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If you were going to rearrange Cyburbia's subforums, how would you do it?


Dear Leader
Staff member
I'm working on optional thread prefix tags for new posts, and finding that there can be some overlap in the subforums. It's not a huge issue, but still, it got me thinking about the subforum categories.

Right now, the breakdown is:

* Make No Small Plans - general planning discussion
* Design, Space, and Place - built environment
* Cities and Places - discussion about specific urban settlements
* Land Use and Zoning - zoning, subdivision, general land use, current planning
* Transportation Planning - self-explanatory
* Economic and Community Development - self-explanatory
* Environmental Planning - self-explanatory
* Information Technology - GIS, modeling, software, hardware, etc
* Student Commons - schools and academic life
* Career Development and Advice - self-explanatory
* The Plannersphere - news
* Job Board - jobs
* Announcements - conferences, etc.

Would you start a post about architectural design regulations in Design, Space and Place, or Land Use and Zoning?

Would you talk about Planning Board administration in Make No Small Plans, or Land Use and Zoning?

Would discussion about the visual impacts of solar panels go in Environmental Planning, or Design, Space, and Place?

Would a debate about gentrification be in Make No Small Plans, or Economic and Community Development?

Where would a discussion in infrastructure or capital improvements even go, if it's not related to transportation?

There's really no well-defined taxonomy of planning topics out there. Initially, The APA Bookstore category list influenced the firum categories on Cyburbia. However, it's long gone. The new Routledge categories seem either too broad or too specific. If there was a subforum for every possible topic, discussions would be spread rather thinly. (Best practice in message board administration is to have a smaller number of more general subforums with more messages, than a lot of niche subforums with very few messages.)

Right now, I'm thinking about getting rid of the Plannersphere subforum, moving its posts to the other subforums, and allowing news posts (with a news thread prefix) in the other forums, much like Reddit. I'm also thinking about merging the Job Board and Announcements forums. I'm also mulling over broadening the scope of Design, Space, and Place, and renaming it something like "Placemaking and the Built Environment". However, the other forums -- I don't see where I could merge them, despite a little bit of overlap.

So, let's say it's 2000, at the start of the message board boom era. Cyburbia / PAIRC / whatever never started -- most planners share ideas online through email lists, and a few are holding out on Usenet despite the growing problem of trolling and spam. You have a fresh copy of vBulletin 1.0, and a shared Web hosting account. You're setting up an urban planing message board. You want to keep the number of on-topic sub-forums limited -- 10 to 14 This doesn't include the off-topic forums, like the FAC. How would you do it?
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I say we stick with some of the fun sarcasm that is Cyburbia. If you want serious discussion of Town Next Door or how sprawl is killing everything and we should never build a house again there are forums for that. So make the titles reflect that twist that is this place.

Ask a planner... - We always need a place for the general public to ask questions because they're fighting with their local planner/city on some issue. Maybe put a sticky on top that explains step 1 should always be ask your local planner.
The WTF does this code mean thread - used for planners to post code interpretation questions - maybe combine it with the next one:
Does anyone have a code for this - the trade of codes and where to steal good ideas from - maybe these are just sub threads to the general zoning thread
The My job sucks thread - gotta have a job board
The I have the drinking degree and now I want an actual degree thread - gotta have the student lounge
I assume we keep the FAC in some form - can Stan be incorporated in the name or maybe Macys or RJ?

Another thought, in general we might need:
Student area
Job board/advice
Secure area
Zoning stuff
Design stuff
General stuff
Transportation stuff? - could just go under general or maybe a Planning Specialties section with transit/bike/ped/and other specialty sub threads


I would do it like they do it at SabreSpace: there are several cleverly named forums but everyone posts in a single forum and ignores the others.


Staff member
What about trying breaking it down by the APA Division categories generally? You could consolidate some as well, but maybe something like...

- City Planning and Management
- Economic Development
- Federal and County Planning
- Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy
- Housing and Community Development
- Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery
- Diversity Planning
- Small Town and Rural Planning
- Technology
- New Urbanism
- Planning and Law
- Transportation
- Urban Design and Preservation
- Friday Afternoon Club


Bounty Hunter
Would it be possible that threads are tagged by subject by the thread creator and not be attached to a subforum?