The 100 Most Influential Urbanists, Past and Present?

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.

4 Responses to The 100 Most Influential Urbanists, Past and Present?

  1. Jonathan Hallam July 16, 2023 at 4:04 am #

    This makes Jarett the answer to life, the universe and everything (in the field of urbanism)!

  2. Johnny July 16, 2023 at 5:37 am #

    Again, this has no place in a professional blog about transit. You should start a personal blog if you want to write about things like this. Please write more about transit here.

    • Paul Fisher July 18, 2023 at 5:45 am #

      With respect, I do not agree.

      First, “urbanism” and transport planning are inextricably linked.

      Second, this is Jarrett’s blog, which he writes and publishes at his own cost, free to all. I think he has the right to decide what he will and won’t write about. This blog, and all the topics it covers, was of great benefit to me in my career as a transport engineer and I still read it with interest now that I’m retired.

      • Jack July 19, 2023 at 5:21 am #