3 North Texans Up for
‘Most Influential Urbanists’ Title

Nearly 200 nominees — some going back to the nation's founding — appear on the Planetizen’s list.


The population of the U.S. increasingly is living in urban environments among the hustle and bustle — and the issues — that come with life in large cities.

Planning, design, and development website Planetizen is asking its readers to vote on the “Most Influential Urbanists” of all time, and three Dallas-Fort Worth residents are among the nearly 200 nominees on the ballot.

Among such nominees as Thomas Jefferson, Jimmy Carter, Walt Disney, Rosa Parks, Buckminster Fuller, and even President Donald J. Trump, you’ll find North Texas residents Shima Hamidi, Patrick Kennedy, and Jason Roberts.


Each of the nominees has had an impact on the future of cities and communities, Planetizen said.

In formulating its list of nominees, Planetizen asked that readers consider such demographic issues as age and gender, as well as the numerous forms that urbanism can take.


Shima Hamidi

Hamidi is director of the Institute of Urban Studies and assistant professor of Urban Planning at the University of Texas Arlington and is a transportation planner and a smart growth advocate.

She has been working for the past five years on several funded projects from the National Institute of Transportation and Communities, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation Research Board, American Association of Retired Persons, National Institutes of Health, and Smart Growth America.

Her published works have been on such topics as urban sprawl and smart growth, transportation, urban design, walkability, housing affordability, public health, upward mobility as well as urban form and its quality of life impacts, according to her UTA biography.


Patrick Kennedy

Kennedy serves on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors and on the board of the Congress of New Urbanism. He is a leading advocate for walkability in Dallas and other Texas cities.

He is a partner at the Space Between Design Studio in Dallas where he leads the urban planning and livability consulting practice.

A graduate of The Pennsylvania State University School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Kennedy is interested “in creating energetic, viable, and, sustainable places successful in their uniqueness in creativity and their connection to the contextual built environment,” according to his bio.

Jason Roberts at TEDxUTA in 2016. [Photo via TEDxUTA]

Jason Roberts

Roberts is co-founder of the Better Block Project, founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, and co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff.

Roberts formed the nonprofit, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, in 2006 to revive the Dallas streetcar system. Later, he led the city’s effort in get a $23 million TIGER stimulus grant from the Federal Transit Administration to aid in reintroducing a modern streetcar system to Dallas.

And, in 2010, he organized a series of “Better Block” projects, which took blighted blocks with vacant properties in southern Dallas and transformed them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping.

If you’d like to vote for our Dallas nominees, or others, you can find the Planetizen article and voting form here.

[Image: Dallas Innovates. Photos from UTA, Better Block Foundation, and D Magazine.]

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