• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.


I work for a planning agency in a booming county in the Southeast. We see developers of all stripes. To be sure, I have seen many more developers who are concerned with the bottom line than with quality design. I have also seen a few shining examples of developers who really believe in New Urbanism and in providing development that is a service and a benefit to the community for years or generations to come.

I have a background in economics which colors my opinions. That said, I think precious few planners understand the environment developers work in. They are driven by economics and markets far more than by aesthetics. If we provide opportunities in our ordinances that allow developers to satisfy each of these areas, we are much more likely to be pleased with the results. We need to educate our elected officials about the economic and aesthetic benefits to be gained from new urbanism, conservation subdivision design, or any of the other smart growth type agendas we are trying to accomplish. Only then can we draft ordinances that allow developers to profit from their risk and provide beneficial development to our communities.

We can't stop development. We can make it better by understanding the forces involved and crafting legislation that works with them instead of against them.