Pop Culture Hasn't Been Kind to Planning Lately
Nolan Gray ponders a question that might be keeping you at night: "Why is it that the only representation of city planning in popular culture over the past 25 years was such a sad, cynical man?"
The planner Gray speaks of is Mark Brendanawicz, a character from early episodes of the beloved show Parks and Recreation. "It’s conspicuous that even in a show so sympathetic to local government, the city planner remains a cynical, somewhat unlikable character," adds Gray.
Gray's analysis of the big, anxiety-inducing question about Parks and Recreation really breaks down into two questions: "First, are planners in fact jaded? And second, why would the show’s audience be so comfortable with having planners presented this way?"
The article traces a history of the profession before producing a call for a new, "liberal conception" of the planner.