In recent blogs I have written about places and plans in many different locales and through time. Students often ask, “do I need to visit places to know about them”?
Earlier blogs have explored books and journals for finding out about the basics of planning history. In this blog I add to this by listing a just few of the places it is important to recognize as a planner. It is of course difficult to make such lists but students ask for them with some frequency. Of course, places are one thing and planning processes quite another--and in planning process is very important. Upcoming blogs will deal with plans and processes.
Walkable Los Angeles. Casual visitors may be surprised to learn that this is not an oxymoron.
Over the next few months, Congress will continue to debate health insurance reform, and in particular, whether to create a "public option"- a government-financed insurance company which would compete with private health insurers. Opponents of the public option fear that the government package might drive private insurers out of business. Are such concerns legitimate? American transportation history may give ammunition to both supporters and opponents of the public option.
Once upon a time, there was a city called City. And everyone living in City voted in the same elections and paid taxes to the same government.
And then 5 percent of the people decided that they wanted to live in an new neighborhood that was opened up for development by the highways. And they called it Richburb, because they were, if not rich, at least a little richer than many of the people in the city (since even if there wasn’t zoning to keep the poor out, new housing usually costs more than old housing anyhow).
See the building and the walls in the lower left? They're designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. They're part of the ensemble he designed at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Mies and his office designed this corner around the same time they were designing the masterpiece on campus - Crown Hall.
Last week I attended the Society of American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH) conference in Portland, Maine. The conference attracted a variety of notable planners and historians to my hometown for sessions on everything from radical 1970s public participation exercises to best practices in waterfront planning.
At the conference, outgoing group president and historian Greg Hise gave a provocative lecture titled “Whither the Region, or Why Ought There to Be an ‘R’ in SACRPH?” In the talk he described how he believed there was a declining interest in the organization in studying regions, pointing out that the word was declining in use in the titles of papers presented at recent conferences.
Constantly updated, the internet has created an important tool for accessing up-to date information—text, still images, and video. Increasingly it also provides a window into aspects of history, including planning history, that have previously been difficult to find. Documents, indexes to archival materials, and the photographic and map collections of historical societies are accessible online. Less well known are film and video resources—resources that can be played online or downloaded. The Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division now boasts an outstanding collection of hundreds of videos relevant to urban issues.
Some examples illustrate the range: