Category: History

Is Urban Planning Dead?

At the American Planning Association National Conference in New Orleans a couple weeks back, I participated in a session on the provocative question: “is planning dead?” The event was organized by the staff of the Colorado-based organization PlaceMatters. A small group met to discuss the question at an “unconference” session near the convention center. They […]

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Learning From I-Neighbors

The story of I-Neighbors.org is important to anyone hoping to use technology to complement traditional forms of urban community. The website was created by Keith Hampton, a scholar interested in “the relationship between new information and communication technologies, social networks, and the urban environment.” A trained sociologist, as a newly minted PhD Hampton taught at […]

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National Planning for America’s Cities

One of the disappointments for many urban planners about the stimulus bill was the lack of innovation for urban development. Funds for community development, foreclosure response, and transportation funding flowed through existing programs and formulas, meaning the stimulus funds would share their idiosyncrasies. Perhaps this is for the best: for the interest of expediency and […]

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Book Review: Rybczynski’s Last Harvest

Witold Rybczynski’s 2007 book Last Harvest: From Cornfield to New Town is truly a unique book: an accessible, detailed narrative of the process of real estate development. The book describes the construction of a subdivision named New Daleville in southern Chester County in suburban Philadelphia. Or exurban, rather, since the development is over 45 miles […]

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Searching for Philadelphia’s Trinities

When I visited Philadelphia in April 2007, I stayed with my friend Emily in an improbably tiny house. She had explained that it was off a pedestrian alley off an alley itself an unusual description but when I entered I discovered the house had, apparently, just one room. A tiny, twisting staircase led […]

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A Brief History of Public Participation in Urban Planning

This post is Part 2 of my public participation in urban planning series, adapted from my urban planning final paper, Citizen Participation and the Internet in Urban Planning. In order to describe the potential uses of the Internet in public participation in planning, this section will begin with a short history of public participation in […]

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Remembering 1968

I thought I would post a short note commemorating two anniversaries, one significant to the nation and the other the city of Washington. Forty years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. That event sparked civic disturbances in over 100 cities including Washington, D.C. This map, published in the book […]

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