, apps, websites, twitter feeds and graduate programs.
The website of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is back in our ranking this year, in eighth place. The organization is the platform for land use experts and leaders in urban and real estate development around the world. The website reflects the global mission of ULI with portals for the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific; listing regional events, programs, publications and membership packages. Uli.org is also home to Urban Land the organization’s magazine covering news of the development sector, market trends, sustainability, planning, and design.
Next City is a nonprofit organization on a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change within cities. Its website publishes daily coverage of urban news falling under five categories: technology, culture, economics, infrastructure, and politics. The website also features in-depth analysis of critical urban issues. The best features and stories are assembled in downloadable e-books. Next City welcomes original contributions from academicians and practitioners. The organization’s community outreach is extended through its annual cross-disciplinary conference, Vanguard, a selective gathering of city makers. Participants apply to attend and if selected only have to cover their travel expenses.
The American Planning Association (APA) is the United States’ leading professional platform for urban and city planners. Its website is a great resource for those seeking to pursue further education, AICP certification, to network or join peer-to-peer meetings. The website has dedicated sections to some of the most critical issues among urban planners, namely legislative policies, advocacy and community outreach. APA is a member-supported organization; it offers different membership packages for students, academicians, and practitioners in all career stages.
- Strong Towns / @StrongTowns
- Project for Public Spaces / @PPS_Placemaking
- City Limits / @CityLimitsNews
- Smart Cities Dive / @smartcitiesdive
- New Geography / @newgeography
- 100 Resilient Cities / @100ResCities
- Citiscope / @Citiscope
- The Urbanist / @UrbanistOrg
- Greater Auckland / @GreaterAKL
- Lincoln Institute of Land Policy / @landpolicy
This years list's newest additions were compiled thanks to the contributions of some of our readers who shared their favorite online destinations for urban news. Let us know what you think and share your favorite websites that report on local and global urban issues in the comments section; we will make sure they are included in the run for next year’s ranking.