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Why Strategic Planning Makes Sense for Cities

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Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
6/16/2014 3:59:11 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Get a plan!
I've not read any of Mike Davis's books, but the collapse/demise of LA has been predicted, dramatized (and from some quarters, much wished for!) for decades. But I appreicate the more holistic perspective you seem to be advocating to overcome or short-circuit the repetitious cycles that cities like LA get trapped in.

Toby
Toby  
6/11/2014 5:06:19 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Uniting the Visions
@Walter: Frankly I am not sure how influential this organization would be a local level. Many of the decisions made will be driven by the election hopes of the incumbents. However Pan London initiatives are always considered and, if the money is available, may be adopted. London generally leads the nation in how it approaches civic planning and use of technology to improve service delivery so the impact fans outwards.

Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
6/10/2014 8:54:47 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Uniting the Visions
I learned about Centre for London on the UBM Future Cities site, who is also a partner. Do such indepedent organisations also add value to discussions on London? Its great to see these think tanks that are more focussed on a specific city. In Cape Town we have Future Cape Town (http://futurecapetown.com/), who is always first with news in our city. Thanks for sharing. 

Toby
Toby  
6/10/2014 8:47:14 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Uniting the Visions
@Walter: there are several Pan-London bodies who look at the regional impact of local activities. There was a moment several years ago when all but 2 of the Thames 9 bridges were closed one weekend for repairs which tipped the city into chaos and created the impetus for more planning and joined-up thinking. Likewise in technology there are several bodies that fund regional IT join ups. One such body is Capital Ambition though I do not know how far along they have got.

Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
6/9/2014 11:00:35 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Get a plan!
Yes I think a large part of it has to do with economic policy and plans, but what I tried to emphasize in this blog was also about spatial planning, which can hold all these things together - social, economic, heritage, environment, infrastructure, and so on. And maybe going beyond only spatial planning - which often times are just nice pictures and maps and lines and arrows - we need to think about networks and strategic investments that brings things together. What are your experiences in LA? I once read this book by Mike Davis called City of Quartz, which makes some daunting observations about the future of LA? Have you rad it? http://www.amazon.com/City-Quartz-Excavating-Future-Angeles/dp/0679738061

Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
6/9/2014 10:55:54 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Uniting the Visions
Thanks for your observations Toby. Are inter-borough service deliveries aimed at improving service, or are there more regional focusses too, like e.g. East London or South London task teams that look at regional issues? Who champions such actions?

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
6/9/2014 8:31:29 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Get a plan!
Sounds like you're talking about economic development and economic policymaking, Walter. While city planners would want a say in this, isn't this a broader conversation that should include economists, investors, politicians, and stakeholders? I wouldn't entrust this broad kind of planning to city planners alone.

kq4ym
kq4ym  
6/6/2014 9:42:40 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Get a plan!
Without consistent planning, it's all become chaotic in many places. As pointed out changes in the political climate will often do in planning agencies and their most often well thought out schemes. How to prevent pulling plans off the rails when new politicians take over is beoming quite a challenge.

Toby
Toby  
6/4/2014 6:49:04 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Uniting the Visions
@Walter: Interesting article and great set of points. Here in london there are 26 odd boroughs who all manage their own finances, strategic plans and service delivery, yet they are all part of a larger city whose need for integrated infrastructure and planning often comes last in the claims for time and money. This has changed somewhat over the years with the advent of TfL and other intraborough agencies but it is difficult stuff to get right.

One interesting development has been in the area of utilities management, by which I mean the way we allow the utilities to dig up and close the streets. This is now tightly controlled by permitting and heavy fines on violation...it has improved things enormously.

Walter Fieuw
Walter Fieuw  
6/4/2014 6:29:03 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Get a plan!
Terry thanks for your observations. You live in a much more dense city than I do, so our experiences might be different. Building controls and management is therefore much needed, and I can understand the frustration of things collapsing into one another (e.g. strip malls example)

In Cape Town, South Africa we need to contend with deep structural issues such as racialised neighborhood segregation, poor public transport, and increasingly service orientated economy, leading to decline in manufacturing and industrial jobs, which should absorb greater number of unemployed people. 

So I think zoning and land use planning has its place, most definately, but we also need to think about broader strategic plans, like how will you use transport to unite a divided city? In in other developing countries, how will we use public investment to undo colonial planning patterns, which inherently excludes some and benefits others. 

These are difficult questions to deal with, but hopefully some of the examples start to stir some conversation. 

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