Friday Funny: Planner Breaks Into Song

Pine Lake, Georgia City Council Member Melanie Hammet finds songwriting inspiration in the issues of land use planning.
May 29, 2009, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"One of her duties was slogging through a rewrite of the city codes. That didn't inspire any music, but it did teach her that the lingo found in zoning regulations tells how people relate - if you read between the lines.

'Even though the language is very esoteric, the subject is very personal,' she said.

Hammet wrote her land-use songs last January at Seaside, a 'new urbanism' town on the Florida Panhandle. The Seaside Institute, dedicated to the 'smart growth' of communities, gave her a spot as an artist-in-residence. With a cottage and a stipend, Hammet went to work.

In 'Anatomy of the Street Where You Live,' she imagines the benefits of a well-designed road system: 'Just enough shade just enough light/ Just enough room for the neighbors in the middle of a hot summer night/ Just enough room for a car to pass/ But it has to slo-ow down/ It's a perfect little street, a perfect little spot, a perfect little town.'"

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Published on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 in Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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