On TikTok, Teens Stuck in the Suburbs Get the Urbanist Pitch

This educational corner of TikTok is not as popular as makeup tutorial TikTok or viral dance challenge TikTok or healthy-recipe TikTok. But after the platform hooked young people during the pandemic, videos breaking down topics like housing, transportation, architecture and city planning have found a growing audience.

In the burgeoning niche that is CitiesTok, dunking on the suburbs does well (800,000 of the 176 million views on the #suburbs hashtag are on a video about the “profoundly sad” homogeneity of modern suburban developments). So do spins on more traditional TikTok trends with a wonkier flavor (“Gorgeous gorgeous girls advocate for affordable and accessible public transit,” proclaims another post). Self-described “teen architecture enthusiast” Louisa Whitmore, 17, has racked up more than 13 million likes on her @louisatalksbuildings account, with critiques of the Watergate’s brutalism and New York’s super-tall skyscrapers. Jonathon Stalls, 39, uses his growing platform as @pedestriandignity to share reflections from his months walking across the US by foot.