Most professions have special responsibilities to society. Physicians are expected to observe the Hippocratic oath. Police officers must apply the law fairly and refrain from abusing their power. Lawyers and accountants are expected to offer accurate advice and protect client confidentiality.
And planners? We have a special responsibility to consider all perspectives and impacts. When evaluating public policy questions most people ask selfishly, “How does this affect me?” Planners, in contrast, should ask selflessly, “How does this affect the community, particularly disadvantaged and underrepresented groups?”
I spent last week at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila, in the Philippines, where we are starting on an exciting but humbling project: developing a more comprehensive framework for transport project evaluation. Among other factors, this project will develop better methods for incorporating social equity impacts into transport planning. This is important in any community, and particularly in developing countries where many people are extremely poor. What transport policies and planning practices respond to their needs?
Healthy children grow bigger, but once people reach maturity at about age 20 continued physical growth is harmful - it makes us fat. It is certainly possible to develop our skills, strength and knowledge, but most adults should not pursue growth as an end in itself. This also applies to communities.
In a recent blog titled, Livability and All That, highway expert Alan Pisarski argues that highway-oriented transport systems are necessary for efficient consumer and labor markets.
Transportation facilities and services are among these basic government functions.
Why are otherwise generous and smart people sometimes selfish and irrational?
Why didn’t the chicken cross the road?
Because pedestrian Level-Of-Service was below “C”.