Sorry I guess I overlooked this ritual duty and having been posting for a while. But here I am, a graduate student in urban studies focused on regional planning and economic/community development policy. Somewhere between degrees I've been in and out of government involved in workforce and economic development. I currently work for a university service institute with a particular focus on regionalism. This has allowed my to do some real life program management as we staff a couple of ongoing economic/community development planning processes for various entities. My vain hope is that this keeps my research and teaching grounded in some kind of reality, as I know what the rap is on academic planners out there in the world. I've only been in the planners’ paradise of Portland for 4 years. Before that I was an impressionable MURP listening to my professors back in Virginia talking just a bit too much about Portland. I just had to come see for myself. It may not really be paradise but I have been impressed about the willingness of people here to talk quite openly about their problems and take a chance every now and then on something innovative. Further, there is a permeability and accessibility to the levers of power here that just isn't available in other places I've lived.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes which I like to share with my fellow sufferers out here---and boy have we been suffering if you read Doonesbury.
"I have seen a lot of scenery in my life, but I have seen nothing so tempting
as a home for man as this Oregon country...You have here a basis for
civilization on its highest scale, and I am going to ask you a question which
you may not like. Are you good enough to have this country in your possession?
Have you got enough intelligence, imagination and cooperation among you to make
the best of these opportunities?"
-Lewis Mumford in a speech to the City Club of Portland, July 1938
He had his faults but Mumford was nothing if not quotable.