Should the 'Master' Be Removed from Planning?

Activists and officials in Philadelphia are currently debating the chosen nomenclature of one of the largest and most influential forms of planning—master planning.

1 minute read

May 22, 2014, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"A group of African-American community activists wants the city to stop using the phrase 'master plan,' saying an adjective other than one that evokes slavery can be used to denote important planning documents," reports Kellie Patrick Gates.

"Tiffany Green and Tim Hannah of Black Communities United said as they've talked about planning efforts in their communities, people have found the word 'master' offensive."

The activists have a sympathetic ear in Philadelphia City Planning Commission Chairman Alan Greenberger, who thinks the word should be replaced, but for different reasons. According to Gates, "Greenberger said he has his own issues with 'master plan,' in part because the term makes it sound as though the goals and ideas within are carved in stone."

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