Planning in Google Trends

Google Trends is one of those features that make modern life both awkward and amazing. For those who don’t know it, Trends allows mapping volumes of queries on Google in time (since 2004 onwards) and space.

This allows some fun but somehow insightful considerations.

Take, for instance, one of the recent “hypes” in planning literature, the transition, all around the Western world, from land use planning to spatial planning systems – debated, for instance, in this “classic” paper by Geoff Vigar. “Spatial planing” may be the new “orthodoxy” within academe, yet people search for “land use planning” much more.

trends 01

But if one compares them with “urban planning” and “strategic planning”, both “strategic” and “land use” planning disappear for their small relative volume of queries.

trends 02

Yet, as planning researchers and students, we could be “concerned” by the long term trend for all these terms, a trend that shows steady and meaningful reductions.

Is our discipline progressively getting irrelevant?

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