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Michael Dudley's blog

Of Plans and Prose: Tips for Planning Journalism

Having served on the editorial board of Plan Canada for more than four years now, I've gained a pretty good sense of what makes a solid article on planning practice, and the common pitfalls to which authors often fall victim. As such, I offer below some guidelines that should assist prospective authors interested in submitting to the practitioner literature in producing the most suitable submissions requiring the least amount of revision.

Professional Planning Literature: Between Orthodoxy and Contrarianism in Challenging Times

Years ago, when I was researching my thesis concerning city planning thought in the 1940s and 50s, I came across an article from an American planning journal, which stated that "everyone is in favor of fast and efficient freeways" – the epitome of prevailing orthodoxy in an era of Interstate Highway construction. Now, when I share this quote with students, it only elicits derisive laughter.

End of an Era for Planning Information in Canada?

Whenever we weed through the records of our personal past -- diaries, letters, drawings, school assignments from our youth -- we face difficult decisions over what to keep and what to discard. We are forced to come to terms with our documented past, and often recognize the power such records hold to both inspire – and embarrass. For individuals and governments alike, the decision over what to record, what to retain and what to communicate is a potent one, for it can either afford or constrain opportunities for actions in the future, as well as confirm or conflict with the image or myths we choose to tell about ourselves.

Revitalize our Cities? Yes We Cannes!

Last week my family and I took in the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (more commonly referred to as the Cannes Commercials), the annual celebration of the best in filmed advertising. The winning ads were, as usual, an entertaining mix of the hilarious, risqué and the moving, and afforded the viewer the chance to be exposed to diverse film styles (and unfamiliar products) from around the world.

Information Sources in Planning: "Smart Growth Online" vs. “Freedom Advocates”

Where there are no facts, sentiment rules.

- Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West


In my previous two posts I have set the stage for our consideration of information sources in planning by arguing for the relevance of such an effort when it comes to (increasingly controversial) urban planning issues, and to situate such in terms of recognizing the influence of our world views on the production and use of informational and built environments. 

Information Sources in Planning: Introduction

For more than ten years now I have been a librarian at the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg, managing a small library dedicated to planning, geography, urban design and environmental issues. I have been extremely fortunate to have had the freedom in this role to evolve a hybridized career involving research, librarianship, teaching, writing and editing.

Reconsidering the City Since 9/11

We all remember that day: How we first heard, whom we were with, how we felt as we watched an iconic American cityscape transformed into a burning, toxic wreckage, knowing that  thousands were surely dead, many never to be found. We can all too easily recall how our disbelief quickly turned to horror, sadness and then fear – a fear that the world was now a fundamentally different place, and what that would mean for ourselves and our children.