AID the Quintessence thread, I was thinking about Quintessential planning issues. It seems like we planners find ourselves getting wrapped up around some hot issue, and then moving on to something else. For instance, articles about dealing with gas stations were de riguer for zoning newsletters in the 1960s, but today, it's just another land use.
This is just one planer's list of quintessential hot LULU zoning topics through the years, at least in the United States:
* Late 1930s-mid-1940s: hot dog stands (Really! Check out some of the planning literature from the era. Hot dog stands, ice cream stands, and "taxpayers" - the bane of Depression-era suburbia.)
* Late 1950s: Auto dealerships, used car lots
* Early 1960s: Gas station proliferation/control
* Late 1960s: Billboards
* Late 1970s: On-premises signs: backlash against Googie and the Great Sign
* Early 1980s: Video game arcades
* Late 1980s: On-premises signs, the sequel: revenge of the portables
* Late 1990s: Wireless facilities
* Early 2000s: Big box retail, trade dress architecture
* Late 2000s: On-premises signs, the trilogy: electronic message centers
What about urban design trends? Economic development trends? Open space trends?
"Hey, remember linear parks?"
"That's sooooo 1970s. Betcha' still think playground equipment made from railroad ties is also still in, too. Maybe some exurb of Cleveland might be interested, though."
"What about pocket parks?"
"Feelgood planning for 1980s ghettos. Besides, most of them now look indistinguishable from the battered urban prairie that surrounds their sites."
"So 1990s. You're probably still mourning the suicide of Kurt Cobain.
"Okay, how about loop lanes?"
"Early 2000s. Speaking of which, Sex and the City opens in theaters today."
"Traditional, defensible village squares completely or almost completely surrounded by street frontage?"
"There you go. And tot lots too. It's like a dog park for kids, and helicoper moms that think every man over 18 is a child molester in waiting also love 'em."
"What about Rails to Trails?"
"Timeless, if you can get it past the NIMBYs."