Any chance any of you might have picked up the latest issue of National Geographic, cover date July 2001?
There is an article in there called "Urban Sprawl" that might be of interest to planners. I have a subscription and it came in my mailbox last week. I thought the article was a rather innocuous, over-worked rehash of the issues that have become the staple of our everyday work-lives. But of course, that's just MY opinion. And thanks to planetizen.com, their news section points you toward an editorial for an Athens, GA paper regarding the NatGeo article. The URL is:
I have no idea who the author is (I live in Michigan and have been to Athens once, almost ten years ago), but he writes:
"By the power of the printed word, I now declare the July 2001 issue of National Geographic magazine required reading for all elected officials and community planners."
Of course, his declaration will probably have no real impact on planning; his intent is probably more bent toward getting your attention to read his editorial about an issue that he feels strongly about. Along those lines, has anyone else out there in the Cyburbia comminity read the latest issue of NatGeo? I would love to hear your reactions. These types of magazines (the types with heavy advertising and pretty pictures aimed for mass consumption) do tend to influence public opinion and can percolate through the minds of decision makers and I was wondering what affect, if any, this article could have for planning and development.
Personally, I thought the article was rather worthless. Lots of pretty pictures; images we planners readily understand. Plenty of statistics are peppered throughout the text with loose, if any at all, references to a solid quantitative basis other than the length of the audience's heart-strings.
Though this presentation is acceptable for a magazine of this type, I did find the two-page "Sprawl at Night" map/diagram unexcusable. For some reason, the editors allowed the map to show a distinction between development prior to 1993 and development after 1993. What's so special about 1993? As I read the article, no reason was stated; in fact, the 1993 division was never addressed. As a publisher that prides itself on map making (or perhaps cartography, or perhaps not), why would they overlook that important detail? But of course, as a land use planner, details like that are quite important to me.
Anyone have thoughts?