What's Missing from City Plans? Everything That Matters, Says Economist

In an op-ed for Forbes, economist Carl Schramm argues that "the practice of city planning has escaped reality." He indicts planners, and the plans that cities produce, for ignoring the economic imperatives that constitute a successful city.
IvanWalsh.com / flickr

For Schramm, a so-called "evangelist of entrepreneurship", an examination of unspecified "plans" for five unnamed "cities" by his unexplained "students" reveals the shameful truth about city plans: "Its highly stylized form, apparently reflective of a settled professional culture, is first and foremost a political document disguised as a physical plan for a specific locale."

While Schramm may have a valid point in criticizing the inadequate analysis and integration of measures of economic success in some planning documents, his overly simplistic hyperbole does his argument no favors.

"If planning is to be helpful it must see cities first as the economic communities that they were at their beginning," he says. While that may be worth debating, demonizing all planners as adherents to the notion that "the growth of government and its control over all aspects of the built environment [is] the pathway to the cities of tomorrow," is certainly not the way to engage them in a productive dialogue. 

Full Story: It's Time For City Planners To Adapt A New Model

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00