Planetizen has done its “100 Most Influential Urbanists” list again. The voters were readers of Planetizen, who tend to be US urban professionals and advocates. I’m honored to be there, at #42, along with many, many people that I admire.
You can ask all kinds of questions about this list. It’s admittedly US-centric, citing folks from other countries based mostly on their influence on the US discourse. I also wish it didn’t try to compare living people with figures from the past, which is impossible. Living people are almost all biased in favor of the living. So I wouldn’t make much of the fact that I’m #42 while Hippodamus of Miletus (498-408 BCE), came in only at #85. Hippodamus has certainly been more influential, and not just because he had more time.
You can also use the list to start fun arguments about what urbanism is. Is it a field of study and action, or does it imply an ideology? If the latter, should some of these people — like Thomas Jefferson and Frank Lloyd Wright — be considered anti-urbanists, since their vision of the ideal human settlement was really more rural than urban? Does anyone whose work affects cities count, and if so, who doesn’t count?
For better or worse, though, people love lists. If you’re a list-lover, I hope you enjoy this one. Don’t take it as any authority about who’s more important than whom. But if browsing it leads you to discover the work of someone who inspires or intrigues you, it will have done its work.