As somebody completely new to the planning world, it wasn’t very long ago that I hadn’t even heard of one of the websites I’m about to list. For those of you that have been involved in urban planning for a while now, you probably figure that you have already visited all of the best websites though. Hopefully, most of you will still spot at least a few URLs on this list that weren’t already part of your daily routine while surfing the web.
Here are the top 20 planning related websites I’ve found that deserved a bookmark:
This list is a collection of several different types of websites, some more innovative than others, but all of them contribute in some way by spreading useful information. Most of these websites can be used for assessing or gathering information about a multitude of planning issues all over the world, or at least throughout the United States. However, some of them are specific to only one city, such as SecondCityZoning.com, which should serve as an example of what is possible for other cities, including Boise, in the future. Others simply made the list because they are fun, creative, or different from most other websites that I have seen, such as HowBigReally.com.
- 2030 Palette: http://2030palette.org/ An interactive web platform that presents a framework for the design of sustainable and resilient buildings and communities
- Cyburbia: http://www.cyburbia.org/ One of the internet’s oldest places for planners to go for information. Includes an impressive message board, images, articles, and feeds to hundreds of planning related blogs and news sites
- Eco Compact City: http://www.ecocompactcity.org/home.html In depth information, examples, and explanations of ways to actually build new compact cities
- Every City, Every Block: http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer Browse local mapped Census Bureau’s data around the United States, includes race/ethnicity, income, housing and families, and education information
- Gapminder: http://www.gapminder.org/ A website that turns worldwide statistics into animated and interactive graphics to help promote sustainable global development
- Governing: http://www.governing.com/ Media platform covering politics, policy and management. Planners will be most interested in checking out the urban section for articles, data, and information covering city development issues
- How Big Really: http://www.howbigreally.com/ Overlays the area of significant historical events on top of a map of any area of the world you want. The idea is to give people a clearer perspective of the scale and physical distances involved of events to find out how big (or small) they really were.
- Mind Mixer: http://www.mindmixer.com/tour/ A website that creates community involvement by utilizing technology to bring more meaningful conversation to other citizens and city leaders
- Open Street Map: http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=14/43.6131/-116.2036 Think of this website as Google maps on steroids. “The Free Wiki World Map,” is a public mapping website that every user can contribute to and edit
- Parkscore: http://parkscore.tpl.org/ Comprehensive rating system that measures the need for parks and open space in 50 of the largest cities in the United States
- Second City Zoning: http://www.secondcityzoning.org An interactive open source map that lets people see zoning information and patterns throughout the city of Chicago, inspired by the game Sim City
- Streets Blog: http://www.streetsblog.org/ A project that provides information about sustainable transportation and livable communities that was started in 2006
- Streets Wiki: http://streetswiki.wikispaces.com/ A community-created, online encyclopedia that anyone can edit for transportation, city, and public space issues
- Sustainable Cities Collective: http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/ Independent, moderated community with a huge amount of information for city leaders, urban planning and sustainability professionals
- The City 2.0: http://www.thecity2.org/about A platform that connects leaders, experts, and citizens by showing the stories and actions happening throughout the world
- Trulia Hindsight: http://hindsight.trulia.com/map/#lat=43.611&lon=-116.348&zoom=11&mix=0.500 Maps property information by the year they were built so that you can see how neighborhoods throughout the U.S. have grown over the years
- UN-HABITAT: http://www.unhabitat.org/ The United Nations Human Settlements Program website. With a goal of providing adequate shelter for everybody, the site has a vast amount of information that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities
- Urban Observatory: http://www.urbanobservatory.org/ An innovative internet based environment where cities share mapping and geography information to compare, contrast, and learn from each other
- Walkscore: http://www.walkscore.com/score/boise-id A website that provides walk score information for cities throughout the world, utilized by hundreds of third party organizations, their goal is to promote more walkable cities
- Zoom Prospector: http://www.zoomprospector.com/CommunityDetail.aspx?id=8016&f=1 A website designed for companies to identify an optimal location for building new businesses by using unique community data
By the way, I was guessing that almost everybody had at least accidentally ended up at Planetizen or the The Atlantic Cities at some point, so I didn’t feel the need to include those on this list. What are some other websites that I’ve missed though? Feel free to share a few of your favorite websites in the comments below…