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Thread: Into politics

  1. #1
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    Into politics

    Considering it seems an inherent part of the job, I would think that many planners pursue a career in politics. Have planners established themselves strong candidates for roles as assembly members, mayors, house reps, senators, or otherwise?

    Does the idea of a NYC planner moving up the ranks to become the next guilianni sound absurd?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Considering it seems an inherent part of the job, I would think that many planners pursue a career in politics. Have planners established themselves strong candidates for roles as assembly members, mayors, house reps, senators, or otherwise?

    Does the idea of a NYC planner moving up the ranks to become the next guilianni sound absurd?
    Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP party in Canada (~18% of the national vote) was an urban planning professor at the Univ. of Toronto, before getting onto City Council, then into Federal politics, and eventually to the post he holds today.

    I think if he was with a more centrist party, he could be the PM, as he is very popular...i think many people have problems voting for the party he stands for...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that there is a distinctive difference between politics and planning. Planners base things on technical ideas learned from archaic professors who teach basic planning principles. Successful, elected politicians on the other hand (and I am going to get crucified for saying this) know more about what the people want, than most planners. That is why they got elected. We as planners will pipe up and preach about how Dense urban based developments and needed and we need to preserve our open space and farms, but in reality Americans for the most part hate high density. Additionally, high density developments by today’s standards replaces a higher density development.

    I think that for a planner to be a successful politician, he needs to learn to balance good planning techniques, public perception, and public expectation.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Considering it seems an inherent part of the job, I would think that many planners pursue a career in politics. Have planners established themselves strong candidates for roles as assembly members, mayors, house reps, senators, or otherwise?

    Does the idea of a NYC planner moving up the ranks to become the next guilianni sound absurd?
    No more absurd than being an actor, lawyer or a doctor. The previous career does not make one a good politican. A good politican is able to understand their citizens wants and needs and is able to articulate those into policies that benefit those they are serving. Also you need to be able to educate and relate to the people.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I think that there is a distinctive difference between politics and planning. Planners base things on technical ideas learned from archaic professors who teach basic planning principles. Successful, elected politicians on the other hand (and I am going to get crucified for saying this) know more about what the people want, than most planners. That is why they got elected. We as planners will pipe up and preach about how Dense urban based developments and needed and we need to preserve our open space and farms, but in reality Americans for the most part hate high density. Additionally, high density developments by today’s standards replaces a higher density development.

    I think that for a planner to be a successful politician, he needs to learn to balance good planning techniques, public perception, and public expectation.
    For a planner to be a good PLANNER, he/she needs to learn to balance good planning techniques, public perception, and public expectation.

    And remember, the basis of planning in a community is (supposed to be, anyway) the comp. plan, which is supposed to be created based on public wants/needs.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    For a planner to be a good PLANNER, he/she needs to learn to balance good planning techniques, public perception, and public expectation.

    And remember, the basis of planning in a community is (supposed to be, anyway) the comp. plan, which is supposed to be created based on public wants/needs.
    I agree that a good planner will do that. But being a good position goes in the opposite direction of what a planner will say is good. Take large lot developments as an example. It is not often that you see a plan that wants more of them, but that is what most people would like. They want a big back yard for the kids and the dog, they want a good distance between their house and their neighbor’s, and want little pedestrian traffic in front of their house. There are all things that are opposed to what most of us are taught in planning school.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    The political part of planning has kept me away from the field for a long time. I want nothing to do with politics....

    I can't imagine ever being a politician... what a nightmare.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I think it is a perfect background for politics. If there is a planner on the ballot I will most likely vote for them.

    IMHO: The problem is that planners tend to either like planning too much to pursue other interests like this or are driven far far away from it 'all' never to return to the public domain. It seems that planners and successful politicans are often from different molds (at least when comparing the ones I know from the two areas).
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Montana has at least one planner in the state house, and is running for reelection.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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