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16 Awesome Gifts for Citymakers - Your 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

With just 12 (shopping) days left before Christmas, we’re bring back - the now third edition of - our ultimate gift guide for all those urban planners, data geeks, and city-lovers in your life! Once again, our team has revealed their top picks for the holiday season, guaranteed to WOW your very own citymaker for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day (Los Reyes Magos), Festivus or whatever other holiday you're celebrating this season. Check them out below, and if you need even more ideas, check out our previous guides: 2017 and 2016.

Sidenote:  If you're interested in giving the "gift" of better places, we'd love to help! Our urban data & predictive analytics software quantifies what people love about cities (what makes them walkable, livable, sustainable) and automatically recommends ways to make them better - while maximizing ROI and making the investment case for great places. We love to help citymakers can actually get awesome places people love - DONE, effectively and cost-efficiently - and have fun while at it using our easy SimCity-like scenario tool! Preview our platform, send us a note, or book a time to chat

For the Urban Planning Nerd




Assemble the first two layers of the puzzle to form a map of the city's streets, islands, roads, railways, parks, and geography. When the base layers are complete, you're ready for a trip through history!


Elise says:

I thought these 4D city puzzles were pretty cool! They also give some historical context about when different buildings were built. It’s like SimCity you can actually touch and feel. Great for game night!

For the Home



Or this streetscape and farmer’s market in Scotland!


Creative prints of watercolor paintings of international public spaces

<—- like this Italian public market!

scotland streetscape.jpg

Kelliann says: 

Watercolor scenes of urban spaces bring such joy to a home! A reminder of how big and diverse the world is, and how possible it is to create place that touches our hearts and serves our public needs!

MISSED CONNECTIONS MTA POSTER (Fan Fave from last year!)

$25 - $169

"A whimsically illustrated art card by Sophie Blackall about Missed Connections on the Subway."


mariela (1).png

Mariela says: 

Back when I was living in NYC full time, one day, I happened upon this super cute poster in the train and it immediately brought a smile to my face! It perfectly captures the experience of riding the NYC subway - from its mundane routineness to its am-I-really-seeing-what-I-think-I'm-seeing ridiculousness! For years I wondered how to get one of these posters and bring a little whimsy to my walls. So happy I found it and can now share it with you guys too!


$65 - $115

Handmade custom cutout paper maps! There are more than 15 different cities from which to choose!


kelliann says:

I’m a huge fan of simple graphic representations of city maps, and in particular, I have affection for this one: of New Orleans. This artist offers multiple cities (and custom cities) as cut out maps for the placemaking aficionado in your life!




Typography maps featuring city neighborhood names (90 options available)



Fluent Forever

“From Zero to Fluent in Six Months” - that’s what the Fluent Forever app boldly claims! It uses neuroscience techniques (we like the sound of that!) to effectively learn any language - and actually retain it too!


Andy says:

Make your foreign urban adventure even better with the most comprehensive and tech savvy way learn a foreign language. The app is based on the hugely successful book Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner and brings together all of Wyner's foreign language learning research. I've personally used the Fluent Forever process to learn two languages and can't wait to learn the next one on the new app.





Barbara Brown Wilson looks at less conventional, but often more effective methods to make communities more resilient. These vulnerable communities have prevailed in spite of serious urban stressors such as climate change, gentrification, and disinvestment. She shows how community-driven design projects in underserved neighborhoods can not only change the built world, but also provide opportunities for residents to build their own capacities. 


This is an invaluable resource for city & transit-lovers. It has reviews of 47 metropolitan areas, including maps, histories, as well as crafted opinions from an esteemed creative planner, Christof Spieler! Highly Recommend!


kelliann says:

It is so incredible seeing the maps of so many systems all together. This book has up to date, thorough, information, and Christof’s narrative is on point. I learned a lot from looking through this book and considering how transit systems compare to one another on multiple levels.

Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change


“"[An] enthusiastic volume… Tactical Urbanism serves as a how-to guide for activists who want to get in on the action…. [a] practical framework for envisioning and executing tactical urbanism projects… It is, basically, the class you never took in design school."

(California Planning & Development Report)


Mariela Says:

SO stoked I finally met Mike Lydon this year in Oslo - best thing is that he totally lived-up to the hype! It’s awesome when someone you stalk on Twitter turns out to be totally awesome in real life! So obviously, I’m recommending his book! But also, tactical urbanism is a great catalyst for change and showcasing the power of place!


In Lucia’s Neighborhood



Inspired by the work of urban studies writer and activist Jane Jacobs, seven-year-old Lucia takes readers on a daylong tour of her own bustling city neighborhood, commenting on all the people and their activities that she encounters along the way.


Mariela says:

Ok, this is SO cool and SO totally makes me want to have a kid - especially a girl! I might just have to get this for both my niece AND goddaughter. Female empowerment and early indoctrination into our urban datageekdom! What’s not to love?

HOW CITIES WORK, from Lonely Planet


This book is great fun and has lot of little flaps to look under, a kid-approved feature.

It’s a well-illustrated teaching tool —and enjoyable for the adult storyteller, too :)







Custom city available, will send mockups first!

Super unique way to express your love for architecture and place





Gift a map of a favorite city as a necklace or ring!


Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia started NFT in 2000 to create a local and independent guide for people who want to experience a particular city whether —you are a long-time or new resident, commuter, business traveler, or tourist.



Premium and Large Scratch Off Travel Maps

This map is a fun and beautiful way to keep track of your experience of traveling the world!


Michelle Says:

What an amazing way to keep track of all the wonderful cities you’ve visited…although we may want this for “the office” too - to keep track of our growing State of Place “family!” ;)



Have fun while traveling with this gamebook— full of questions to make you smile, and think, and wonder — all at once!


Kaustubh says:

This is a game cum book; it looks really interesting whether you are travelling alone or in a group. If travelling alone then this book can be used as an ice breaker or just be played as a game.

Want even more?!? Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our 2017 guide: Our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for City-Lovers and our 2016 edition: 12 Amazing Last Minute Gifts for Urban Planners and Data Geeks!