Meet Some of the “100 Most Influential Urbanists” via Streetfilms!

Recently, Planetizen named their 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all-time, based on public voting off of a list of 200 nominees. Jane Jacobs won. As she should have.

Whether you believe the list is correct or has some people ranked too kindly or not at all, it has been circulating like mad on Facebook and other social media. Of course, when I took a look at the list, my first thought was how cool it was that Streetfilms had interviewed or featured dozens of them.  So if you want to learn or see many of these individuals in action, take a gander at the films below!

2. Jamie Lerner

The renowned urban planner became mayor of Curitiba and implemented their BRT system which we explore in this popular Streetfilm. But I selected the more intimate video we did on the story of Curitiba's first pedestrian street since it has lots of him.


4. Jan Gehl

In fact, there are many Streetfilms that have featured Gehl over the years. The film below is one of four I made - in five days - while in Copenhagen in 2010.  But our first with him was the most important: an influential video we cut of him  evaluating a horribly un-friendly-to-people Times Square in 2005 with Mark Gorton! In many ways it helped ignite the livable streets renaissance that NYC has been moving towards since.


10. Charles Mahron

About five years ago, Streetfilms first met Chuck, and we could tell he was an original thinker with ideas about our cities we needed to help spread. I thought he would make an interesting subject and followed him to a few cities.


12. William H. Whyte

Holly Whyte passed before I became deeply immersed making videos about urbanism and transportation. But since I always admired the simple language he used in his book "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces", I wanted to honor him with this montage of my favorite shots that matched the words in his book.


13. Donald Shoup

The undisputed expert of parking policy was part of our plan early on to highlight how ample free parking was a hurdle to having better cities. We interviewed him the first time he came to NYC and the 2nd time we did I decided it was time to take out some matchbox cars and show visually some of his concepts.


16. Janette Sadik-Khan

As NYC DOT Commissioner, we were perfectly positioned to watch the meteoric rise of Janette Sadik-Khan and how she introduced progressive public space initiatives and changed Times Square, Madison Square & brought us Summer Streets and more! She easily holds the record for appearing in more Streetfilms than any other person and  you might as well chalk all of this up to her,  Here we feature one of her first sit down interviews in 2008 with Mark Gorton about her work.


25. Enrique Peñalosa

Advocates brought this game-changing mayor of Bogota to New York City to tell his inspiring story of the great transformation of his city. We got to sit down for over an hour to interview him about it all and then stitched together this great 10 minute film which people STILL link to and give us accolades for over 10 years later.


44. Gil Peñalosa

Enrique's brother Gil was very instrumental in carrying out the urbanism agenda in Bogota and is so much fun to explore cities with. I've had the pleasure of doing it many times and he is one of the top people featured in Streetfilms. See the Jan Gehl video linkage above. See the open streets video below featuring Mike Lydon. And of course, our first encounter with Gil when we made our landmark Ciclovia film from Bogota in 2007!


58. Dan Burden

For a long time I wondered when the effervescent Dan Burden and I would work together. Full of endless energy when we met it was like crossing the proton streams from "Ghostbusters" to discuss Road Diets in this film from our Moving Beyond the Auto series!


75. Mike Lydon

The Streetfilm below on open streets - which Mike stars in and helped produce - showcases over two dozen ciclovias across the world. It shows the energy and happiness of how opening your streets to people generates momentum for more. Also: please don't miss our newest film on tactical urbanism which has been a recent hit and Mike's true passion!


81. Earl Blumenauer

We got to bike around NYC with the Congressman from Portland who as most of you know lives and breathes transportation and is a champion when it comes to bicycling! Has always been gracious with his time for Streetfilms.


84. Donald Appleyard

Appleyard's work helped arm us with data and reasons why we needed to change our streets. Of course Donald Appleyard died well before we started making Streetfilms, but we got to explore his work through his son Bruce and some updated graphics. This video has been cited hundreds of times since we made it as vital to getting communities to understand how important our streets are to living.


95. Jason Roberts

For years I had admired Jason's work with A Better Block and finally I was able to successfully capture his energy and passion for this piece during a hot day in Oak Cliff doing his typical great community work.


So there you go. And BTW, this list is far from complete as there are many, many others on Plantezien's 100 who are on the Streetfilms site who have been featured or commented in films.

And also another note to a few people who have asked me why I didn't make the list: as far as I can see there were no film or media makers on the list. So no harm done here!

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