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Thread: Where planners live: a huge gap found in urban planning

  1. #1
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    Where planners live: a huge gap found in urban planning

    I saw some interesting statistics the other evening while reading a blog post where the
    author hypotnesizes that there is a disconnect between where urban planners live and work and where the private land actually exists that needs to be planned.

    Pretty interesting theory and I was wondering what others thought.

    Moderator note:
    Link deleted. Lispp the link went to an invalid address. PM me a corrected address and I'll post it for you. Thanks, and carry on. ~Gedunker

  2. #2
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    A Huge Gap Found in Urban Planning

    Thanks for the help Gudecker,

    The link I read this on is: http://blog.onlinelandplanning.com

    scroll down a bit to find it - and I am sure cyburbia readers will be able to make something of this.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Erm I really don't get it, they're saying that most land in provate ownership is agricutlural and that most planners live in urban areas... ?

    Well yeah... you tend to find services in service centres, towns and cities are the easiest places to get to and you can always use email or whatever. I don't get the point of what he's trying to say. Your not going to develop vast amounts of rural land in the middle of nowhere anyway surely.

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    The Dilemma

    * With over twenty years of professional urban and land planning experience, I believe that there is a huge disconnect between where the vast majority of property owners live that need expert advice and where meaningful land planning actually takes place.
    *The ‘marketing sphere of influence’ that planning firms target based on the geography of their office locale most certainly will leave most of the country out. Instead, only established land development companies that can pay consistent consulting fees are preferred clients and as a result, millions of acres of private land will never get planned beyond their municipal zoning classification.
    Huh? Does that mean that planners can only do work near their office? All land is within some jurisdiction, so there will be a municipality that presides over it. Now as for there being a planner in that jurisdiction it is my experience that small townships do not put a premium on planning. Not that planners don't work in agricultural areas. If those areas wanted development and planning, they would hire planners and not just use the county planning that is over them. I do not think this is someone who fully understands planning. I would imagine it is done by an angry land developer who was told they could not develop prime agricultural land.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    A two-parter:

    Part one

    All communities deserve good planning, but should planners be forced to work in places where they'd rather not practice or live? Many states have programs where student loans of young doctors, dentists, nurses, mental health professionals, and so on are forgiven if they practice in a rural or distressed area for a certain time. There is no similar reward for planners; instead, they find an environment of hostile locals who often don't want outsiders telling them what they can and can't do with their land or what's best for their community. That's not to mention the low pay.

    Part two

    There's many threads on Cyburbia about where planners live where they do.

    Consider that planners often change jobs, either because advancement is limited where they are, to switch from the public to private sector and vice versa, for political reasons (fired for reasons not related to poor performance, leave rather than condone unethical policies, etc), due to economic fluctuations (my situation, having been laid off due to budget cuts), and so on. Many planners chose to live in a relatively accessible part of a region because it is central to most planning jobs.

    I used to catch hell for not living near my former workplace. However, it was 30 miles from downtown Cleveland, in a hardscrabble satellite town with an almost nonexistent population of young professionals, surrounded by expensive, low-density "family-friendly" communities. If I lived out there, instead of living in a more central location and outcommuting, I would likely be facing 40 to 60 mile (60 to 100 km) one way commutes for what would be my next job in the region, not to mention social isolation.

    A few other arguments I've heard:

    "Planners should live in the communities where they work." What if it's in a family-oriented suburb, and they're single? What if it's in a far northern suburb, and their spouse works in a far southern suburb? What if you have kids, and the job is in an economically distressed community with a bad school district and no options such as magnet or charter schools? What is a planner is an observant Jew, and their job is as far from the center of the local Jewish community as one can get? What if a planner is gay, and they're working in an exurb far from where the rainbow flags fly? Planning is a profession, not a mission or vocation that should require great self-sacrifice.

    "Planners advocate new urbanism, but don't live in NU communities." That's because most NU development isn't true to the original intent of the NU movement, to create diverse, dense, livable traditional urban/village context communities. Design-wise, they live up to the hype, but they're usually developed as high-end projects. On $40K-$60K salaries outside of California, most planners simply can't afford to live there. Most plannners would like to see affordable NU development, but it's not getting built.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    um isn't this just a glorified ad for his company? not to be too cynical but he says that he "read in a blog..." as if he happened to come across it, but it's his blog for his company that he started. The statistics he quoted are just supporting his argument for why is company is relevant....

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by s1m0n66 View post
    um isn't this just a glorified ad for his company? not to be too cynical but he says that he "read in a blog..." as if he happened to come across it, but it's his blog for his company that he started. The statistics he quoted are just supporting his argument for why is company is relevant....

    I agree. That is all this is a support for his company. Again, this is a noble idea, but to me it is land speculation at its best and part of this entire housing mess our country is now. As for the whole notion of planners living in the urban center and not near available private development, i look around me and i say that i pretty much live/work where private development is available on all types of greenfields around me.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Who says we have to have all the private land planned, I assume this is referring to long range planning, in which case, is not a requirement in many places. Planners can work for a number of entities, including cities, counties, regional bodies, private firms, etc. Also, planning is a highly specialized field that tends to require a master's degree in many cases, so I can imagine that lots of 'planning' in more rural locations is being done by town/county administrators and regional authorities. With the 'advent of the computer' consultants and regional planners can remotely using the internet and GIS to help out in the more rural areas. I disagree with the author, the disconnect is not breaking news or cause for alarm. Also, related professions such as architecture, engineering, landscape architecture probably have the same 'disconnect'
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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