Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Do land use planners or urban planners deal with community planning??

  1. #1
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    63

    Do land use planners or urban planners deal with community planning??

    I have a question: How big is community planning part of your work?

    I'm doing a grad degree in urban planning and I've a b/g in architecture. The planning school i'm at now seem to focus alot on community and especially --equity planning. The truth is, I didn't know that before I came here, and I have little interest in race and equity issues. Day after day I hear professors talk about race, race, race... as if planning is nothing but that.

    Anyway, I just want to know how much weight this kind of community planning figure in everyone's work. If I just want to do design, real estate and land use planning stuff, do I have to deal with race and community?

    I'm more interested in the economics and physical city than people. So am I screwed in the wrong course?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    In the bike lane
    Posts
    1,827
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    I have a question: How big is community planning part of your work?

    I'm doing a grad degree in urban planning and I've a b/g in architecture. The planning school i'm at now seem to focus alot on community and especially --equity planning. The truth is, I didn't know that before I came here, and I have little interest in race and equity issues. Day after day I hear professors talk about race, race, race... as if planning is nothing but that.

    Anyway, I just want to know how much weight this kind of community planning figure in everyone's work. If I just want to do design, real estate and land use planning stuff, do I have to deal with race and community?

    I'm more interested in the economics and physical city than people. So am I screwed in the wrong course?
    Yes and No. It all depends on what kind of planning you are going to do.

    I am what might be considered a long range planner and I took classes in environmental resource management, urban and regional planning and environmental planning. I had a minor in sociology with a focus on urban studies, basiclly the study of people in the urban environment. I'd say that about 75% of my job deals with the sort of things you are not interested in.

    Understanding people/demographics (race, income, employment, etc.) and their relationship with the community will help you do your job better.

    If you want to do design, real estate and land use planning stuff, you will need to know who you are dealing with. Depending on what specifically you are doing you WILL need to know how to research and understand the communtiy you are dealing with.

    If you really don't want to know abou the communtiy/demographics you might want to consider being a landscape architect, real estate agent or developer.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    63
    I'm okay with demographics and all that, just alittle sick of hearing about equity, race, community participation etc, which again is about race if it's low income.. Are there no physical urban/city planners anymore?

    May i ask if u're doing land use or environmental planning?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    In the bike lane
    Posts
    1,827
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    May i ask if u're doing land use or environmental planning?
    UM.. NO








    Okay on second thought, Land Use Planning. Comp. Plans, Master Plans, Downtowns Revitalization Plans, Recreation Plans, etc.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,981
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    Anyway, I just want to know how much weight this kind of community planning figure in everyone's work. If I just want to do design, real estate and land use planning stuff, do I have to deal with race and community?

    I'm more interested in the economics and physical city than people. So am I screwed in the wrong course?
    While I would not look for a program that emphasizes those aspects of planning (they seem t be far more important to the acedemic world than to the real world), I would still argue that they are significant. Planning does not exist in a purely mathematical (Euclidean) context. Societal characteristics shape the desired outcomes and accepted approaches. Planners need to be aware of these things.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,964
    Most planners need an understanding of social issues. Few work as community advocates. We should all have the "community interest" in mind with our work. But there are many community interests. As a public planner, the "community interest" that comprises the governing body is very improtant.

  7. #7
    So, I have been eavesdropping for a matter of months now, but this thread finally got me to register in order to respond.

    OK, what about "health, safety, and welfare?" I contend that planning is really all about the people.

    I am trained as a Landscape Architect and a public policy analyst (currently working as a planner and urban designer), and feel strongly that both fields, along with urban planning, rely heavily on the context of the people/society which whill reap the benefits (or costs) of a given set of decisions made by planning department staff, elected officials, developers, and design professionals.

    Accordingly, I (almost) take offense to the previous statement that
    "If you really don't want to know abou the communtiy/demographics you might want to consider being a landscape architect, real estate agent or developer." Landscape architectural design is VERY heavily based on the needs of and programming for the users of a space. I'm sure that any developer would tell you that they MUST know their market, and any real estate agent would tell you that they MUST know their clients and the general community.

