Amidst the daily controversies of the presidential elections, fueled by seemingly weekly tragedies like those most recently of Paris and San Bernardino, decisions in 2015 seemed more momentous, more potentially fraught, than ever before.
By this time next year, the United States will have a new president-elect, and much of the country will be deeply preoccupied with thoughts about the future. Last year at this time, the country was embroiled in strife with long roots in histories of poverty and racism. It was impossible to avoid the consequences of the past. Of course, similar points could be made about any number of years, since time immemorial.
Few professions draw on either sides of the line between past, present, and future more often and with such real, long-term consequence as planning. Planning requires respect for the past, action (or non-action) in the present, and hope for a prosperous and healthy future. Planners have constant reason to wish their forebears had done a better job imagining the consequences of their actions. In fact, planning for the future requires special skills in rewriting the indelible. No one could ever claim that planning is, or should be, easy.
As we get ready to write the next history, it’s time to pause and reflect on the events and ideas that captured our attention in 2015. As is the tradition atPlanetizen, we’ve combed through our data (using pageview data from Google Analytics) to find the most popular news articles, blog posts, and exclusive articles of the past year.
The top posts you see listed here had stiff competition from many, many other stories of critical importance to our understanding of the past, how we live our lives in the present, and for making us all better prepared to make decisions of consequence to future generations. We don’t like to think of it as a popularity contest, but here they are: the most popular posts of 2015:
Most Popular News Posts
1) Too Big for Texas? Houston’s 23-Lane Freeway
2) Georgia to Increase Gas Tax Through Conversion to Excise Tax
3) Tiny House Movement Pushing the Boundaries of Traditional Zoning
4) Aging Boomer Suburbanites: The Coming Transit Disaster
5) The 27 Typical Patterns of Urban and Suburban Development
6) Researchers Finding Evidence of the Negative Impacts of Trees in Urban Settings
7) For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal
8) The Death and Life of Evanston, Illinois
9) Friday Funny: Hipster Havens in All 50 States
10) San Francisco’s Intractable Housing Dilemma
Most Popular Blog Posts
1) The Best Planning Apps for 2015
2) How Planners Use Planning Theory
3) 10 Keys to Making A Great City Plan
4) Matthew McConaughey to Star in ‘The Urban Planner’ [April Fools]
5) Well Done Vancouver! Well Done Planners!
6) Why Do People Hate Cyclists?
7) How Ancient and Modern Cities Compare (and Why Planners Should Care)
8) Which Streetscape Features Best Generate Pedestrian Activity?
9) How Cities Grow Big; Not How Big Cities Grow!
10) Better City-Making Means Breaking Down Silos—Here’s How
Most Popular Exclusive Articles
1) Top 10 Books – 2015
2) Top 10 Websites – 2014
3) NIMBY Obstruction and the Density Paradox
4) Broken Planning: How Opponents Hijacked the Planning Process
5) Top Planning Trends – 2014
6) City Planning Department Technology Benchmarking Survey 2015
7) ‘Two-Ways’ to Fix Our Neighborhoods
8) Top 10 Books – 2016
9) Gift Ideas for the Young Future Urban Planner in Your Life
10) What Is a ‘Great’ Neighborhood? An Analysis of APA’s Top-Rated Places