Having people watch him is nothing new to Dave Amos. By day Amos is a planning professor at Cal Poly and by night they are a YouTuber with almost half a million subscribers.
Amos arrived at Cal Poly in the Fall of 2021 and began their youtube channel City Beautiful in January of 2017, according to the faculty spotlight from Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design website. This month marks the fifth anniversary of the channel’s beginning.
The channels’ videos are centered around cities and city planning, and cover topics like transportation, land use planning and urban design.
With Amos arriving to campus only a quarter ago, they are still settling into being a professor and a famous Youtuber. Between balancing both these jobs Amos said their days are filled with teaching and their evenings and weekends are devoted to their youtube channel.
“Managing burnout, I think, is my biggest challenge, like making sure that I’m balancing that I also have a family –– three kids –– so between family, YouTube and working as a professor it’s a juggling act,” Amos said.
At their channel’s inception, Amos would post one video a month, but now that they have a team it allows them to simply focus on writing and recording themselves. The team works on everything else.
“I am lucky now that I have folks to help me produce the videos,” Amos said.
Before their team, Amos said that it would take them a week to research and write a script then another week to produce the video. With the additional help, they can stretch out the writing process.
Amos tries to post at least two videos a month and they try to go to each place that they do a video on. For their most recent video, “Let’s Redesign the Las Vegas Strip,” Amos was able to go and visit in person.
“I like to, when I can, COVID permitting, travel to places and then get a sense for what’s going on in a new city and reporting back out to my audience,” Amos said.
Kriselle Gabriel is a long-time youtube consumer and a two-year subscriber of City Beautiful. She is quick to praise Amos’ videos and channel. When asked about her favorite video she said, “they are all so good.”
Gabriel decided to subscribe to the channel since she used to work in marketing in the architecture industry and worked with urban designers and city planners. Although she is no longer in the field, the channel allows her to keep up with the industry.
Gabriel said that she appreciates how Amos’ videos incorporate more than just the buildings and design.
“He also seems to acknowledge how systemic racism and policies and stuff come into play and how they affect the way that the built environment is designed,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel also believes that Amos’ students are lucky to learn from them.
“He seems to be very well balanced in his analysis videos in the way he teaches,” Gabriel says.
At the beginning of Amos’ youtube career, it took them four months to create their first video. Even with all of that effort, the channels did not take off. For the first eight months, Amos said no one watched.
“I think I had 16 subscribers and half of those were my family members,” Amos said.
When one of their videos hit 500 views, Amos said that felt amazing.
Then, on a whim, they decided to post one of their videos to the urban planning subreddit, which then got him around 1,000 views. Then, one day, one of their videos just took off and boom –– Amos had 15,000 subscribers.
Although Amos has made hundreds of videos, they have their favorites.
“I’m really proud of my video on Gary Indiana which is my most viewed video,” Amos said. The video currently has 5.3 million views in three months.
Another one of Amos’ favorite videos is the history of planning in 15 minutes. According the them, they have not seen a video of that extensive planning history in bite-size pieces.
Currently Amos has 471,000 subscribers and over 100 videos. His content can be found here.