Skip to content
CityLab
Citylab University

CityLab University: The Who’s Who of Urbanism

15 people who changed how we plan, design, think about, and live in cities.
relates to CityLab University: The Who’s Who of Urbanism
Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Rather than ranking “top urbanists,” this edition of CityLab University seeks to fill out perspectives on important shapers of the modern city. Whether you’re an urban-studies nerd or a newcomer to the subject, this is your primer on the names that are mentioned time and again in writing on cities, and the names that aren’t, but should be.

Some of them (for example, the pioneering architect Le Corbusier and the writer/activist Jane Jacobs) have become shorthand for concepts bigger than themselves—often to the detriment of their intellectual complexity and more granular contributions. Other figures, such as public-housing advocate Catherine Bauer Wurster, have simply never received the recognition they deserve, in some cases due to their race or gender.