The Tea Party vs. Urban Planning

Anthony Flint reports on a number of planning initiatives stopped in their tracks by protesting Tea Party members, who are strongly opposed to "smart growth communism."

A growth management program in Florida, that state's high-speed rail project, a comprehensive plan in Virginia -- these and other planning initiatives have been stopped or slowed by Tea Party protests:

"What's prompting the ire is anything from a proposed master plan to a new water treatment plant, rules governing septic tanks, or a bike-sharing program. What's driving the rebellion is a view that government should have no role in planning or shaping the built environment that in any way interferes with private property rights."

Those engaged in planning have been dedicated, in the tradition of Jane Jacobs, to bringing all parties to the table to make enlightened decisions, writes Flint. So how to incorporate the Tea Party into the process, particularly when they believe "...that planners have draped the public process with the trappings of citizen input, while in fact all the decisions to promote smart growth have already been made"?

Full Story: How the Tea Party Is Upending Urban Planning



All Parties to the Table

"Those engaged in planning have been dedicated, in the tradition of Jane Jacobs, to bringing all parties to the table to make enlightened decisions, writes Flint."

I don't think Jane Jacobs was dedicated to bring Robert Moses to the table, believing that his ideas would contribute to a more enlightened decision. She was more interested in discrediting his ideas, showing that they don't work.

Charles Siegel

Another A21 Derailment. Task Force to do Something Useful?

The loud, enraged, committed, conspiracy-driven tiny ideological minority derailed a county Comp Plan process in rural SW Colorado, prompting the PD to quit after nearly a half-million (!) was spent and over a hundred public meetings were held - unknown how much of the public's and staff time was wasted...

Maybe the AICP/APA can convene a task force to do something useful like teach rural planners how to handle the enraged and loud fringe conspiracy theorists, instead of spending time on paperwork details that help no one in the field and actual practitioners few care about. Wager, anyone?



Fight fire with fire

I say fight fire with fire! These people are desperate to prevent change for the better and they're dangerous. Speak in soundbites. Talk folksy. Infiltrate their meetings, pose as some of them, gather information, crash their meetings with officials, insist on being heard, shout them down, call them names, shame them publicly, accuse them of betraying their fellow Americans, destroying whole economies, stealing public money or being paid shills and say so in televised news conferences, blogs, chat forums and letters to the editors of local newspapers. Do whatever it takes to stop them from ruining one of our last chances at re-activating our cities, slowing sprawl, easing our addiction to cars and oil, getting people on to good mass transit, healing the planet and brining peace to the Middle East.

Lord knows they're doing it to us.

Burning loud anger.

I agree they are odious, but you don't want to stoop to the TeaPurty level. You fight fire with fire by having effective techniques to silence the bullies and have the facts on your side. You don't embarrass this sort, but hopefully having the majority see that the TeaPurty ain't got no facts on no side should help the meeting go more smoothly if the audience asks them to shut it down.

Now if the AICP or APA would actually do something useful and help beleaguered planners on the ground, they could actually be useful for a change...



When will we recognize the Tea Party for what it is?

We all try to be so respectful of the "Tea Party" while it accords no respect for facts or rationality. So let's be honest. The Tea Party -- and today's GOP as a whole -- would be extremely comfortable adorned in the brown shirts of its ideological predecessors of 1920s-1940s Germany. The parallels between the two are way too similar to ignore. Never shall a fact get in the way of their distortions of the world and the way it works. We should be very afraid of this "movement" because it threatens all that is right and decent about America while it advances its agenda of friendly fascism (not that the Tea Party folk have a clue what fascism or communism are since they seem to think they are one and the same).

Daniel Lauber, AICP
AICP President 2003-2005, 1992-1994
APA President 1985-1986

TeaPurty, Birchers, et al.

Thank you for giving byte to our thoughts Daniel.



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