Building a peaceful community with good planning


Source: handinhandworld.com

Source: handinhandworld.com

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.
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This entry was 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 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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