Florida Planner Takes Skills to Iraq

Daniel Reed, former Planning Director of Daytona Beach, is now the primary planner of Sadr City, 12 miles north of Baghdad.

"What would prompt a man to swap his family, safety and Daytona Beach, Fla., for the perils of Iraq?

Ask Daniel Reed.

'I really thought I could make a difference,' said Reed, 47, who served as Bay City planner from 1995-2000 and later served as planning director for Daytona Beach.

But his life took an unexpected turn in 2007, when a pamphlet from the U.S. State Department crossed his desk. Reed applied for the position of urban planner, and his 21 years of experience landed him a spot at Camp Taji, Iraq, 12 miles north of Baghdad.

Reed, who began his new job in November, now works as the primary planner for Sadr City, a Baghdad enclave marked by chaos and violence.

'The infrastructure is, for the most part, not working,' Reed said in an e-mail to The Times. 'For instance, regularly scheduled trash pick-up is nonexistent. It is my belief that it is not going as well as the 'official government' commentary would like you to think it is.'

Reed's role as Bay City planner meant associating with zoning, planning and architectural boards. While he says there are some common factors between that joband his position in Iraq - both involve managing sewers, water and roads - the context of his work ''is on a vastly different scale,' he said."

Full Story: Former Bay City planner helping rebuild city in Iraq

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