Can you believe that it is December already? Well, it is that time of year again when we think about giving and receiving presents. I previously shared some ideas on the perfect gifts for planners in Presents for Plannerds and Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition which have turned out to be two of my most read articles. I am glad to know that my lists have been helpful to some planners and/or fans of planners. Many of the products I mentioned in 2013 and 2014 are still valid and available, but I would like to highlight a few new items that I learned about this year. Also, instead of describing items by categories like books, DVDs, and apparel as I did in the past, I am going to recommend several websites where great gifts for planners may be purchased. Without further ado, here is my 2015 edition of Presents for Plannerds:
If you are reading this article, you are most likely already familiar with this online store. Aside from the more conventional items like books and T-shirts, Planetizen also offers the following: a one-year subscription to Planetizen courses, educational and fun toys, silk scarves, necklaces, ties, coasters, plates, totes, and water bottles (which I received as a birthday gift this year and now use on a daily basis!). If you are looking for gifts for future planners, i.e. kids, please check out this article by Chris Steins, co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.
The American Planning Association (APA)’s online store is where you can find a full range of planning-related books. While most of us probably buy books via Amazon.com, the APA Store has some titles that may not be available on more mainstream sites like Amazon. Some of the new and upcoming releases include: Planning the Pacific Northwest by Jill Sterrett, The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions by Tom Daniels, Reconsidering Ian McHarg by Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa, and Planning Aging-Supportive Communities by Brad Winick. E-books are also available for those prefer to read electronically. Also, if you are looking for a planning-related book as a gift, please consult Planetizen’s latest list of Top 10 Books.
Amazon needs no introduction as most of us already buy books and other products via the site on a regular basis. According to Amazon, here are the top five most popular books in urban planning and development: 1) The Works: Anatomy of a City by Kate Ascher; 2) Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett; 3) Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery; 4) The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs; and 5) Atlas of Cities by Paul Knox.
“If/Then” is a Broadway musical which tells the story of newly-divorced Elizabeth, an urban planner who moves back to New York City for a fresh start. The story offers her two possible futures: in one, she calls herself Liz, marries an Army reservist, and has two children; in the other, she is Beth, a career woman who becomes New York City’s chief planner. This musical is currently playing at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles (until January 3, 2016) and will be on tour across the U.S. with future stops including (but not limited to): San Diego, Tempe, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. If you have already seen the show and enjoyed it, you may want to visit the If/Then online shop. For a review of “If/Then” from a planning perspective, please read this article written by Josh Stephens in the California Planning & Development Report.
Redbubble is an online marketplace for print on demand products based on user submitted artwork. Redbubble operates primarily on the internet and allows its members to sell their art work as decoration on a variety of products. This is a site where you can find a wide variety of urban planning-themed gifts and merchandise, including T-shirts, hoodies, cell phone cases, posters, pillows, tote bags, mugs, art prints, cards, hardcover journals, and photographic prints. Items that stood out to me include the “Vector City” design iPhone case and the “cipher n. 5” T-shirts and hoodies.
Zazzle is an online retailer that allows users to upload images and create their own merchandise (clothing, posters, etc.), or buy merchandise created by other users. Zazzle offers a large selection of urban planning-related gifts. Examples include coffee mugs, T-shirts, and other products that say “Keep Calm and Listen to the City Planner,” “Urban Planning Genius,” “Trust Me, I’m an Urban Planner,” “Do Not Make Me Use My Urban Planning Voice,” and “Urban Planning Saved My Life Once.”
Central Park is probably the most famous park in the U.S. and a must-see if you are traveling to New York City. This is the website to visit if you are searching for Central Park-themed products. The store offers apparel, books, posters, souvenirs, housewares, jewelry, ornaments, and stationary. Unique items include a hand-embroidered Central Park pillow, an illustrated poster of Central Park, and glass Christmas tree ornaments featuring the Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, and Balto.
Another popular public space in New York City is the High Line, which is a linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. The High Line Shop offers apparel (T-shirts, ponchos, sweatshirts, onesies, socks), a full collection of books about the High Line, mugs, Christmas ornaments, toys, umbrellas, and tote bags. Proceeds from sales on this site go to the Friends of the High Line which raises 98% of the High Line’s annual budget.
Metro is the public transportation agency for Los Angeles County, and directly operates both bus and rail transit services. If you are a fan of Metro, Union Station in Los Angeles, or just public transit in general, this is the store for you. Products available at the Metro Store include: a bus and rail icon mug, a “Every Lane is a Bike Land” T-shirt, the Union Station postcard set, a poster and book about Union Station, a “Go Metro” mug, the “Future Rider” onesie, tote bags, and a squeezable stress bus.
CicLAvia is an event held regularly in Los Angeles where streets are closed to automobiles, and open for the public to bike, walk, and skate through the open streets. The store offers apparel (T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies), tote bags, fanny packs, hats, water bottles, bandanas, and bumper stickers. All proceeds from the store benefit future CicLAvia events. In case you are wondering, the next CicLAvia event will be take place in the San Fernando Valley on March 6, 2016.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect the official views or positions of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.