As Inspired By several posts over the years, but really brought to light by Inventor.
I think all planners, regardless of public or private sector, have encountered a belief that public sector planners, neighborhood groups and developers are adversaries. Some of us have even seen this in action in our communities. Some examples:
The public sector planner supports a developer's proposal for a vertical mixed use project on an infill property, but an organized neighborhood group turns out in force complaining that their land values will skyrocket and they will be forced to move. The elected officials vote and the zoning request is rejected.
A developer proposes a new neighborhood, kind of your typical suburban style. The developer requests to bump up the density, but the new density level requires certain design, like garages on the rear to create a better pedestrian environment. The neighborhood plan states the neighborhood citizens support such design. The developer, however, refuses saying the extra design is too expensive and won't sell as fast. The developer begins lobbying the elected officials to exempt the project from the design regulations.
People usually prefer collaboration to conflict, yet this perception continues to precipitate in the developer-public sector planner relationship. Why has this occurred? Who is really to blame for the situation, or is there even a single entity to blame? What causes the adversarial relationship? Is it as simple as communication, with each party operating in a vacuum, or something more philosophical like motivations? Perhaps it is a failure to understand where each party is coming from?
Personally, I have found that almost everyone -- developers, city planners and neighbors -- is interested in working together if the other one will. Think about your biggest adversary in land-use. Would you try working with them, if they would try working with you?
What is the relationship like in the community you do most of you work in? Are planners, neighbors and developers collaborative, or is it more of a cold war with heavy posturing and a "my way or the highway" attitude?