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Thread: Planning in the last 40 years

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Barrow, Alaska
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    Planning in the last 40 years

    Hi and Happy St. Patricks Day planners everywhere.
    Here in Barrow,if one does not wear some green, it is for he or she to get pinched.
    So I made sure that I had a clean green shirt.

    I've been invited to speak to a University planning class in Fairbanks toward the end of the month ---about my planning career and some lessons learned along the way.

    I started working in planning in Toronto back in 1966, and was just wondering if anyone out there might have any perspectives on how city and rural planning have changed within the last 40 years, or even the last 20-30 years.

    Seems to me that we've been through the energy conservation and alternate energy phases before. And planning now is more high-tech in general. More emphasis now on rebuilding central cities? Comments, other ideas?
    PS--on thing that has remained constant in the last 40years is that Electric Football remains popular. And the Chicago Cubs keep falling short.
    Earl
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Earl,

    I'm going to duplicate this message and post it in the Make no Small Plans subforum, so you might have a better chance of getting a response,

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I do not think planning has changed. The process is the same as it always has been in my 30 years (mostly small town/rural). Some techniques may be different due to GIS and computer graphics. The internet makes data gathering easier. Hot topics come and go, but supposed new concepts are usually re-hashing of former ideas with new terminoligy.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The greatest changes I have noted (since 1989) are technical and legal. When I started, the four of us shared a computer and a word processor. Now I would expect just about any planner to have a working knowledge of GIS and very good skills with Word and Excel. There are other programs that can be helpful, like CAD or graphic design software. On the other hand, the old methods are all but gone in some places.

    The legal changes have mostly centered around environmental conditions. Wetlands are a big one, but storm water quality is another area of change. We are putting more of an emphasis on conserving valuable (and questionable) sites and connecting them in corridors. Trails are a natural extension of this. The other areas of change may be more at the state level, such as the "smart growth" legislation passed in Wisconsin a few years ago.

    I think we are also paying a lot more attention to aesthetics than we used to. Many more cities have design guidelines today than did when I started.

    Other things remain the same. Each decade seems to have its own "solution" to problems. Think of closing streets to make pedestrian malls, or tearing down square blocks for "blight elimination," only to replace them with towers which concentrated poverty and crime. Today, perhaps it is new urbanism.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Barrow, Alaska
    Posts
    190

    Planning in last 40 years

    Thanks to Dan and Mike and Cardinal for moving the discussion along and contributing various perspectives.
    I hadn't thought about a 10-year cycle where earlier hot recommendations resurface as new innovations.
    Maybe I can challenge the students to try and come up with
    real new concepts.
    Then all they will have to do is sell the concepts to the public and local leaders.
    thanks again
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

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