The Thought Leaders Community Planners Must Follow

No one has all of the answers all of the time. That’s why it’s important for planners to have a network of other individuals in their and similar industries – to troubleshoot issues, to come up with new ideas, and to collaborate to make a difference in communities.

Some of the best sources of information and inspiration are thought leaders. Finding these unique and engaging individuals can be challenging, which is why we’ve put together a quick list of handpicked thought leaders you should start following today.

Lynn Richards

Who is she?
Richards has fulfilled many roles in her time, including Acting Director for the US Environmental Protection Agency and Policy Director in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She is now the President and CEO of the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU).

Why she’s one to follow
Richards has adopted a “bottoms up” approach to planning and continues to strive to eliminate gaps between the planning, architecture and engineering professions. She has worked with several local and state governments to successfully develop vibrant and thriving communities through policy, environmental solutions and urban design.

Paul Roberts

Who is he?
Roberts is the founding member of Turnberry Consulting, an outstanding management consultancy firm in Australia who specialise in taking on challenging projects of various scopes.

Why he’s one to follow
With decades of experience under his belt, Roberts is a great source for planners who have an interest in redeveloping communities to meet the demands of today’s modern world. He also has specialised knowledge in unique areas, including racecourses, technology precincts, new town developments and science parks.

Kristy Kelly

Who is she?
Kelly is a planner with 20 years of experience and who served as the CEO of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) from 2011 to 2016.

Why she’s one to follow
With a passion for local development, Kelly’s uses her knowledge and experience in planning and neighbourhood development to help not-for-profits and other organisations achieve outstanding results for their communities. Under her leadership, she not only created healthy and productive communities, but she also grew the influence, membership and financial position of PIA.

Susanne Legena

Who is she?
Legena first served as Executive Director of Plan International Australia’s Advocacy and Community Engagement Department. In 2018 she was promoted to CEO and is a leader in supporting female rights and eliminating child poverty.

Why she’s one to follow
Legena is an innovator and is one of the first to incorporate crowdsourced feedback into the planning and development of communities. She along with others in Plan International Australia launched a crowd map giving girls and women the opportunity to share their personal experiences when in public areas. These unique insights can assist in city planning as well as help local authorities improve safety through the use of public funds.

Dongho Chang

Who is he?
Chang is a city planner from Seattle who has successfully helped communities incorporate smart city technology to help create safer and more sustainable communities.

Why he’s one to follow
Chang’s experience in applying smart city technology to help cities take practical steps in improving their neighbourhoods is invaluable. He has helped many planners come up with effective strategies to measure data for nearly anything so that advantageous changes can be made in cities across the globe.

Expanding your professional knowledge is critical as a modern-day planner, and this shortlist of inspirational individuals is a great place to start. Keep your mind open to other potential thought leaders and continue to share your own knowledge and experience so that others may benefit from you as well.


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