Building a peaceful community with good planning



Building a peaceful community does not just result from how we treat one another (see previous post), but can be literally develop based on how we design our communities and allocate funding. The days of the “wrong side of the tracks” should have ended a long time ago. As professional planners, it is our job to assure such a discriminatory land use pattern never occurs again. Here are some basic ideas that should be incorporated in all instances which are provided in no particular order of importance. Any additions or feedback are most welcome.  Peace!

  • No one part of a community is any more important than the other parts – this mantra must be applied to all long-term planning functions, whether it be the Master Plan, Future Land Use Map, Zoning Ordinance/Map, Capital Improvements Plan, Park & Recreation Plan, Non-Motorized Plan, Transportation Plan, school funding, and other efforts. Granted, in specific years, some areas of a community may receive more attention, but it must not be systemic.
  • Day-to-day planning/zoning efforts must be applied equally throughout the community – the same level of scrutiny must be applied to all proposals no matter the location, neighborhood, or applicant.
  • All transportation modes must be given equal priority – not everyone wants or can afford a car, therefore pedestrian, bicycle, transit, rail, air, and other modes must be fairly funded to assure a healthier and complete transportation network that serves all needs.
  • New developments must be required to incorporate a substantial proportion of the project to affordable and/or workforce housing options – this is imperative to assure equitable allocation of limited resources. Forcing lower-middle income households out to the hinterlands not only stokes frustration, anger, and distrust, but hinders economic development as larger proportions of household incomes are dedicated to commuting costs.
  • Social equity, diversity, inclusiveness,equality, and social justice must be incorporated into every planning document – the haves and the have-nots must BOTH feel empowered and an important part of the community in order to build trust and to enhance peaceful co-existence.
  • Where LULU’s (locally unwanted land uses) are situated must be equitable and based on good land use practices – no one part of the community should bear the brunt. When I lived in Central Ohio, it was pretty obvious that the nastier land uses tended to be located on the south side of Columbus. This problem can be observed in many other communities as well.
  • All voices matter – the opinions of the less fortunate or newcomers must carry just as much weight as those of the well-to-do and/or long-term residents. No picking favorites.
  • Good ideas are not limited to one group – all those impacted by planning and land use decisions must be included in the discussion, not just “residents” or “taxpayers” – property owners, commuters, workers, homeless, employers/business owners, visitors, students, landlords, etc. all have a say.
  • Areas of green and/or open space must be equally distributed throughout the community – everyone deserves access to fresh air, breathing space, and room to relax and recreate.
  • Communities are a living entity – as professional planners, it is our job to assure that all of it is well fed and healthy.
  • Land use planning must address the needs of all socioeconomic and demographic groups – this is true on both the micro (case-by-case) and macro levels.
  • Community/neighborhood integrity must be preserved – no more slicing and dicing up communities with heartless concrete highways that decimate neighborhoods and displace the less fortunate.
  •  A healthier community is a happier (and more productive) community – this would seem to be a no-brainer, but far too often economic development is seen as a panacea that solves all of societies problems. Physical and mental health planning, along with a healthy environment in which to live should always be prioritized ahead of economic development planning.
  • Sprawl is an abomination to peaceful coexistence – it is inherently unequal and discriminatory. A prosperous community must grow equally and inclusively, not at the benefit of some and the detriment of others.
  • No community is an island unto itself – inter-jurisdictional cooperation and coordination is critical to successful planning and to maintaining peaceful and harmonious relationships within a region. Furthermore, natural features, infrastructure, and pollution are completely unaware of political boundaries.
Posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, Advocacy, airports, Alternative transportation, architecture, Bus transportation, Cars, cities, civics, civility, climate change, commerce, culture, diversity, economic development, environment, gentrification, geography, health, historic preservation, history, homelessness, Housing, humanity, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, Love, new urbanism, peace, placemaking, planning, pollution, poverty, rail, revitalization, social equity, spatial design, sprawl, sustainability, third places, traffic, transit, transportation, Travel, urban planning, walking, zoning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten ways urban planners can promote a peaceful community


To a certain extent these are common sense approaches to maintaining peace during the planning process, but considering the extent of rancor and divisiveness in our nation and around the world, I thought they would be useful. They are presented in no particular order of importance, thought he first one is essentially the Golden Rule. Several others are similar to aspects the AICP Code of Ethics. Additions are most welcome. Namaste!

  • Treat everyone equally and with respect, as you would wish to be treated.
  • Maintain an open dialogue and an open process.
  • Listen carefully and with empathy.
  • Answer all questions truthfully and accurately.
  • Insist that everyone being respectful to one another (talk to each other, not at each other).
  • Think outside of the box or outside of our own self-imposed silos.
  • Be open to innovative/novel ideas, by sharing all ideas.
  • Seek common ground and build upon it.
  • Praise/thank all who participate or contribute in a constructive manner.
  • Learn from mistakes and avoid repeating them.
Posted in cities, civics, civility, humanity, inclusiveness, peace, planning, social equity, urban planning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Religion city/town names



Below is my list of city names which incorporate a religion’s name or a sect/denomination of a religion in its name. Any additions or corrections are most welcome.

