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The Grid’s Top 20 Urban Planning Websites of 2015 - High...

The Grid’s Top 20 Urban Planning Websites of 2015 - Highlighting the Top 10

For the fourth year in a row, Global Site Plans’ The Grid is pleased to give you the list of the year’s Top 20 Urban Planning Websites. These URL’s are for those passionate about making cities thriving, successful places to live, work, and play. Each site offers their own unique twist on the issues our

For the fourth year in a row, Global Site Plans’ The Grid is pleased to give you the list of the year’s Top 20 Urban Planning Websites. These URL’s are for those passionate about making cities thriving, successful places to live, work, and play. Each site offers their own unique twist on the issues our cities face every day. To rank each, we used the tried-and-true source, Alexa Analytics, to find which sites receive the highest web traffic. Read away and discover the unique features each destination offers. Enjoy!

1. CityLab / / @CityLab


CityLab proves to be the number one destination for urban planners. One of the several arms of Atlantic Media, CityLab reports up-to-the minute content on the most pressing issues facing our cities. Users will find well-researched blogs that cover an array of topics, including housing, transportation, work, weather, crime, politics, tech and design. Two unique features of the include Navigator and CityFixer. Navigator offers “tips and strategies” for how to live in cities. CityFixer is a tool that collects the best ideas from leaders around the world on solutions for our urbanizing world. The site has plenty of opportunities for advertising and you can even contact staff writers directly by using their directory.

2. Grist / / @Grist


Grist, based out of Seattle, Washington, has been delivering compelling content on environmental issues since 1999. The growing website now reaches over 2,000,000 visitors a month. Urban planners may be tempted to go straight to the cities section, but users will also find useful content under climate and energy, food, living, politics, business and tech and science. If you want to find out who brings these stories to you each day, check out their staff and board page. Writers looking for a new opportunity can search for a job or fellowship with Grist. Send them a message using their easy contact form. Even better, get daily or weekly email updates from Grist by signing up for their newsletter.

3. The Urban Institute / / @UrbanInstitute

Urban Institute

The Urban Institute was founded in 1968 with the goal of understanding the problems facing America’s cities. The non-partisan organization conducts in-depth research on timely issues, with a focus on the urbanizing world. Today, The Urban Institute covers 150 topics and has over 400 employees. Their work is broken up across their 11 different policy centers. Topics can be searched according to expert authors or research areas. Users can attend their regularly calendared events by watching them live streamed. You can stay updated with the Urban Institute’s work by signing up for their newsletter or support them by making a donation. If this all sounds good to you, consider a career with them.

4. Next City / / @NextCityOrg

Next City

Next City has been inspiring better cities with media and events since 2003. The nonprofit began as a quarterly black-and-white magazine and has since grown into one of the most read urban planning websites in the world. The organization features seven columns, including Health Horizons, In Public, The Equity Factor, The Works, The Future of Resilience, Science of Cities and Watermark. City geeks will love the events featured on the website, including their Vanguard Conference, an annual gathering that recognizes exceptional city leaders. Writers can pitch Next City their ideas for a story and get published on the site. You can also support their work by becoming a member at a level of your choice. Keep yourself in the Next City loop by signing up for their daily or weekly newsletter. Get your organization or company’s work displayed on the site through their advertising opportunities and find your next career on their jobs board.

5. Urban Land Institute / / @UrbanLandInst

Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a member-supported nonprofit with a mission to “provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.” Founded in 1936, ULI functions as a platform for real estate professionals from both public and private sectors to come together and share ideas to help create better places. The organization is represented through District Councils that host regular events. ULI conducts research and publishes reports that help cities guide future growth. You’ll find it helpful to browse through their publications to find their latest work and best practices in the field. The best way to get involved with ULI is to become a member and then find an opportunity through one of their many programs.

6. New Geography / / @newgeography

New Geography explores what is happening in our communities and how we can best adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of them. A joint venture of Joel Kotking and Praxis Strategy Group, the website is supported by several staff and numerous contributing editors. It includes a blog and has pages devoted to specific topics: economics, politics, urban issues, small cities, demographics, suburbs, housing and planning. Perhaps their most unique feature is their best cities for job growth rankings. Lists are compiled using a calculated system and are split up according to small, medium and large cities. If you have a question for or would like to contribute your writing skills, send them a message.

7. Planetizen / / @planetizen


Planetizen is your one-stop-shop for information and resources related to urban planning, design and development. You’ll find the latest news on these topics from cities across the U.S. and unique blogs from contributing writers. You can create your own account so your can post your own work. Promote your work and connect with other urban enthusiasts by publishing a Planetizen Announcement. There are plenty of tools to help you advance your academic and professional career. Use their directory to find top notch programs in urban planning and other related fields or search for specific courses to help you further your skillset. Their jobs board posts amazing opportunities for city-lovers in North America. You can sign up for regular news updates and job postings by subscribing to the Planetizen Newswire and Jobswire.

8. American Planning Association / / @APA_Planning

American Planning Association

The American Planning Association (APA) is a member-based nonprofit for the urban planning community. Founded in 1978, the organization educates its members and helps them better serve the community with which they work. There are several membership options that offer numerous benefits. As a member, you’ll find opportunities to connect with other planners and learn about the latest advancements in the field, attend events, and find excellent educational resources. If you’re looking for a job in the urban planning field or want to further advance yourself in the industry, use their tools on their Jobs and Practice page. Does this sound like an organization with which you’re interested in becoming involved? Then become a member today.

9. Sustainable Cities Collective / / @sustaincities

Sustainable Cities Collective

Sustainable Cities Collective aggregates and shares content focused on urban planning and related fields onto their website. You’ll find work from some of your favorite urbanists. Their blogs focus on five broad topics: building and design, planning, resources, economy and transportation. The site is loaded with webcasts from some of the world’s most accomplished leaders in the field. You can join the Sustainable Cities Collective community and create a user account. It only takes a minute! The process is simple, and you’ll have an amazing opportunity to share your knowledge with a network of urban planning, development and design enthusiasts. Any questions or issues you have with the site can be resolved on their FAQ page. Now join this amazing community and write away.

10. UN-Habitat / / @UN-HABITAT


A program of the United Nations, UN-Habitat promotes responsible and sustainable urban development, in response to the rapid growth of cities. Based out of Kenya, the organization operates in offices around the world. Their work covers a wide range of issues, which can be searched on the site according to specific themes. They’ve published thorough publications on these topics. Of their extensive list of resources, perhaps their most impressive is their urban database that lets you search for detailed statistics on hundreds of cities. UN-Habitat organizes and promotes a variety of events, including Habitat III, a conference that will focus on housing and sustainable urban development in October 2016. If this sounds like an organization with which you’d like to engage, there are several ways to get involved.

11. Project for Public Spaces / @PPS_Placemaking

12. Cyburbia / @cyburbia_forums

13. Smart Growth America / @SmartGrowthUSA

14. Planning Magazine / @PlanningMag

15. BLDG Blog / @bldgblog

16. Strong Towns / @StrongTowns

17. The City Fix / @WRIcities

18. Streetsblog / @StreetsblogNet

19. Copenhagenize / @copenhagenize

20. New Cities Foundation / @newcitiesfound

See how this year's ranking compares to 20122013 and 2014 rankings and follow the Top 20 Urban Planning Websites on our Twitter list.

We hope you enjoyed our fourth consecutive list featuring the most popular urban planning websites. But please, leave us your feedback. Did we miss any sites that belong on this list? Let us know in the comments section and you might see your suggestion on 2016’s list!

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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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