Can you believe that it is almost the middle of December already? Well, it is that time of the year again when many of us think about giving and receiving presents. I previously shared some ideas on the perfect gifts for planners, architects, landscape architects, and other related professionals in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 which have turned out to be a few of my most read articles. I am glad to know that my lists have been helpful (and perhaps entertaining?) to some planners and/or fans of planners. Without further ado, here is my 2017 edition of Presents for Plannerds:
Generally, plannerds like me love to read and/or collect books. I may not have the time to read everything, but I want to at least have the books in my collection so that I can read them in the future or whenever I am able to. Here are a few lists to consider in your search for a book for your favorite planner(s):
- Planetizen’s Top Ten Planning Books for 2017
- APA Books
- Books by ASLA Members
- AIA Store Books
- Amazon.com Top Books on Urban Planning
- Barnes & Noble Top Books on Urban Planning
- Los Angeles Times Best Sellers
- New York Times Best Sellers
Besides reading, I think most plannerds also enjoy watching movies, documentaries, and comedies that may or may not be directly related to our work. Here are some of my favorites:
- Aerial America
- Parks and Recreation
- The Office
- History Channel shows
- National Geographic shows
- Smithsonian Channel shows
All plannerds typically love to learn and have a constant thirst or hunger for more planning knowledge. Course subscriptions may not sound like the most exciting gifts, but they are practical and may be perfect for those plannerds who want to learn more about certain topics or prepare for the AICP certification exam. Planetizen offers a wide variety of online courses which are convenient for planners too busy to attend classes in person. I have personally taken a few of the courses and found them to be very helpful. Listed below are just a few of the courses offered by Planetizen; for a complete listing, be sure to check out Planetizen’s course website:
- AICP Exam Prep Primer
- Storytelling for Planners
- Conceptual Drawing for Planners
- Mobile Drawing Apps for Planners
- Writing Master Plans, From Start to Finish
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that there is actually a wide variety of clothing items for plannerds, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, ties, and scarves.
- Café Press: Café Press offers over 1,000 items under the category of “Urban Planning”! They range from a sweatshirt bearing Daniel Burnham’s face and his famous quote “Make no little plans…” to a coffee mug bearing the words “Keep Calm and Trust a City Planner” to onesies that say “Future Urban Planner” or “I love Urban Planning.”
- Planetizen: Its online store lists the following items: neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps; T-shirts with city maps; silk scarves with city maps; and necklaces with pendants that are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities.
- Zazzle: If you do a search on “urban planning” on Zazzle’s website, you will find that it offers all types of apparel and other gifts suitable for plannerds. For example, Zazzle offers T-shirts with sayings like “Urban Planning Genius,” “I do all my own Urban Planning Stunts,” “Eat, Sleep, Plan,” “Ask me about urban planning,” “This is what a COOL URBAN PLANNER looks like,” and “Master of Urban Planning”. Also available are aprons, hats, and ties.
Fun and Educational Items
Here are two fun and educational items that I would like to highlight for those who enjoy model building:
- LEGO Architecture: As I shared in “LEGOs and Urban Planning” I grew up playing with and loving LEGOs. LEGO Architecture was not around when I was a kid, but I am glad it is available now. Although intended for children, I think even grown-ups may want to start building and collecting the models in this series.
- URBAN FOLD: I learned about URBAN FOLD a couple of years ago and was so excited about it that I contributed to its Kickstarter campaign. Essentially, it allows folks to build their own city using paper. URBAN FOLD may be described as a cross between LEGO and origami where flat 2D paper shapes are transformed into 3D paper blocks and art forms.
Also, as I shared in this article, the National Building Museum has an online store which includes The Toy Shop offering items like models and crafts, games and puzzles, and building blocks. (Books about the built environment and a diverse array of design-related housewares, watches, and office accessories can also be found at the online store.) In addition, I recommend checking out Chris Steins’ blog post entitled Urban Planning Gift Ideas for Children (Your Budding Planner).
Smart Phone-related Items
Just about everyone has a smart phone these days. Here are a few phone-related items:
- Apps: It may be a good idea to give a plannerd an iTunes gift card so that s/he can purchase the apps of her/his choice. I have previously talked about some apps of particular use or interest to planners in “Smart Phones Can Make Smart Planners.” A few of the apps cost money, but some are free.
- Phone Cases: While we are on the topic of smart phones, may I also suggest phone cases as good presents? A few years ago, I gifted myself a phone case featuring a map of Central Park in New York City. It is certainly nerdy, but very appropriate for a park planner like me. Both Amazon and Zazzle offer wonderful selections of phone cases featuring city scenes and maps.
The above list is certainly not intended to be exhaustive and just highlights some items that I think are good presents for plannerds. We have all heard the saying “it is better to give than to receive.” I agree with these timeless words of wisdom and believe that when we have the ability and capacity to give, we should. I think that most plannerds would not mind receiving any of the above items. And even if s/he does not care for material things, most (if not all) plannerds would appreciate the thought and welcome some words of appreciation, encouragement, and support, especially during this time of year.
Note: Photo by author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.