3 YouTube Channels for Urban Planning Nerds

YouTube is many things, but I think one of its most underrated uses is how it makes you regret your career choices. It happened to me when I stumbled upon a niche I had never really thought about – urban planning, and every day since then I regret not having attempted to study architecture or urban planning at university.

Still, I quench my thirst with what induced it in the first place, and bring you three great YouTube channels for urban planning enthusiasts.

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City Beautiful

Dave Amos is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who runs the City Beautiful YouTube channel, named after an urban planning movement that aimed to make North American cities beautiful and grand in the 1890s and 1900s. At times, the channel delves into transportation, utility management, and even philosophical issues surrounding city planning.

What I appreciate the most about this channel is how Dave not only makes high quality videos on different topics he is an expert on, but takes the time and care to make sure that all of his videos flow together to state his personal philosophy of how cities should look, and he does a good job of making sure his audience buys into that philosophy. Key word – new urbanism. A must-see video? The Tokyo one.

Not just bikes

Not Just Bikes is a unique YouTube channel. It’s not about cities per se, but rather about Dutch cities and how someone who grew up in Canada and now lives in Amsterdam feels about Dutch cities. Jason Slaughter, the host, gives the videos a personal tone, often talking about his family and their contrasting experiences living in London, Canada (or fake London, as he calls it) and Amsterdam.

My takeaway from this channel is that by understanding how near-perfect urban environments such as Dutch cities work, we can all learn a bit more about how our own cities can be improved, and I hopefully one day someone in one of our municipal offices will take notice too. One of my favorite videos from this channel is the one explaining why Jason and his girlfriend decided to raise their children in the Netherlands and not in suburban North America, and it made me realize how much a good city is a safe city for children.

The town planner plays

This one is a little different, this channel isn’t exactly about edutainment like the others. It’s a streaming channel, and a city planner streams himself playing city building games, mainly Cities: Skylines. What sets him apart from other streamers in the same game is how he explains his decisions from an urban planning perspective, and while that’s not the best way to learn about urban planning, it makes it much easier to invest in the stream. Personally, I love how, as it’s about to make a huge change to its virtual city sim, it develops a story around it, which makes you pay more attention.

Raymond T. Helms