    In the end, don't feel obliged to continually address the race issue, but do feel inspired by the overarching challenges and opportunities facing us as a collective society (of people).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    I'm okay with demographics and all that, just alittle sick of hearing about equity, race, community participation etc, which again is about race if it's low income.. Are there no physical urban/city planners anymore?
    In my opinion, if your professors are talking endlessly about race, they have a serious problem and their lack of vision is only going to reinforce the problems they seek to address. Measuring something changes it to more closely resemble the criteria you are using. (See "Seeing like a State" for more on that topic.) For example: 70% of the African American gene pool is white European. In some countries, they wouldn't be considered "black" -- they would be considered white or mulatto. The act of defining them as "black" in the first place is a reflection of inherent prejudice.

    Additionally, the perception that "whites" have the power is something that gets reinforced by what amounts to smoke and mirrors: those people who are not really "white" will generally downplay their differences in order to gain social acceptance or remain socially accepted and to have access to money and power. Many people that may be percieved as "white" really aren't if you dig deeper. For example, Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her father, Eduardo, emmigrated from Spain about 5 years before she was born. A little blonde hair coloring, a stage name and, voila, no one needs to be bothered by her ethnicity and everyone can conveniently think of her as "white" as opposed to "hispanic". I believe she was a flamenco dancer before she hit it big. I have seen a picture of her with dark hair, pulled back tightly, and in appropriate dance costume. She looked VERY Spanish.

    And good planning is about the needs of the people.
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 11 Nov 2004 at 3:43 PM.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,348
    Social advocacy should not be the only pursuit for planners, as your professor seems to advocate. However, good planners must be aware of the social surroundings in the community they work in. Along with the physical & political aspects of the community, the societal make-up influences what kind of regulations are created, why they are created, and how they are administered. A regulation in northern Iowa is not always transferable to say, El Paso. The pysical, cultural, societal, and political differences require special consideration.

    That my two cents, for what it's worth.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    63
    nice to know it's not all about race. I'm beginning to think that planners are no different from social workers /activists from what I hear in school.

    I am of the opinion that, if you make race a big issue, it BECOMES an issue. The problem is self fulfilling. I know there is segregation problem in suburbs and some people are confined to living in downtowns, but I don't think we should put "make this right" our no.1 objective in planning. We should know about it, and be mindful of it. There is no need to make it a life's goal...

    Another reason why i'm annoyed is I come from s'pore where we have no such problem. The planning doctrine is to forcibly mix the 3 main races together -chinese, malay, and indian . (this is possible since 87% of all singaporeans live in public housing, planning is essentially paternistic in Singapore.) Also we don't highlight the differences and make it an issue, the result: Everything is very good as far as I know.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    I am of the opinion that, if you make race a big issue, it BECOMES an issue. The problem is self fulfilling. I know there is segregation problem in suburbs and some people are confined to living in downtowns, but I don't think we should put "make this right" our no.1 objective in planning. We should know about it, and be mindful of it. There is no need to make it a life's goal...
    There is a complicated history in the U.S. and I don't think we can really just ignore the issue but, to a large degree, I agree with you. Certain approaches tend to make problems more entrenched. It is a little like the Chinese finger puzzle: the more you pull, the more stuck you are. You have relax and have a little room for "give" in order to get unstuck. Or, the other way I think of such issues is that it is like the Wile E. Coyote cartoon where he paints something with glue and the glue drips on him and he gets stuck to the paint brush: the more he pushes on the paint brush, the more entangled and stuck he becomes.

    I don't think we should "do nothing" but I think a lot of our present approaches tend to highlight and re-inforce the problem, in much the same way that creating welfare in order to "Help poor, single moms" only created more poor, single moms. When you focus overly much on such an issue, it tends to become magnified, not minimized.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    Sounds a lot like what I ended up doing at school. It was frustrating too, because for all the talk of diversity and such, for the most part I wasn't left with the impression that my most race-obsessed academic professors really knew much about the subject beyond what they got from their activist playbooks. They tended to say things that my first-hand knowledge didn't reflect for example, and often failed to convey a sense of awareness of the 'minority' cultures beyond a deep patronizing pity tinged with self-loathing.

    To me, much of the rhetoric sounded, deep under the surface, something on the lines of "Deep down, we know they're inferior, so we A: make policies to give them handicapped favors to artificially give them high positions so we won't have to feel guilty about them being eternally poor and B: will enforce strictly a code of speaking in euphemisms and forced neutrality to avoid them hearing us talk about their inferiority."

