In Defense of Public Input

Using the example of the failed regeneration of Green Bay's downtown led by Victor Gruen, Della Rucker argues that disregarding input from the public can have devastating repercussions.
February 14, 2011, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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Rucker makes this argument in relation to recent assertions from architect and planner Andres Duany about the complicating impact of public participation.

"This isn't simply a story about the virtues of historic preservation. Gruen's idea didn't fail because Green Bay wanted old buildings or because the people who lived and worked in those old downtown buildings did something to undermine the plan. Like most people of that era, the majority of the City's leadership and residents placed their faith in the expert and in the concept of progress. Any gut misgivings they may have had were pushed aside. The plan was made by a national expert, right?

Gruen's mall failed because he envisioned and sold an ideal solution without giving any attention to economic realities, and without consideration of the myriad of unforeseen factors and unintended consequences that could, and did, develop. Gruen stood at the beginning of an era, and there was no way anyone could anticipate how the world would change in a few short decades."

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Published on Saturday, February 12, 2011 in New Geography
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