  • Brethren, Michigan
  • Christiansburg, Virginia
  • Christiansted, US Virgin Islands
  • Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Methodist Town – neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Quaker City, Ohio
  • Quaker Springs, New York
  • Quakertown, New Jersey
  • Quakertown, Pennsylvania
  • Shaker Heights, Ohio
Posted in cities, geography | 2 Comments

American civilian airports at former World War II POW camps


Bradley Field – Source:

I was quite surprised to learn recently how many sites of current civilian airports in the United States once were the location of a World War II prisoner of war camp. It was certainly not an aspect of American history I had ever learned about in school or college.

Camp Freeland – Source:

Of the six (6) camps listed below, by far the largest in terms of number of prisoners held was Camp Freeland (an odd name for a POW camp, though named for the nearby community), which is now the site of MBS International Airport in the Midland-Bay City-Saginaw Region of Michigan.

  • Bradley International Airport, Connecticut – then Bradley Field – housed up to 250 German prisoners.
  • Hammond Northshore Regional Airport, Louisiana – German prisoner population of 150 worked at Bogalusa Tung Oil Co. or Gaylord Container.
  • MBS International Airport, Michigan – then Camp Freeland – German prisoner population peaked at 1,070 in 1945 at this camp.
  • Pine Bluff Regional Airport, Arkansas – then Grider Field
  • Tampa International Airport, Florida – then Drew Army Airfield – POW’s worked here, but were housed at Camp Blanding located three miles away.
  • Will Rogers World Airport – Oklahoma – then Camp Oklahoma City- prisoner population peaked at 225 in 1945.


Posted in adaptive reuse, airport planning, airports, aviation, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, North America, pictures, Transportation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Classic car nameplates/hood ornaments

Took these photos (and many others) of classic car nameplates and hood ornaments over the past holiday weekend during the National Cherry Festival Classic Car Show. Enjoy!

yes, that is me in the reflection.

Posted in advertising, art, branding, Cars, commerce, consumerism, culture, historic preservation, history, marketing, pictures, product design, transportation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sweet Tooth Cities


Here’s is the list I came up with. Any additions or corrections are most welcome. These cities are not meant to be specifically named for something sweet, but instead include a sweet item in their name.

  • Agua Dulce (Sweet Water), Texas
  • Cocoa, Florida
  • Cocoa Beach, Florida
  • Dulce (Sweet), New Mexico
  • Heath, Ohio
  • Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • Honey Brook, Pennsylvania
  • Honey Creek, Georgia
  • Honey Grove, Texas
  • Honeyville, Utah
  • Mint Hill, North Carolina
  • Minto, North Dakota
  • Mintum, California
  • Rio Dulce (Sweet River), Guatemala
  • Sucre (Sugar), Bolivia
  • Sugar City, Colorado and Idaho
  • Sugar Creek, Missouri
  • Sugarcreek, Ohio and Pennsylvania
  • Sugar Grove, Illinois and Virginia
  • Sugar Grove Station, West Virginia
  • Sugar Hill, Georgia
  • Sugar Land, Texas
  • Sugarland Run, Virginia
  • Sugar Loaf, Virginia
  • Sugar Mountain, North Carolina
  • Sweet Gum Head, Florida
  • Sweet Home, Arkansas and Oregon
  • Sweetser, Indiana
  • Sweet Water, Alabama
  • Sweetwater, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas
  • Sweetwater Creek, Florida
  • Sweetwater Oaks, Florida
  • Sweet Springs, Missouri
  • Zoetermeer (Sweetlake), Netherlands (Thank you, Margriet)
  • Zoeterwoude (Sweetforest), Netherlands (Thank you, Margriet)

Sources:, 2014 Rand McNally Road Atlas, and personal knowledge

Posted in branding, cities, Communications, economic development, fun, geography, history, Language, nature, place names | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Mackinac’s hidden gem – St. Ignace

View of St. Ignace from Star Line ferry

Too often those visiting the Mackinac Straits area of Michigan will concentrate their trip on Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City, when there is a charming, entertaining, and very historic city just across the bridge in St. Ignace.

St. Ignace was founded in 1671 making it one of the oldest communities in the country. Below are provided a series of photos showing just a few of the highlights.

Add in the facts that it is a shorter ferry ride to/from Mackinac Island and the city has lower lodging and dining costs that more than offset the Mackinac Bridge tolls, then St. Ignace quickly becomes the go-place for budget-conscious travelers.

Chief Wawatam Lighthouse

Father Marqutte Park and Museum of Ojibwa Culture

Huron Boardwalk and Chief Wawatam Lighthouse

Chief Wawatam Statue

Father Marquette gravesite

Father Marquette Statue


Posted in fun, geography, historic preservation, history, placemaking, planning, tourism, Travel | Leave a comment