In this thread, I describe a phenomenon I call feelgood planning.
Projects with poor cost-benefit ratios that are destined to fail or at least underwhelm, but which are promoted and implemented because they bring a feeling of hope to the surrounding community, and possibly because their proponents are in denial about the inevitable outcome. "At least they're doing something." Such projects include new subsidized infill housing in blighted urban prairie areas, pocket parks in rough neighborhoods, and seasonal banners.
My question: why do you think feelgood planning happens? Some thoughts:
1) The proponents are really in denial over the inevitable outcome of the project. A good definition of this kind of "denial" can be found on Wikipedia: "Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence."
2) Proponents feel obligated to distribute funds and projects equally throughout the city, even for projects that will inevitably fail, because "it's only fair."
3) A variant of advocacy/equity planning: proponents favor such projects over those in stable or less questionable neighborhoods, because they really feel it will empower an underprivileged or powerless group. The project might be doomed to failure, but the affected group needs it more than other groups.
4) The proponents of such projects aren't planners, are naive about the economic realities of such projects, and really do believe that they will be successful.