Jonathan Barnett

PennIUR Fellow; Emeritus Professor of Practice
City & Regional Planning


B.A., Yale University
M.A., University of Cambridge
M. Arch, Yale University

Jonathan Barnett is an emeritus Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning, and director of the Urban Design Program, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an architect and planner as well as an educator, and is the author of numerous books and articles on the theory and practice of city design.

He has been an advisor to the cities of Charleston, SC, Cleveland, Kansas City, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Norfolk, Omaha, and Pittsburgh in the United States and Xiamen and Tianjin in China. He has also been an advisor to several U.S. Government agencies including the National Park Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Capitol Planning Commission.

A magna cum laude graduate of Yale, Mr. Barnett also holds an M.A. degree from the University of Cambridge and an M. Arch from Yale. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and also a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

He has been the William Henry Bishop visiting professor at Yale, the Eschweiler Professor at the University of Wisconsin, the Kea Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland, and the Sam Gibbons Eminent Scholar at the University of South Florida.
Jonathan Barnett was awarded the Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban Design and Regional Planning. He also received the Athena Medal from the Congress for the New Urbanism.


His recent work on large-scale urban development and redevelopment projects includes a 2500 hectare planned community in Cambodia, an urban design plan for the whole city of Omaha, Nebraska and a transit-oriented design plan for the City of Xiamen in China, as well as a resort plan in Busan, Korea and a plan for the Cumberland riverfront in downtown Nashville. His earlier work includes reuse plans for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the Treasure Island Naval Station in San Francisco, and for the former air force base in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He has also helped prepare re-use plans for former railway yards in Philadelphia and Sacramento, California. He has been the urban designer for studies of the Ocean View Avenue corridor in Norfolk, the Highway 111 corridor plan for Indian Wells, California, and the Euclid Corridor transportation plan in Cleveland.

His work on suburban development includes prototypes for the Third Regional Plan for New York; the urban design for Daniel Island, a 4500 acre planned community near Charleston, S.C.; and the master plans for the Village of Irvington (NY),Wildwood (MO); and Brookfield (WI).


Books written by Jonathan Barnett include Urban Design as Public PolicyIntroduction to Urban Design; The Elusive City: Five Centuries of Design, Ambition, and Miscalculation; The Fractured Metropolis: Improving the New City, Restoring the Old City, Reshaping the Region; and Redesigning Cities, a book on the current practice of city design. He was the editor of the book, Planning for a New Century, based on a seminar with guest lecturers given at the University of Pennsylvania.

His newst book is City Design:  Modernist, Traditional, Green, and Systems Perspectives, published by Routledge in 2011.   Another recent book is Smart Growth in a Changing World, published by Planners Press in 2007.   With John Beckham he contributed a chapter, "Reconstructing New Orleans, a Progress Report" to Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.  Jonathan Barnett also contributed two chapters, "Place Making" and "Omaha by Design" to Local Planning:  Contemporary Principles and PRactice, ICMA 2009 and a chapter, "The Way We Were, The Way We Are," in Urban Design, University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Other recent publications include "Omaha by Design" in Harvard Design Magazine, Spring/Summer 2005; "Planning Downtown Brooklyn" in Urban Land, January 2006;  "Old Industrial Waterfronts are Big Opportunities for Replanning Cities" in International New Landscape, August 2006, “Coastal Cities Face Rising Sea Levels”(with John Beckman)  in Planning, September, 2007,  “Daniel Island” in Urban Land, January, 2008, and “Design for Rising Sea Levels (with Kristina Hill) in Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 2008/Winter 2009


Professor Barnett taught the Urban Design Studio which deals with large-scale regional and city-wide urban design and sustainability issues. Recent studios have included a plan for the expansion of the city of Granada in Spain, a study of alternative futures for the seven-county Orlando region in Florida, a campus plan for Dongguk University in Seoul, Korea, a study of alternative futures for the entire state of Florida looking ahead to 2060, and design guidelines for the planned new administrative capital of Korea in Sejong City. A recent studio, Impacts of Climate Change in the Delaware River Basin, received a national award from the American Planning Association in 2009. His 2010 studio, Connecting for Gobal Competitiveness, Florida's Super Region, can be seen on the website. His 2011 studio was Designs for Green and Walkable Cities: Development Opportunities in Fort Worth.