Planning: a Futile Exercise or a Critical Tool for Community Development?

131023-Community-PlanningAs an urban planner and a former finance consultant, I am always on the look-out for good planning advice. It seems that a lot of planning guidance is inspiring, but rather inconsistent. Burnham’s famous “Make no small plans,” is often cited during this period of recovery to encourage big ideas. In a session at the April 2013 American Planning Association (APA) conference, however, Joe Nickol of Urban Design Associates recommended that communities “Make no many small plans,” to take advantage of localized, innovative and incremental opportunities for community development. Both approaches are reasonable and valuable, but I am left wondering how communities negotiate between the two, particularly when it comes to aligning with the broader community vision, adapting to market changes, collaborating with stakeholders, and delivering results. Continue reading “Planning: a Futile Exercise or a Critical Tool for Community Development?”