|TMP Collection: |
|“...bringing together public and private sector stakeholders through instructive and constructive community events can indeed bring about good urbanism and environmental preservation...”|
| Rich McLaughlin|
Reprinted from MN Planning
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Citizens are Customers Too
“The problem with planning is we don’t always get what we want!”
As planning professionals, how many times have we heard this? Maybe we haven’t heard it so directly, but we’ve certainly felt that sentiment ourselves, and sometimes from the people we serve. It’s an odd feeling.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to say its O. K. You are not alone. And, believe it or not, there are ways to get closer to unanimity, diversity and market success, all at the same time.
A few years ago I wrote a series for Planning Minnesota that talked about traditional neighborhood development (TND). A New Urbanist Lexicon provided nomenclature and design techniques for healthy, marketable neighborhoods. Although the significance of public participation was addressed, more fundamental questions about planning as a valuable community endeavor were not. Questions such as:
Exactly who we are planning for?
If citizens want more sensible community development, how do we make it happen?
Who will see to it that a plan’s aspirations carried out, even if its physical components evolve over time?
What are the benefits to be achieved by really listening?
This is the first of a four part series about how bringing together public and private sector stakeholders through instructive and constructive community events can indeed bring about good urbanism and environmental preservation. Interactive public participation can get us beyond the frustration of lengthy and uninspiring public processes. In addition, true listening and responding can also enlighten a community, motivate it spiritually, and drive marketable design solutions.
This series will address shortcomings in conventional public participation practices, but it will not dwell upon them. Instead, nomenclature and communication techniques are suggested to better demonstrate the civic value of planning to our many audiences. Throughout all four essays is a consistent theme of collaboration among all stakeholders. If we are to build truly sustainable communities, we have to tap the best technical resources within every planning discipline. But perhaps more importantly, we have to get end users involved. Their stewardship of the land, identity as citizens and prosperity as customers are at stake.
Citizens and customers are us.
I. Beyond the Diagram
II. Real Charrettes, Real Results
III. Constituency Building
IV. Community Building