Polls: Are You Listening?

What should planners take away from last week's barrage of polls about Americans' attitudes?

Ben Brown looks at important trends and disconnects key to planners. With loyalties tightly focused at local levels, outside specialists will have a hard time unless they tap into the hierarchy of trust. But locals aren't so sure about the people and organizations most able to help.

While the most-trusted leadership with 43 percent of responses are "neighborhood representatives" and "business professionals," Brown points out that, "Most of the biggest challenges to community health - whether you're measuring health by environmental, social or economic metrics - come at us from levels behind local control."

"To get beyond the frustration about this persistent disconnect, planners have to extract from these issue rankings an updated version of the old 'Think global, act local' principle. Too often, we insist on starting with issues like sprawl and climate change, then deducing from those problems the contributions to global solutions that can be made at the local level. That's a losing strategy."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

Full Story: We’re OK. Ya’ll, Not So Much: Your guide to understanding national polls

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