My Top 15 Urban Planning Websites #urbanplanning #NPPF

One for planning students and interested amatuers.

You might be surprised that it includes no sites on the procedural or legal aspects of UK planning.  The reason for that is that although planning students need a firm grounding it is more important to understand the basic concepts which act as a toolkit in any jurisdiction.  Like doctors urban planners should be able to practice anywhere and understand the morphology and anatomy of their subject.  Indeed British Planners are relatively lacking in the skills that would make them survive in this climate.  How many British Planners for example would know the waste water requirements for a town for 20,000 people, or how much land for churches and mosques it would require?

So heres the (very personal) list

1.  Eco-Compact City Network

This wonderful site like many of the best sites has a manifesto ‘An Eco Compact City (ECC) is a city built and developed in balance with the natural environment. It is a city with clear boundaries, with an optimun ratio between density and network of open public spaces defined by urban mixed-use blocks.’ but more than that it is packed with case studies at every point of the ‘transect’ scale.

2. Old Urbanist

Decidedly old school,  Charlie Gardener’s site is based on the philosophy that we need to understand old urbanism before we create a new one.  Full of insights about the growth and future of cities.

3. Small Streets

A website campigning for for small traffic free or calmed streets.  Phil La Combe its founder having been thoroughly ‘Copenhagenized’ whilst living there.

4. Copenhaganize

Copenhaginze everything. Though extensible about design for cycling in Copenhagen in reality is about the philosophy of life affirming design, discussed over cold beer and open sandwiches.

5. Your Development

An Australian site which offers a toolkit of ideas for sustainable urban design.

6.  Victoria Transport Policy Institute

That is Victoria Canada.  Todd Littman its founder is to my mind one of the intellectual powerhouses of the Smart Growth movement, mixing transport, urbanist and economic ideas to put the best set of resources for the economic case for Smart Growth on the web; including devastating rebuttles to the Tea Party/Neo Con opponents of planning and sustainable development.

7.  The Urban Planning Council of Abu Dhabi

The middle east – I can say having worked there – has some of the worst planning in the world.  The one beacon of hope is Abu-Dhabi and this site offers some great resources or Arabic urban design, energy saving buildings, red tape free development management, and above all its fantastic street design manual, from the region where over-engineered roads and services can easily eat up half the area of large sites. There term ‘spatial review is far better than development management – after all planning doesn’t manage the process of development as in building.  You have to understand the politics of Abu-Dhabi though.  The vast faith and resourcing in Planning is designed above all to make Dubai look stupid.


A very professional blog with a global scope, its like a one of the new wave of urbanist coffee table magasines.

9. Emergent Urbanism

Bonkers, but in a good way.Mathieu Helie is not afraid to theorise.  Complexity theory and urbanism mash up – always thought provoking.

10 Streetswiki

A resource on how to design better streets.  Good but sparse.  Very tempted to write some technical pieces to pad it up.


City Comforts is just about my favourite planning book.  David Sucher’s blog runs through many of his pet hates – which – like landscape urbanism, also happen to be mine.

12. Per Square Mile

A blog about density.  Especially good for its graphics, showing the impact of different densities.

13. Jones the Planner

Weekend jaunts analysing the good and terrible planning and architecture around Britain, more Ian Nairn than Alec Clifton Taylor, entertaining enough to be on the tele.

14. Reinventing Parking

Does what it says on the tin.

15. Polis

Globalist, collaborationist and just wonderful.  The contrasting photos on the gallery like front page are stunning.  Just not enough hours in the day to read the great articles on here.

When I get a chance ill create a special blog roll of these on the right hand side of the blog.

4 thoughts on “My Top 15 Urban Planning Websites #urbanplanning #NPPF

  1. Howdy very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?
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  2. Interested amateur here, wanting to air a query about ‘the procedural or legal aspects of UK planning’: is there a site or message board where an ordinary citizen could pick experts’ brains about the power or otherwise of planning committees to reject an application to extend an existing HMO on the grounds that an Article 4 direction limiting HMO density is already being breached?

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