A Planning Commission Podcast Journey: The 1,000 Joys of Planning

The Commissioners explore the facets of the planning profession that fill their cups with joy.

2 minute read

June 4, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Don Kostelec

Approving a new zoning code. Exploring a well-planned riverfront greenway. Breakup season (rivers, not relationships) in Alaska.

These are just a few of the thousand joys we feel in our day-to-day endeavors.

“I feel joy when someone tells us we are making a difference,” said Commissioner Chris Danley, reflecting on the interactive workshops he does on walkability, bikeability, health, and other planning topics with fellow Commissioner Don Kostelec.

What are the joys you experience as a planner? Send them to us via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.  

Commissioner Kostelec notes, “We can always find a unique circumstance that is both positive and replicable elsewhere.”

“Everyone is going to have that crappy, unwalkable road, but when we find unique things in different towns we can bring it to others as example,” he said. “It’s even better when we find those things in Fruitland or Mountain Home, Idaho, rather than in Portland or Seattle. We can then say, ‘They are doing this in Fruitland, Idaho, so it should be doable in your community.’”  

Commissioner Smith finds joy in simple things like kids on a playground. “Everytime I see little kids, they throw their bike down and run for the jungle gym. At some point somebody said ‘let’s put a park here.’ The kids don’t know or care how it got there but it’s utopia for them!”

The Commissioners then shift from happiness to what suggestions they have for planners who find themselves at the burnout stage.

Commissioner Danley discusses the joys of being a mentor and how that keeps him motivated.

“Go to the next town over, the next neighborhood over,” said Commissioner Smith. “You don’t to have go too far and you don’t have to get on a plane to do it. It’s gonna be fun!”

Planners can explore different opportunities, such as going to a conference on a subject matter other than planning to help get your mind in a different space. That’s Commissioner Kostelec’s advice.

The episode wraps with the Commissioners sharing their super-secret planner fantasies. You’ll have to tune in to see what they dream about!  

The Planning Commission is a spirited debate by planners, for planners. This independent outlet for all things planning explores the serious and lighter sides of the profession, poses probing and creative questions to guests, and always pairs the episode guest and topic with a choice libation. Listen to the podcast for a special offer from Planetizen.

Monday, May 29, 2023 in The Planning Commission Podcast

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