Town Planning Review

Trendy urbanists, innovation laboratories and best practices: in pursuit of ‘progressive’ urban planning in Mexico City

Town Planning Review (2022), 93, (1), 15–35.


This research explores the role of trendy urbanists in best practice uptake within an innovation laboratory in Latin America. Trendy urbanists are the privileged professionals who aspire to be on the cutting edge of urban planning, frequently referencing best practice policies and programmes that they see as supporting ‘livable’ and ‘sustainable’ city building. Taking the case of the Laboratory for the City in Mexico City, I illustrate that the preferred best practices of trendy urbanists are reflective of their own privilege. I conclude that, by relying on best practices and trendy urbanists, innovation laboratories are susceptible to fostering inequitable planning outcomes.

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Author details

Whitney, Ryan A.