Taking the 'Urban' out of Planning

What do we lose when we narrowly associate planning with an 'urban' or 'city' context? The ability to effectively plan for rural, transitional, regional, and even urban areas, says Ruth Miller.
The inability to reach consensus on what defines a rural area - the State of California has eleven official definitions alone - is a barier to good policy and communitcation, argues Miller. And, "[m]ore generally, the artificial difference between 'urban' and 'rural' creates barriers to communication. Rural residents don't see themselves as urban, so why should they need urban planning? Urban residents can't relate to rural areas, so why should they be concerned with agricultural preservation?" This hinders the ability to plan for each, seperately, and together from a regional perspective.  

For regional planning to work, says Miller, we need to recognize the inherent connection between urban and rural policy making, and we need to effectively define what rural actually is. One potential solution: "Demographers in Minnesota coined the term 'ruralplex' (as opposed to 'metroplex') to describe areas connected by similar soil types, geology, climate, and settlement patterns."

 

Full Story: Rejecting the Narrow Framework of “Urban” Planning

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