What's Wrong With Urban Planning

A freelance writer for the Chicago Tribune airs his frustrations with urban planning, and tries to offer an alternative solution.
September 25, 2003, 8am PDT | Connie Chung
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"What we do hear from urban 'reformers' is the same tired, nostrums about the need for 'smart growth,' a thinly disguised pleading for concentrating political, zoning, transportation planning and other powers that influence the urban form in the hands of a few....What we need is some truly original thinking by urbanologists, or as they like to say, a new paradigm. The cities of the 19th Century grew in compact, dense forms because of the economic and social requirements imposed on them--a face to face economy and horse-and-buggy transportation. The postwar period brought with it new requirements as well as preferences for mobility, safety and self-determination that reshaped the metropolitan form. Obviously, the city will never disappear, because spatial proximity of people always will be present....Widespread acceptance of the idea that production is more important than physical presence could have a huge, and beneficial, impact on urban form. Meanwhile, just let the rest of us, including immigrants, live where and how we want. It would be good for society."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Monday, September 22, 2003 in The Chicago Tribune
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