    Coming from someone wedged in between four different dynamics of racial tensions myself, it sounded really painfully obvious as such to me, and I couldn't take any of it seriously. Plus, part B meant that they would, often times, intentionally blind themselves to important aspects of the community - it was more important to them to pretend they were dealing with white liberals in every interaction regardless of anything else than it was to learn about how the other cultures think and approach their problems and how those dynamics can be used to successfully help the community. Not everyone thought that way. I had some good professors who were effective in dealing with other cultures. But enough would think that way to make things frustrating.

    My reprieves were found in my transportation classes - it came up, but in a more secondary fashion - and finance classes - it came up, but people who work in the private sector generally don't have time for too much of that stuff, and my college used a lot of field professionals as teachers.

    Right now i'm interning dealing with a very minority-heavy community. I'm not really finding that much use for all the stuff on "Race"... it gets in the way. The important part isn't that the community has the highest concentration of natives, hispanics, etc. etc., it's the fact that property ownership is 25%, funds for rehab are hard to get with incentives to leave buildings run down, and the road design on the commercial corridor leave people afraid to pull in or out in some areas. Even if there is a race connection, it's immaterial to fixing the problems, beyond needing to know how to deal with language barriers and such..

  13. #13
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    63
    I'm just waiting for the "core classes" to finish, then I'm gonna take classes from finance, engineering, real estate etc. Need a break from all these rheotoric

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2002
    Location
    The Basement
    Posts
    86
    Planning school is largely theoretical and very few programs wholly focus in on what planners do on a day-to-day basis. That being said, good planners must understand the implications of demographic info...understanding the diversity of a population or being able to see the meaning behind an age-sex pyramid will likely lead to better land-use decisions. You can't be successful in "physical" planning without understanding the community for which you are planning.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Dennis, MA
    Posts
    197
    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    I'm okay with demographics and all that, just alittle sick of hearing about equity, race, community participation etc, which again is about race if it's low income.. Are there no physical urban/city planners anymore?

    May i ask if u're doing land use or environmental planning?
    I think you are taking a very closed minded approach to all of this and tieing everything to race.

    Environmental Justice has been a major focus of Federal Aid Programs for much of the past two decades. Why do we choose to locate new incinerators in urban neighborhoods (Holyoke MA built a brand new one within the past 20 years on the edge a low income neighborhood).

    On the equity issue, why should the closed, gated communities enjoy the best schools? If our nation is all about equality, then there is a responsibility to transfer a portion of that wealth to the poorer neighborhoods to provide equal educational opportunities (El Guapo I know if you read this you will be saying there goes another bleeding heart liberal - sorry not here I am a registered Republican with generally conservative social spending ideas).

    Community participation is equally important whether in poor neighborhoods or wealthy ones. Why do we feel it is more important when it comes from a multi-millionaire than when it comes from the mouth of the blue collar worker holding down two jobs to pay the rent? The whole concept of physical planning suggests that we are going to change something, build something, tear something down. We need to know what the neighbors feel about these plans when we are working on the public side. Whether it is a park, an airport, a high rise whatever, community participation is needed.

    Finally, low income is not solely about race. Here on Cape Cod the population is about 98% white. More than 30% of the population lies below the poverty line. Many of the wealthiest minorites in MA have homes on Cape Cod.

    Hopefully by the time your classes start dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act you will realize just how broad planning really is. Yes we are very much involved with social planning issues.

    I do land use, environmental, social, and physical planning as the town planner where I work. In my past jobs I was involved as a Transportation Planner and that job was equally involved in the social justice aspects.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Not Cliff Island, Maine :(
    Posts
    589
    Quote Originally posted by Dashboard
    Planning school is largely theoretical and very few programs wholly focus in on what planners do on a day-to-day basis. That being said, good planners must understand the implications of demographic info...understanding the diversity of a population or being able to see the meaning behind an age-sex pyramid will likely lead to better land-use decisions. You can't be successful in "physical" planning without understanding the community for which you are planning.
    Speaking from experience... the planning program at Appalchian State does delve in theory, but does a good job of providing you with skills to actually run a meeting right out of college.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 0
    Last post: 24 Jan 2012, 6:17 AM
  2. Replies: 51
    Last post: 12 Dec 2011, 3:11 AM
  3. Replies: 10
    Last post: 27 Jan 2009, 6:33 PM
  4. Replies: 7
    Last post: 14 Jul 2008, 1:51 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 02 Dec 2001, 10:42 PM