Last Thursday I debated the merits of smart growth with ‘Anti-planner’ Randal O'Toole at a community forum in Langley, a rapidly-growing suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. A recording of the Debate and presenters' slide shows are available at www.southfraser.net/2012/02/smart-growth-debate-media.html. At the end more than three quarters of the audience voted for a pro-smart-growth resolution. This may reflect some selection bias – people concerned about sprawl may have been more likely to attend – but I believe that given accurate information most citizens will support smart growth due to its various savings and benefits.
Smart growth sometimes faces organized opposition by critics. It is important that planners respond effectively and professionally. Here is my critique of O'Toole’s claims and some advice for planners who face similar critics.
Where there are no facts, sentiment rules.
- Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West
In my previous two posts I have set the stage for our consideration of information sources in planning by arguing for the relevance of such an effort when it comes to (increasingly controversial) urban planning issues, and to situate such in terms of recognizing the influence of our world views on the production and use of informational and built environments.