Rethinking Growth-Oriented Planning

David Morley, AICP, asks if growth is a necessary prerequisite for long-term community health and prosperity, and whether it might be possible to rethink "the dominant planning paradigm in the United States."
March 21, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In his post, Morley examines to the profession's long tradition of growth-oriented planning, and its increasing failures: "The fundamental problem with the classic, growth-oriented planning paradigm is that it simply doesn't work for the hundreds, if not thousands, of cities in the U.S. who've suffered decades of depopulation and disinvestment due to sprawl, deindustrialization, or Sun Belt migration."

Morley bases his discussion of the failures of the growth-oriented planning model for post-industrial shrinking cities and inner-ring suburbs, and potential solutions, on a new PAS report titled Cities in Transition (PAS 568), written by Joseph Schilling and Alan Mallach, FAICP.

For cities and suburbs such as Detroit, Buffalo, Euclid, Ohio, and Orange, New Jersey, in which a growth-oriented planning and development strategy are not viable, "The key theme of Cities in Transition is that planners working in these cities need to embrace a new paradigm based on sustainability instead of growth. As Schilling and Mallach explain: 'This is not planning for shrinkage but planning that recognizes shrinkage as the reality and a starting point for thinking about the future.'"

According to Morley, "As discussed at length in Sustaining Places (PAS 567) this new planning paradigm must embrace a livable built environment, harmony with nature, intergenerational equity, community health, authentic engagement, and economic resilience."

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Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in APA Sustaining Places
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