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Thread: Article: Don't leave city planning to the planners

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Article: Don't leave city planning to the planners

    Why non-experts should have last say in changing neighbourhoods.
    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/06/03...g-to-Planners/


    an argument for citizens as partners who are given the same status as planners.
    City-building is like a three-legged stool: planners, the public, and the property industry. If any leg gets too long the edifice is unstable.
    City Council, which sits on the stool, is then in danger of being pitched off.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    and welcome to New England

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I just emailed this article link to all my staff, because you know, in some ways the author is not wrong. We are too easily swayed by the latest idea and our rush to implement it. I aspire to an almost literal German old-school view, and look at the city I'm working for as a living organism, with a personality and needs all its own. I've never approached planning in the same city the same way twice - and I've headed it up basically in four of them. I work hard not to simply apply the latest thinking like some coat of paint onto these streets - HOWEVER, (and it's a big however) the author is dead wrong on the last note: it would be wrong for our profession to simply attempt to reflect the desires and views of citizens (current residents) in the planning process for the future. Maybe if you live in an interesting, kitschy neighborhood in downtown Vancouver that'll fly. The members of the Greatest Generation occupying the east-side neighborhoods in the exurb I'm working for would have housing choice limited to replicated bungalows on 3/4 acre lots, and there wouldn't be a downtown outside of the old drug store. So I take your point, author, but give me a break on your last paragraph load of self-congratulatory dismissal of my professional ability to help "the residents" see that there are other ways to live than their own.

    Sincerely,

    ursus (proud, professional, public, planner)
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    I just emailed this article link to all my staff, because you know, in some ways the author is not wrong. We are too easily swayed by the latest idea and our rush to implement it. I aspire to an almost literal German old-school view, and look at the city I'm working for as a living organism, with a personality and needs all its own. I've never approached planning in the same city the same way twice - and I've headed it up basically in four of them. I work hard not to simply apply the latest thinking like some coat of paint onto these streets - HOWEVER, (and it's a big however) the author is dead wrong on the last note: it would be wrong for our profession to simply attempt to reflect the desires and views of citizens (current residents) in the planning process for the future. Maybe if you live in an interesting, kitschy neighborhood in downtown Vancouver that'll fly. The members of the Greatest Generation occupying the east-side neighborhoods in the exurb I'm working for would have housing choice limited to replicated bungalows on 3/4 acre lots, and there wouldn't be a downtown outside of the old drug store. So I take your point, author, but give me a break on your last paragraph load of self-congratulatory dismissal of my professional ability to help "the residents" see that there are other ways to live than their own.

    Sincerely,

    ursus (proud, professional, public, planner)
    Quoted for truth.

    I'm with you ursus. I cringe when people start getting prescriptive in the Planning world either way (ie this is the way). There are so many different ways. I really just try to make sure I foster the creation of a regulatory framework that permits ease of doing while also benefiting as much of the community as possible.

    I know that sounds vague, but it's not really if you use it as a guiding principle.

    Everyone on each side of the table (and the table has more than two sides) needs to be open minded and actively fight myopia.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    This is hogwash.

    you know what you get when the public and the council decide on land-use?

    http://i.imgur.com/fdNfF1N.jpg

    councils have relegated planners to be paper-pushers and paper-pushers alone. do we have all the permits? no - better apply for a permit to prolong the timeframe for getting the permits.

    our best neighborhoods were built in the 20s/30s. across this country these neighborhoods represent both the beauty and pride of our communities.

    On a more practical level, my picture shows neighborhoods that will be almost impossible to redevelop.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Does a great job of lumping all planners into one category like we're all working in NYC. I understand about not jumping on trends, but you can't expect the "non-expert" citizens to know what's good for them. It sounds harsh, but the author compares the public to Jane Jacobs who was a thoughtful and intelligent person. The general public gets angry about a dog park being built to close and doesn't care about the lead spewing factory next door. The trend part I've always had a problem with though. I've had too many planners look at projects demanding the latest downtown trend for a suburban neighborhood. You have to know what your city is and what it wants. You also have to know where and how to implement the latest trend. Sometimes your city wants it, it just doesn't know since it's never seen it.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  7. #7
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    I cannot deny some points but as mentioned above you should not throw all city planners into one pot!
    But what I really think is that everybody should get involved! Not just complaining but bringing up constructive ideas and this is possible!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by moodo View post
    I cannot deny some points but as mentioned above you should not throw all city planners into one pot!
    But what I really think is that everybody should get involved! Not just complaining but bringing up constructive ideas and this is possible!
    Yes!! My town adopted a downtown plan a year ago and since then, even those citizens that participated heavily in that process, are against aspects of the downtown plan. All that money for a plan and the items the citizens want adopted could've been done by now without a downtown plan.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    You can always come over here where the city is shoving a downtown plan down everyone's throat. People want to redevelop downtown, they just don't want to open up a closed river bypass and redo all the bridges just so the new downtown can have some water.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Four Words: Give. Me. A. Break

    Stop and Jane and Jacobs. Give me a freakin' break. The rest of the opinion falls apart right after than opening sentence - it assumes that our citizenry is composed of Janes and Jacobs. It's not, it's made up of, for the most part of people you want strip malls, cul-de-sacs, eight lane highways, fast food drive-throughs on every corner. If anyone thinks it was planners who alone got us into the sprawling mess we're in now they have another think coming - you can start with the "common" citizen who elected officials who end up in the back pockets of developers. Not that the planning profession is guiltless but Give. Me. A. Break. If anything, we, as a profession are playing catch up to popular sentiment but to say planners did it all is classic tail wagging the dog nonsense. For the most part, we, as planners, are glorified paper pushers, keeping our heads down trying to make it to vesting, or retirement or both.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    As a profession we suffer from original sin brought about by early arrogance. We will forever be dealing with the spectre of urban renewal - and, for those of us who take it to the next level, the lost opportunity that all those federal funds could have given us in terms of ability to rehab and restore our downtowns.

    Having said all that, this kind of column is not particularly helpful. There is a great deal that good City Planning can offer - and, yes, there is value in the professional expertise we offer in that process.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    IMO this article is right, we shouldn't be leaving city planning to planners. We're too sentimental to what the public wants and politically exposed to the pressures from developer backed politicians. Instead, we should be more like architects/fascists and dictate to the public what should happen based on known smart growth methods. That way, we'd have coherent, cohesive, thoughtful, beautiful, and more efficient cities. But hey, it's a compromise between joe public that doesn't want anything built in their backyard/mcdonalds on every corner and the politician that greases the wheels for developer projects.

  13. #13
    And what happens when it's in a county and not a city? Not all planning is city planning.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    And what happens when it's in a county and not a city? Not all planning is city planning.
    Good point, or regional planning for that matter. Where I'm working right now, our regional planning is critical - and yet underfunded and not utilized. But it really should be where our focus is. Thinking about things in that light makes the article seem near-sighted, exclusionary and isolationist. It's the Nixon administration of planning articles.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  15. #15
    It feeds the myth that the only planning is done in cities, specifically big cities.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    And what happens when it's in a county and not a city? Not all planning is city planning.
    Ha, tell that to APA.
    The content contrarian

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