Leadership in urban planning is critical to developing livable, equitable, and vibrant places for people, yet it’s overlooked in its significance. One of the misconceptions is that leadership is thought to be positions in power such as directors, city officials, and board members.
One of the misconceptions is that leadership is thought to be positions in power.
Yes, these positions have the authority to make decisions on whether housing is built, new transit lines are funded, or where to prioritize resources, but I argue urban planners also make powerful decisions. They decide on which stakeholders they interact with, how they communicate with these positions of power, and how they set their own priorities.
One of my greatest achievements of a entry-level planner was knowing I didn’t have to be in a management position to be a leader. I had as much, or even more, influence on the organizational culture, how decisions were made, and planning sustainable projects. Luckily my current boss saw this in me and promoted me to a senior planner.
The only studies about leadership in planning describe Place Leadership and Place-based leadership. These definitions still seem to be focused on positions of power.
A more comprehensive approach is to instill leadership in our urban planners by providing research on skills, behaviors, and habits of great leaders.
This is what I intend to do with this website: Make the connection of why leadership creates great cities, and how urban planners can integrate leadership skills, behaviors, thinking, and habits into their daily lives.
Here are some posts:
For any suggestions, examples, or needs that will help urban planners become leaders please comment below!