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About Cyburbia

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Dan

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Welcome to Cyburbia!

What is this place? The Cyburbia Forums is a friendly message board built with planners and placemakers in mind, but we also have our fair share of urbanists, suburbanists, small developers, planning and MRED students, and other folks who stumbled in and found a crowd they click with.

Cyburbia Forums members include women and men from a broad range of backgrounds, work and life experiences, and points on the political spectrum. We're Zoomers, Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers. We're a welcoming, supportive, and easygoing bunch. There's no pressure to walk on eggshells or conform to some hive mind, as long as you're not a jerk. Cyburbia users come from around the world, but most are in the Anglosphere, mainly the United States and Canada. There's some Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis here, too.

Cyburbia -- a portmanteau of "cyber" (so 1990s) and "suburbia" (so 1970s) -- went online in October 1994. It started as an unauthorized student project at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. In its early years, its main feature was a catalog of links to the few other planning and architecture related sites on the early Web. In March 1996, I added a primitive message board system to the site. (Many messages from the early years of Cyburbia are still online!) Eventually, it was too hard to keep up with all the changing URLs and new Web sites -- an upstart search engine called Google could do it better than me -- so I shut the index down. Cyburbia also had a blogging platform and image gallery for a little while.

The biggest draw to Cyburbia has always been its message board. Through the years, thousands have posted, responded, made friends, and even found romance. While the focus of discussion is planning practice and other things related to the built environment, we really talk about everything -- beer, politics, home improvement projects, our day-to-day struggles and joys, whatever. A message board might seem kind of retro in the age of social media. However, it's also a lot less ephemeral. There's a sense of community and camaraderie here that you won't find on a large Facebook group, subreddit, anonymous chan, or Discord server.

A working planner, not a wealthy corporation, owns Cyburbia. I pay out-of-pocket to keep the site running. Cyburbia has no ads, sponsors, wealthy benefactors, funding from grants or foundations, or buzz from urbanist bloggers. (It also has no income.) Cyburbia also wouldn't be here if it weren't for the users and moderators that contribute their time and know-how. It's a labor of love for many, and everybody here would like to share it with you.

Cyburbia will be 25 years old in October 2019. I hope you'll be a part of Cyburbia's next 25 years.

Dan
 
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