A Call for a Youth Movement in the Planning Process

Most millennials and Gen Xers are either too busy or too disengaged to realize how the future of their hometowns is being shaped by people much older than they.
worldwaterweek / Flickr

After more than 35 years attending public meetings about community planning and development, Bob Ransford has an unfortunate observation. “…the most profound thing I’ve learned is that too often, the wrong people are in the room. That has led to long and non-productive processes. It’s led to unreasonable expectations and plans that fall far short of what’s really possible.”

“I’ve sat through too many public hearings on new housing developments where speaker after speaker objecting to a developer’s plan were people much older than the demographic cohort that the project was designed to accommodate.” Moreover, says Ransford, “Far too often, those participating in planning and influencing the important decisions are not the people who will be most impacted by those decisions over the long term.”

After breaking down the numbers behind the under-representation of younger cohorts on issues of planning, Ransford offers the following advice: “We need to find new ways of reaching out to the people who are going to be living 25 and 30 years from now in the housing, neighbourhoods and towns we are planning and building today.”

Full Story: Community planning must include input from younger people

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