Urban Development

The Accidental Planners

June 11, 2019
The Berlin activists who staged a protest at a vacant government building didn’t imagine they’d end up leading a €140 million redevelopment project.

In a former bicycle shop near Alexanderplatz, in central Berlin, a band of artists runs an unofficial annex of the city planning department. The walls are covered with architectural renderings, and maps are spread on plywood tables around the room. In a large display window, overlooking a boulevard where Soviet tanks once rolled on parade, is a scale model of the project they are working on: a mixed-use neighborhood center with art studios, offices, and apartments for thousands of people.

These Chinese Buildings are Coming to a City Near You

May 31, 2018
China's overseas building campaign is spreading Chinese-style urbanism around the globe.

A square mile of new land spreads out from the shores of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Crews are 80% through reclaiming approximately 65 million cubic meters of sand from the Indian Ocean floor.

The land will form the foundation of Port City Colombo a massive new district of high-rise office towers, luxury apartments, tree-lined canals and beachfront villas.

Adjacent to the city's central business district and a recently upgraded port, the $1.4 billion project is touted by its developers as "a world class city for South Asia."

Neighborhood Watching

April 1, 2017
What are the unintended consequences of building the city of tomorrow?

Orinio Opinaldo had been watching his West Adams neighborhood change for years. Throughout the 1990s, the area had gradually filled in with apartment buildings and higher-end housing. Opinaldo saw neighbors kicked out of rental units or bought out of homes by developers looking to reposition their properties. The pace of change quickened with the 2012 phase-one opening of the Expo Line light rail train connecting downtown, USC and Culver City.

20th-Century Land Use Policy Nearly Killed the Salton Sea. Could Today's Urban Policy Save It?

May 9, 2013
The Salton Sea, Southern California’s accidental oasis-turned-environmental tragedy, is the kind of disaster for which 20th-century U.S. policymakers only have themselves to thank.

Sitting 150 miles east of Los Angeles in the dry and hot Sonoran Desert, the Salton Sea is a 375-square-mile accident of nature, industry and real estate. It’s the largest inland body of water in California, but it’s saltier than the ocean, and the diversity of fish and wildlife it can support is diminishing. And below the surface is a seabed of contaminated soil that, once dried, turns to a toxic dust that is already posing public health risks.

Oh, and the sea is evaporating rapidly, which means more toxic dust being released into the air.

Top Planning Issues Of 2008

January 1, 2009
Over the course of the year, the Planetizen staff editors review and post summaries of hundreds of articles, reports, books, studies, and editorials related to planning and urban development. Now, we take a look back at 2008 and the trends and issues that defined the year in urban planning.

The economy and the housing market dominated the news this year, but there was also a considerable amount of coverage related to the Presidential election and President-elect Barack Obama. Transportation investment and city living were also major themes of the year. Read the full summaries below to see how these stories played out in 2008...