Feared Dead, Math’s Back: Planning Nerds Vindicated

Deciding how to grow at the local level's not a red thing or a blue thing. It's a math thing. Ben Brown's got the lowdown.

1 minute read

March 22, 2017, 12:00 PM PDT

By Hazel Borys


Confusion

ImageFlow / Shutterstock

"Planning for the future tends to be a humiliating exercise. Whatever’s headed our way is both inevitable and unpredictable. Yet because it brings with it the consequences of decisions we made or ducked in the past and now have to manage or endure in the present, we have to take a stab at decisions that are coherent and well-informed."

"Or not."

"Lately, owing to chaos at the federal level, we’ve appeared all in for a going-with-the-gut planning strategy. Even when it was clear the gut was on a fact-free diet. But there’s evidence that, at least in some policy-making categories, rational analysis using, you know, data might be making a comeback."

Brown looks at the city planning efforts making a difference with math-based decision making, including the "Freeways Without Futures" report, the work of Joe Minicozzi and his Urban3 group, Chuck Marohn and Strong Towns, Scott Bernstein and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Joe Minicozzi as a close cousin to Sesame Street’s famous Count. Image credit: Urban3.

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