Urban planning community

Poll results: What will last

Voters
28. You may not vote on this poll
  • New Urbanism

    3 10.71%
  • Smart Growth

    15 53.57%
  • Creative Class

    2 7.14%
  • Get real, none of them will last or work

    4 14.29%
  • other (explain below)

    4 14.29%
+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: What is real, and what will help?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Someplace between yesterday and tomorrow.
    Posts
    12,450

    What is real, and what will help?

    With the recent list of Planner Jargon, I am kind of confused about what is real and what is not, what works and what does not, and more importantly, what will the future hold and what the past was. Right now we have things like Creative Class, New Urbanism, Smart Growth, and Traditional Neighborhood Development. Being a Young Independent Professional Male, I know what I would look for in an area to live in (which is yet another reason I moved to the Kalamazoo Area) but more so and a planner, I wonder what is the right direction to look to when thinking about ways not only to improve the community I live in, but also attract the type of people, business, and lifestyle that will allow this community to grow in the right direction.

    Ok, I know that I might as well be asking for the fountain of youth while I am at it, but what are your thought on what will last, and what will pass.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    1,263
    I voted smart growth, though I believe many elements of smart growth are really what planning has always been about. People need a buzz phrase like smart growth to latch on to.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    2,447
    My thoughts are that they are just new ways of repackaging a number of key underlying principles, and while the jargon and personalities and branding will come and go, the underlying principles won't change much. For example, a lot of the things that define 'new urbanism' are the same things that we like about 'old' urbanism. As you say, michaelskis, you know what it is you would look for when choosing where to live, and you wouldn't go out and read up on the latest trend to figure that out.

    Maybe someone knows of a good article that addresses your question??

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,938
    Some elements of all of these are, as JNL says, old ideas that have simply been repackaged. Other parts are new. Some will last, others won't. Hopefully, it is the good ideas that will still be used years from now.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,208
    another for smart growth

    This is really the way you want to work and the way your community works.

    Smart Growth is not just urban growth boundaries, but planning the functions of a place for the present, near future, and farther future. Basically, planning (as ludes says), but understanding that guided growth is good and desirable.

    Plus, look for a small to medium, older industrial city, because the grit levels of such places are usually just right!
    Last edited by mendelman; 20 Jan 2004 at 5:38 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    440
    Aren't all of these terms repackaged??? Look at history, and even recent european history and you'll find similar attributes in their planning, ofcourse packaged under different terminology. The difference is the U.S. / N. America in most areas has not reached the population numbers / loss of land to address the problem in a concerted effort in most regions. However, that is what planning is all about. Learn from history and change course before we go over the falls... I believe they all have their place, though some aspects of New Urbanism are very trendy.

    Just my 2 1/2 cents worth...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    1,263
    I would agree that they all are repackaged, but I think smart growth as a buzz phrase to describe concept(s) will be around long after the others have faded. I don't hear new urbanism and creative class from people who aren't planners, developers, architects, engineers, etc. I hear smart growth from anyone and everyone, even when they have no idea what it is.

  8. #8

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    I am willing to bet that Smart Growth will fade like the other buzz words planners have used over the years. I have watched the use of the term cause considerable distress in at least one rural county. People figure that if your growth is "smart" theirs must be "dumb." Maybe that is not an issue in suburbia?

    When Karen and I put together our book we avoided all of these terms. Smart Growth appears in one of the case studies as the name of a committee, that's it. As others have said, there are some fundamentals. I have report from one of the pioneer planners, Russell Van Nest Black that he wrote as a young man, in the early '20's, in which he touches on virtually everything we still talk about. Sometimes I wonder if we are communicating well, mostly I think that the American ego accepts responsibility to a community very poorly. And we aren't going to change that with buzz words or tag lines. My biggest frustration with planning right now is in wondering whether there is any way to work with people at the level of the world view or mental model that underlies it all. Sometimes I think I need to retool as a psychotherapist.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,895
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Plus, look for a small to medium, older industrial city, because the grit levels of such places are usually just right!
    yep, Quietly, my town is staging a slow revitalization. It's not the *hip* place for young professionals or "creative" people yet but it the elected are starting to realize what architectural valuables and unique resources this town has. I heard news yesterday that starbucks is going to put 5 locations here. Previously, none. That may signify a change :-P

    However, smart growth and new/old urbanism. Planners need to relinquish strict control and allow development in the built environemnts to evolve. Plan for neighborhood character building and work intamitely with existing property owners to help them improve/maintain their properties in older built neighborhoods. (planning to prevent decline) Anything that controls automobile sized growth and focus on quality and multi-modal transportation is a postivie planning theory. (planning for growht)
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I am willing to bet that Smart Growth will fade like the other buzz words planners have used over the years.
    I, personally, dislike the term "smart growth". To me, it suggests that there is a nice, neat "McSolution" (and would like a side of fries with that?). If good planning were not complex, you wouldn't have so few planning degrees at the Bachelor's level and so very many at the Master's level. There is no nice, simple, 3 or 4 point formula for doing this well.

