Keywords in Journal of the American Planning Association Articles, 1975 until 2017

This week’s visualization is a bite in the ass; I’m ready to tear my hair out. Let’s just say this: my original plan was to see if I could find where the “sprawl” discourse really began in planning, at least in this journal….and I have some ideas, but none of the text analysis tools I used gave me a #@@$!! thing.

Since I have to go off to graduation this morning, and they really prefer that one both put on pants and brush the teeth, I’ll just throw what I have so far up here for discussion. For all the kvetching I’ve heard over the years that JAPA spends too much time on transportation, these data don’t show that.

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JAPA needs to change its book review format

There, I said it.

750 words is not enough to engage in an intelligent discussion of a book-length work. Either planners read and take books seriously, or they don’t, and 750 words suggests no, we don’t take books seriously. As a result, most book reviews wind up sound churlish, amateurish, or like the reviewer didn’t bother to read the book. And I strongly suspect that many reviewers do not read carefully as they know they can slough through 750 words of careless skimming.

Just for two instances:

I have a great deal of respect for Emily Talen, but the limited scope of her book review of Paul Knox’s makes it sound like she’s on some ideological rant instead of reviewing. I *know* Talen has intellectual reasons for calling out Knox here, and I would actually like to read her reasoned argument, instead of what she can cram into 750 words. I know in general her normative positions on planning models and cities; I’d like to see her take on the particulars of that book. You can only really do that in a review essay and higher expectations.

BTW, my own reviews for JAPA are pretty lame, too, given the 750 word format.

There is a a market for serious, long-form reviews on urban ideas, and that gap currently gets addressed in the major book review publications–London Review of Books, New York, Los Angeles, etc. While those are wonderful, it means that few planners are famous enough to get to the nod. Instead, it’s the same people: Mike Davis, David Harvey, Witold Rybczynski, Richard Florida. And the world hears enough from those guys.

Squee! The Journal of Transportation Statistics is back, warming my nerdy little heart!

I lurrrrrrrrrrved the Journal of Transportation Statistics. Lurrrrrrved it! Then it went dark, I suspect because the staffer who made it possible moved on, and nobody else had the interest. JTS, and David Levinson’s and Kevin Kryzek’s Journal of Transportation and Land Use always gave me great hope for the future of electronic journals. In both cases, the content has been superb.

I got this call for papers yesterday:

BTS is re-introducing the Journal of Transportation and Statistics, and has issued a call for papers focused on Transportation Safety. Interested authors are encouraged to submit abstracts to by December 1, 2011, Please share this message with others within your university as appropriate.

Submissions may be related to ANY MODE of transportation, with an emphasis on analyses of safety data whose results would be of potential interest to policy makers.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration in the US Department of Transportation, is reintroducing the Journal of Transportation and Statistics with the first issue being a special issue on Transportation Safety. We invite submissions relating to any mode of transportation, with an emphasis on analyses of safety data whose results would be of potential interest to policy makers.

All papers will be peer-reviewed. Please send an electronic copy of your paper to Peg Young (, to whom all inquiries should also be directed. Authors planning to submit papers are encouraged to send an abstract to Dr. Young by December 1, 2011.

Manuscript submission guidelines will be posted shortly at the JT&S website: The cut-off date for accepting completed manuscripts is February 1, 2012. The tentative publication date of this issue of the Journal is late 2012.

Dr. Peg Young, Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Transportation and Statistics
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room E34-304
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 202/366-2483