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I'm going to argue the other side a bit :)

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Beaner, what's the point of being a planner if you don't engage in a little "polemical crap"? Planning per se is not really a technical discipline. If someone is not going to think about tjhe theoretical issues, then we have no special knowledge or skills that merit the existence of the profession. Is Mugbub right? Are we to be only permit processors? If so, why not just go the Cincinatti route and turn everything over to the "Economic Development" or the engineers in Public Works?
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
29
Planners exist to help communities realize their vision. Processing permits is part of the deal, but one presumes that those permits are required in order to advance that vision in some way (however small it may be in a given case). There is no other profession that does this, or at least that makes this claim, and that is what is unique to us. Planning inevitably gets bureaucratic -- that's the nature of where our society is at -- but if you reached the point where its all about the paperwork, its time for a new job.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Pigeon Holes ?!?

Obviously, planners in large departments get pigeon holed into very specific pieces of the overall planning puzzle. In such an environment, you need a Planning Director or manager that invests in planners by providing training opportunities and/or provokes discussion of the broader planning questions.

Some people in the planning profession are glad to get a pay check and try not to make waves or pitch new ideas. But if you're not content with a lack of professional growth, perhaps you're in the wrong position. It's been my experience that planning for a small jurisdiction gives you more freedom to branch out into various areas of planning. This is not to say you won't get frustrated with local decision-makers, but it's lots of fun proposing new approaches.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I think in order to be happy in the profession you need to be alittle bit of a dreamer, but a realist at the same time.

You have to dream of a better tomorrow, but not get too burnt out when things don't go your way.

Some of these planning "theories" are just way too far fetched or off based for my liking though. Just my opinion, but I think these people that come up with all these planning "buzz words" spend too much time writing text books and not enough time pounding the pavement.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
BKM said:
Planning per se is not really a technical discipline. If someone is not going to think about tjhe theoretical issues, then we have no special knowledge or skills that merit the existence of the profession.
I'm all for talking about the theoretical issues. I love doing that! But the thing that buzzed me about your post was that you had to include those theoreitcal issues under the New Urbanism umbrella. Those theoretical issues are relevant and important, with or without New Urbanism - and I prefer to leave New Urbanism out of the discussion. To me, when these issues are brought up into the context of New Urbanism, somehow the issues are sidelined and given secondary consideration. Please, let's talk about the issues, but can we, for once, not bring up New Urbanism? Call me hyper-sensitive about this, but I think there are two very good reasons for this: 1) There are many old threads buried in this folder that have relevant discussions on New Urbanism, so why start a new thread? And 2) Planning is much more complex than the pre-packaged and idealized content that make up New Urbanism. Transect Theory? Thanks Andres, but no thanks.

Regarding the "polemical crap" comment, well if this isn't over-simplified boilerplate polemical garbage, then I don't know what is:

They are seeing the problems with the status quo. Everything from lack of physical exercise (fat kiddos), mammoth SUVs, crazed soccer moms forced to be chuffers for their kids, global warming, dependence on oil (funding al-Qaida), miserable long distance commutes, etc, etc, etc.

You forgot to mention "McMansions" in your list.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I see your point (Now my turn for a rant :)

I don't think that was MY list. :)

I see your point about New Urbanism. I think "Urban Realism," Richard Carson's new theme, suffers from the same problems of packaging and sound bites.

I would note that many of the "problems" mentioned in your list are, to a certain extent, the result of affluence, social values, and personal choice. Not too much planning per se can do about the "preference for large SUVs". That "problem" is wrapped into a whole network of issues: advertising imagery, the American love of "practicality" (even when not really practical), personal style choices, perceptions of safety, etc. etc. Unless we mandate streets be no wider than ten feet, ain't too much we as planners can do about it-heck, many of us drive SUVs! :)

Similarly-fat people. Life as a whole is too physically easy for middle class Americans, and food of all types is easily available in every-larger super-sized portions. I don't care if their are trails at every doorstep, or if we all live three blocks from work and a corner store. many of us (note, sadly, the pronoun) will be fat.

I guess the bottom line is we can be a little too interested in physical determinism-especially evangelical "movements" like New Urbanism.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Hey BKM, sorry about that. You are right - you did not say that stuff. Me so sorry!
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Evangelical Movement?

"New Urbanism" is not a movement. It's a buzz word referring to the discussion of common sense planning before the advent of Euclidian zoning. I suppose in 20 years we'll be talking about Le Corbusier's tower in the park as "New Vertical Communities" or some such buzz phrase. We should not dismiss approaches of the past. We should revisit them and determine their relevance to our profession. Unfortunately in our polarized (us vs them, Rep vs. Dem, Ford vs. Chevy, Yankees vs. everyone) society, anything that is preceived as a "movement" automatically is shunned by those without ears.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
:)

I would never say that the "New Urbanist" movement does not have good ideas. The aesthetics and walkability of old pre-war towns are, to me, better. But, then< as a planner I tend to be more architectural/visual. I would rather have a smaller house in a real older town (or even, believe it or not, a New Urbanist knock-off) than a huge house with a three car garage in some subdivision. And, the NU movement can certainly encourage this choice to be made more available. It just won't solve all our social or growth problems.

I own a Le Corbusier lounge chair-does that make me an enemy of New Urbanism? :)
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
ABSOLUTELY !!!

Anything remotely related to Le Corbusier should be completely wiped off the face of the earth.

Ideas are constantly recylced.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Totally off-topic response to Budgie :)

But. . .but, the furniture is so COOOOOOL :)

I also own a Mies Barcelona chair. It is beautiful-as sculpture. Tom Wolfe was right in From Bauhaus to Our House: Its not made for human beings to sit on :)
 
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