    [politically incorrect] As for your comments about Americans not readily taking to responsibility for a community: I think that is partly because this country was founded by the religious groups that had no place else to go, the criminals trying to start their lives over, the people desperate enough to sell themselves into 7 years of indentured servitude to pay their way over here, etc. Americans largely grow out of the gene pool of folks who were too agressive, too different, etc to "fit in" over in Europe. There is also a cultural heritage that goes along with that. Australia is the one country I can think of with values and culture similar to our "rugged individualism" mentality. And Australia started as a penal colony. It is a wonder we managed to come up with any paradigms that worked to turn all this riff-raff into some kind of functional country.[/politically incorrect]

  11. #11

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    Michele: You are so right. And as someone who has worked primarily in the Interior West, I can tell you that this phenomenom is heightened in places settled by people who didn't "fit in" back East. Karen and I sometimes speculate on how long it will take us to be a settled people. Another 200 years?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Lee, respectfully: you are asking the wrong person. I have no desire to see America become "settled". Creativity is an inherently chaotic process. I promote real tolerance for diversity wherever I go. I am one of those 'misfits' and my sons are definitely misfits. It is not in my best interest to promote homogeneity. But you can promote community and diversity. The more I promote genuine tolerance for diversity, the calmer a place becomes -- and the more enriched it is by the presence of people with a different take on an issue and enough acceptance to be willing to state their "weird" ideas. Differentness ceases to be so threatening and, therefore, ceases to be a reason in and of itself to attack someone -- or to "defend" yourself.

    America has some excellent paradigms. We educate the world. Okay, our k-12 schools SUCK (and don't get me hypothesizing on why that is!!). But a lot of higher education of other people happens here. Why? Because we have the freedom of mind necessary to foster good universities. They stuck Galileo in jail for daring to question their IDEAS. Sheesh. Freedom of speach, freedom of religion, etc. and all the chaos that goes with it is life-giving. America is the hope of this world. We are the "nuts" and pioneers who are unafraid to go out into the wilderness and wrestle it to the ground and make it ours.

    Geniuses are almost all "defective" and they are certainly all "misfits". Temple Grandin has some wonderful stuff to say about that -- thank goodness, because now I can put up some links to her stuff on my website (when I am finished revamping it) and I don't have to re-invent the wheel. I have no desire whatsoever to turn America into some version of Europe. They threw out the people's that didn't fit because "we" (our ancestors) were intolerable. And "we" created a society that tolerates a lot more than they ever would. Have you ever heard of the Bible? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." and such? I think America is the most civilized place on the planet. We put up with the "human garbage" of the world -- and use it as fertile ground upon with to sow the seeds of the future.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    MKS
    Posts
    2,847
    What are these words, really? They are marketing phrases for politicians and planners. They will all fade away and be replaced by new words, just like the cool slang word “rad” from the 80’s was replaced by “bad” in the 90’s. :-P

    The words mentioned all have pretty loose definitions. In fact, I think the word “smart growth” has already lost its meaning and “new urbanism” is becoming a joke word, being replaced by the more popular and simpler “mixed or multi-use” when a development is talked about.

  14. #14

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    I don't think we ever can be "settled" in the sense of knowing how to care for the land and each other until we also understand how to tolerate diversity. For the most part (there are exceptions), the most difficult places to do planning are also the most homogenous.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    People will take responsibility for a community if they feel like they are part of a community. I think the lack of sense of community is a big factor i America and that is one thing I think needs to be addressed. I am not sure how to do that at a municipal or county level (or whatever).

    But I do know that I, personally, set a very high bar for treating people in a way that makes them feel genuinely accepted and welcomed with open arms and I know that when I can set that as the tone for a group, it makes all members feel more like they are part of a community and genuinely welcomed, not merely tolerated. It is often the (seemingly) "small stuff" that makes the "misfits" horribly aware of not 'fitting' -- and it can be completely invisible to the people who don't have an issue with it.

    I am trying to think of an example. The best one I can come up with is a little bit long and involved (my apologies): I belong to an online forum that is aimed primarily at homeschoolers of gifted kids but also welcomes people who want to do enrichment ("afterschooling") for their kids who are in school. Unlike folks who homeschool for religious reasons, most folks who homeschool their gifted kids did not plan to do so from birth. Many of us feel totally forced into it and feel like "refugees" from a school system that did not work for us/our kids. Naturally, many members of the list carry a lot of emotional baggage about their school experiences and there is a historical tendency on the list to "vent" about what "terrible" places schools are. The minority of members who still have kids in school find the tendency towards "school bashing" to be toxic behavior that makes them feel like "outsiders" who aren't really welcomed, just sort of "put up with" if they will keep their mouths shut about their icky choice of sending their kids to school.

