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Thread: Urban planners roles

  1. #1

    Urban planners roles

    I always wonder what do planners do? what are the planning skills? I think because urban planning multidisciplinary planning cover many topics including management, policy, design,economics, social concerns...ect.with that in mind I am not sure that I know what urban planners do? Any answer? Please.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Well, that's certainly quite a question, and not one with an easy answer.

    I think the most common activity to all planners is land use planning and regulation. This includes zoning land for different uses and different types of development, reviewing the subdivision of land for new development, setting land use and built environment policies, and assisting in developing land efficiently and effectively. Most planners (urban or not) probably do something in this area.

    Beyond this, planners can get involved in a multitude of different issues, such as transportation, housing, economic development, mediation and facilitiation, public administration, historic preservation, social policy, natural resources, and on and on.

    Planners are a very diverse bunch of professionals, but dealing with issues of land use and development is something the vast majority of them all do.

    What else can people think of that planners have in common?
    JOE ILIFF
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  3. #3
    Thank you Joe. But I guess the dilema I see is why some cities are well planned (developed) and others are not.Is it because they are not(planners)performing the "right" planning roles or may be planning functions are performed by none planners? What is your suggestion if I wanted to investigate the problem?

  4. #4
         
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    I think perhaps the most important factor Adnan is the political will of elected officials. If you compare the way Boulder grew in the 1970's and 80's to the way Fort Lauderdale grew during the same period, I think you will find the difference was the political will of the respective city councils. Municipal planners take direction from elected officials. Good planning requires the support of good political leaders.

  5. #5
    I think you are right Brent, but again planners perform their roles through a bureaucratic stable administrative system. If this is true (It is)then there are certain universal principles,skills,roles that if planners perform it will lead to the same results. However may be in certain administrative system planners are not performing planning roles.

    Another point is that politicians seek success like other people (reelection). Therefore (at least in theory) they want planners to succeed so they can be successful. What you think?

  6. #6

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    The notion that most planners work in a stable environment is potentially the root of a lot of confusion. Even in places like, say, Des Moines, IA, where growth is minimal (or negative) there is considerable shifting of land uses and even new land division. Predictability is low and allegedly sophisticated modeling techniques ordinarily do not increase it. The post-capitalist economy is inherently unstable, and land use mirrors that. Political instability interacts with economic.Some of it is built into the federal system, with the multiple levels of government changing at variable rates affecting the planner's role. Some of it is the result of the electoral system. Personalities and priorities change over the course of just a few years in many jurisdictions, with this change taking place at a rate much faster than the time required to implement many plans. Interest groups have veto power in so many cases where they don't have the power to implement so we are all dragged thru endless discussion with little result. Adnan, I think you need to read Donald Schon's Beyond the Stable State and maybe John Friedmann's Retracking America. Planning is going to succeed only insofar as it is a collaborative process.

  7. #7
    So you saying planners are powerless and political and bureacuratic bosses dectate what the nature of their jobs.I belive planners are change agent that help the commuinity invesion thier city future. Thats They have the techniques that enable them to perform major roles in the political and administerative system.

  8. #8
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Des Moines not growing? I guess to be technical, it is the surrounding burbs that are growing. The Des Moines metro is one of the faster growing areas, and there is plenty for planners to do in all the cities in the metro..

  9. #9

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    Did I say that? To the contrary, what I am telling you is that IF you want to be a successful agent of change you are going to have to learn to "swim" comfortably in the chaos of the present political and economic system to have the impact you want to have. A mental model based on stable bureaucracies is NOT going to help you one whit!

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