Growing a City

Cities are organisms like people. So, “Urban Planning” has always seemed to be an odd thing to me. It’s akin to attempting “Child Planning”.

As every parent know, there is no such thing as planing a child’s life for the next 25 years. The best “Child Planning” anyone can do is provide a set of fundamental values and priorities, set a good foundation, and then stand back and let them grow up. Too heavy a hand, and they grow up to be dysfunctional.  Too loose and they can be a mess too.

Yet, Planning departments too often use a heavy hand, trying to dictate every little bit of growth, every lot use, every car, every building, everything. Not surprisingly, it never turns out the way they wanted, and the heavy hand usually begets some form of dysfunction. 

The best thing a City’s Planning Department can do is to set fundamental priorities, values, and goals, create a good foundation, and then stand back and let the city grow. Use a gentle hand in making sure the values and priorities remain in focus. But just like a Parent, letting go is the hardest, but most important part of growing up.

Ease up Planners. 

Walter Chambers
GSSD 

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