    But I think it is really important to make sure 'they" feel comfortable there (list policy says they are welcome and I back that wholly). Some people show up on the list in the midst of a crisis, trying to decide what to do. Their kids are still in school and they sign up for the list as part of their efforts to research their options and they are considering homeschooling as an option. If they feel judged for having their kid(s) in school and unable to openly discuss it -- if they feel they have to treat it like 'a dirty secret' -- then they are much less likely to have the kind of discussion that will make them feel genuinely supported as individuals and able to decide for themselves whether or not homeschooling is a viable option for them. The subtle pressure to "get with the program and become One Of Us -- a homeschooler " alienates people who are already in crisis, who find the idea of homeschooling intimidating, etc. Only if they are genuinely openly embraced as individuals with a valid reason for being there and valid needs, regardless of whether their kids are in school or not, will they be able to use the list as a valuable resource. If "acceptance" depends upon having a particular "trait", then no one can ever feel fully accepted.

    So I take every opportunity that I trip across to say that I am not bitter towards the schools, that my kids would not fit in ANY school and it is no one's "fault". I take every opportunity to comment in a positive fashion about situations where some members do "part time" homeschooling, with the kid in public school for the other part. And so forth. It is not solely due to my efforts, not by any stretch, but any time I say things like that, the minority members "come out of the closet" and speak up about doing part-time schooling or whatever. And I am seeing a lot less school-bashing here lately.

    I try to "open the door" -- and to do so with as little confrontation as possible, without making a big deal out of it. But I know that just being willing to "open the door" is risky business and many people will avoid it. I don't mind going down in flames if someone wants to make a big deal out of something. Hey, going down in flames once in a while can be part of the fun! I am pretty thick-skinned and ... well, to me, it is worth it to stand up for things I believe in. "Bars do not a prison make." But I know that if I will take the risk to be the first to speak up, others will follow when the risk is slightly reduced. Just bringing it up promotes awareness. When it is no longer a "shocking" idea, when it is no longer seen as blatantly going against the grain, plenty of people will jump on the bandwagon and others will no longer make such a big deal out of it.

    Anyway, the length of this post and the "rambling" nature suggest that I am probably running a fever. I don't know that it really is relevant or that anyone here "cares" to hear it. My background is 15+ years in "community building" of the organizational kind -- much of it with Army Family Support Groups, which provide training. I have published newsletters (for which I got a training packet), played "hostess", played "help desk" person (contact person -- someone to call when you need infor), etc. My background is in making that kind of person-to-person connection, making folks feel at home in a group situation. Army families tend to be highly diverse, since we move a lot, the Army has a high percentage of minority members, and a lot of guys marry foreign wives, etc. So, my skills have been honed in a way to really, seriously focus on all those "little details" that can make someone self-conscious and can make the difference between whether or not they participate. And ... now I think I should just shut up. (Anyone want to send me a "diary" for my birthday? )

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    India
    Posts
    499
    being replaced by the more popular and simpler “mixed or multi-use” when a development is talked about.
    Although I voted for 'Smart Growth', I prefer the flexible planning approach.
    By smart growth I would mean smart as per that particular time phase.

    Planners need to relinquish strict control and allow development in the built environemnts to evolve.
    I agree here too as I feel that the terms like Development Control should be termed a s Development Promotion and Development Regulation.

    But Leaving everything to the so called 'Market forces" would also lead to another kind of chaos.

    Although the american society has accepted people from all parts of the world and with all kinds of backgrounds the physical/spatial arrangement of most settlements was grid iron, rectangular blocks, numbered and structured and stereotype.
    MAybe that balancer helped in making America what it is today.

    Didnt Dan or someone talk about Asian cities having so much chaos. Well chaos makes things challenging, interesting and what all. But body needs to do the dirty job( Of planning, regulating). Fortunately this falls on the shoulders of planners( bachelors as well as post graduates- Thankfully more courses are opening for planning at bachelors level)

    Coming back to the topic
    Smart Growth is not just urban growth boundaries, but planning the functions of a place for the present, near future, and farther future. Basically, planning (as ludes says), but understanding that guided growth is good and desirable.
    You say so much in those lines Mendelman. I salute you!!
    "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them".
    -Isaac Asimov

  17. #17
    Member Citylover's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    St. Louis (Chesterfield)
    Posts
    16
    I voted for New Urbanism

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Santa is Not Real
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 24
    Last post: 01 Jan 2007, 12:37 PM
  2. The REAL Real Thing: Passover Coke!
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 17
    Last post: 01 Apr 2006, 9:45 AM
  3. Replies: 12
    Last post: 15 Feb 2006, 8:43 AM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 01 Dec 2003, 5:47 PM
  5. A REAL election?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 20 Nov 2003, 7:03 PM