Monday, January 12

In praise of Planning

A little while ago, I wrote a snide post about a particular article I came across in Planning magazine. But now I feel compelled to speak to the magazine as a whole. It really is a remarkable publication, with well-written and substantive articles on many of the topics I chew on here. In the recent issue, APA director, Paul Farmer, kicks things off with an editorial about Obama's stimulus package:

"This is an opportunity for the new team at the Department of Transportation to create a new vision for federal transportation policy, showing the clear link with related priorities such as climate change and infrastructure investment."

The clear link. exactly. He goes into some specifics from there. After this, the bulk of the issue approaches the cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul from a half dozen different angles, giving a holistic glimpse into one major U.S. metropolitan area.

I didn't expect to like Planning magazine. Maybe it's the blogging instincts, but I assumed that any major organization with a wide range of constituencies to please would speak in staid who-could-possibly-disagree platitudes about sustainability or equality. But the articles dive right into the specific ideas and tasks involved in planning good communities. In a trade magazine, I also expected to find plenty of "meta-professional" information on workplace conduct, job searches, lobbying for higher salaries, and so forth, but Planning keeps its focus squarely on the specific tasks planners have been entrusted with. Planning, typically a fairly localized profession, can gain immensely from the sharing of best practices from other regions with similar environments, so we need information-sharing sources like this.

Ok. I realize I'm being effusive, and, really, I don't have anything at stake in this. I just thought I would be non-critical about something - at least this once.

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