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Thread: Speech to American Society of Civil Engineers chapter: need help

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Speech to American Society of Civil Engineers chapter: need help

    I have been asked by the president of the Charleston area ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) to give a lunchtime talk in a few weeks. I'm beginning to stress a little though. I asked the president what he would like me to talk about and he said, "pretty much anything you want, you can focus on the interrelations between engineers and planners and what planners expect from engineers". Ok, how about detailed plans, correct the first time.... but I digress.

    There will also be several Citadel students in the audience and I know it will be a great opportunity to spread some planning knowledge that they may not get in school.

    So, if you were in my shoes, what would You talk about?

    I'm planning to talk about site layouts and being creative not just run of the mill stuff and how, in most smaller cases, the engineers kind of act like planners in your 20 or 40 lot subdivisions, rarely is a planner involved in layout or any aspect of it. I may also go into how planning is a sort of social engineering and we need civil engineering to help carry it out.
    Last edited by Tide; 16 Nov 2007 at 10:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I'm sure neither of those groups really understands the other, and has no idea what they might be doing to make the other rip their hair out.
    I remember a class in my undergrad where we had planners as guest speakers who continually complained about the unimaginative and counter to planning goals plans they got from the engineers, until one of the students stood up and announced "Okay, i've been listening to all this stuff about engineers being bad and it's upsetting me. I am a civil engineer *in that department*, and the rules *you gave us* prohibit us from making any of the things you are complaining about not getting; we've tried sending in "good" plans and we get swatted on the nose for it, so maybe you need to go back and look at your own planning rules before you blame it on us.."

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I have been asked by the president of the Charleston area ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) to give a lunchtime talk in a few weeks. I'm beginning to stress a little though. I asked the president what he would like me to talk about and he said, "pretty much anything you want, you can focus on the interrelations between engineers and planners and what planners expect from engineers". Ok, how about detailed plans, correct the first time.... but I digress.

    There will also be several Citadel students in the audience and I know it will be a great opportunity to spread some planning knowledge that they may not get in school.

    So, if you were in my shoes, what would You talk about?

    I'm planning to talk about site layouts and being creative not just run of the mill stuff and how, in most smaller cases, the engineers kind of act like planners in your 20 or 40 lot subdivisions, rarely is a planner involved in layout or any aspect of it. I may also go into how planning is a sort of social engineering and we need civil engineering to help carry it out.
    Army vet here. Most of the cadets will probably go to the front line after they commission after graduation. If you have any experience, talk about the role of planners and engineers as consultants on military projects here in the states (site design, military base closure) or abroad (defense contractors working with peacekeeping operations).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Variety

    This could be a good time to clarify any issues that you have seen reccuring. Also, if you have heard complaints from engineers about certain regulations, now my be a good time to explain why the regulations are in place. Tell them about your department and the different steps you take during the platting/subdivision processes. Tell them who does what, and what your workloads are.

    Inform them of any changes that may have happened recently in the department, ordinances, etc. Speak to them about upcoming changes. Ask them if they have any concerns. Ask what they would do differently.

    Speak about planning in general. Why is it necessary? - look at legal and theoretical reasons. Are there any new trends in the planning field that you're excited about? Give them the scoop on what's new.

    On a personal note - I moved to Kansas about a month ago, and I miss Chucktown terribly. Say hello to the peninsula for me.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Please keep your advice coming. I will be working on my presentation next week. Thanks!
    @GigCityPlanner

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Keep your sentences short and words simple so the engineers can understand

    I would also talk about how planning and engineering need to cooperate and work together to solve problems in community planning. Particularly when it comes to designing subdivisions to make them better places to live, not just stuff in the maximum number of lots, and innovative means of handling temporary storage of storm water. You might also look at landscape/parkway issues, most engineers would prefer no landscape/parkway because it is easier to maintain and build.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I would talk to the engineers not very differently than you would to a group of planners. I am in one of only two planners in a civil engineering office and I find the engineers understand and appreciate good planning principles and ideas.

    Try to talk about how planning tries to keep the "bigger picture" of development in mind (including public participation) and how civil engineering (sustainable transportation, stormwater, wastewater) has a large role in making great communities.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    THE MOST important thing I would touch on.....

    YES, WE ALL NEED TO THINK LONG TERM (20-30 YEARS OUT) DURING THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS
    Skilled Adoxographer

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    What you have all outlined is going to be my basic approach. I hope to identify the Planning and Engineering common ground. Explain how planners have the vision and make the ordinances or "rules" but we ultimately rely on the engineers for the most part to carry out our objectives since few engineering firms actually hire planners to lay out subdivisions and commercial sites.
    @GigCityPlanner

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Did the presentation today went really well.

    Instead of talking about how we got where we are now, mostly due to exclusionary and euclidian zoning I talked about the unique opportunity the tri county region has right now since many of the planners are on the same page. I talked about TNDs and conservation measures that can easily be built into subdivisions without it being manditory. I also pressed to the private sector engineers that since they are the first contact for most people interested in developing that they have a responsibility since they live and work here to help them plan in the right way.

    It was received well and I answered about 8 questions when it was over so that made me feel well like everyone was listening.

    If anyone wants a copy of my ppt let me know I'll email you.
    @GigCityPlanner

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