Urban Planning, Explained

Planetizen and Planetizen Courses teamed up to film this short video that aims to clarify the field of urban planning in a world full of plans and planning.

November 11, 2019, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

As a long-time observer and writer on the subject of planning in all its forms, I long ago accepted the idea that improving my understanding of urban planning is a path toward a more impactful and positive role in the community, the city, and the world. One of the persistent goals of my career has to provide clear and simple access to this field's most complex stories. Doing so is a constant challenge, frequently because of a widespread lack of foundational knowledge in the subject. Most people just have very little idea what a planner is, what planners do, and how professional and academic planning differs from the more mundane planning required of every single day in life.

Most commonly, "city planners" are described generically and usually as a sort of token or shorthand for bureaucrats or elected officials with the power to envision a desirable future and set cities and communities on a path toward realizing that vision. Maybe that shorthand is useful for conceptualizing the ambitions of the field of planning, while acknowledging that the reality of the job is probably far out of line with that ideal. The video above proceeds by accepting that shorthand as the foundational knowledge upon which to build a more incisive understanding of urban planning.

With this video, we hoped to provide a resource for planners to cite in the need of a simple explanation of their work. We also hope that non-planners, hoping to improve their civic acumen and the language to wield their democratic rights, will also find here an aperture for a lifetime of study and learning about the role of urban planning in the built and natural environments.

Friday, November 8, 2019 in Planetizen Courses via YouTube

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