The Trouble With City Planning

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Contents

  1. Book Review: The Trouble with City Planning - Jacob A. Wagner,
  2. The Trouble with City Planning by Kristina Ford – review
  3. The Globe and Mail

But nobody wanted to do a deal in a city still under water.


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  • Review: The Trouble with City Planning, by Kristina Ford - The Globe and Mail.

The third was the "just fix the neighbourhoods in need plan," do what has to be done so that people can come back home and don't worry about the big picture. That just wasn't possible. The fourth plan promised salvation through "starcitecture.

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The fifth plan, "the leave everything the way it was before Katrina so we can get federal funding" plan, was the one finally adopted. Ford cleverly uses this tragic, absurd and highly accelerated sequence of plans as a case study of the different philosophies and methods of contemporary city planning. What exactly she sees as "the trouble" is a bit elusive however. Sometimes there is not enough community consultation, sometimes too much.

Book Review: The Trouble with City Planning - Jacob A. Wagner,

Political direction is essential, but planners need to be insulated from political interference. Planners' professional training is an asset, because it brings objectivity to an urban issue, but it is riddled with un-admitted assumptions.

All true, but the great skill of good city planning is to live with all these contradictory notions and still know what to do. Ford's subsequent prescription for the optimal city planning process is not the best part of an otherwise interesting and engaging book and doesn't translate that well to Canada. City planning is not in the same trouble here for a number of reasons. Nothing is more difficult than planning a declining city like New Orleans or Detroit. Our growing cities benefit from a dynamic which, although often unruly and raw, at least provides a direction that can be steered.

The Trouble with City Planning by Kristina Ford – review

And Canadian city government, for all its mind-numbing parochialism, does establish a more sober basis for planning than more politically fractured US cities. By temperament a distressingly modest profession, Canadian planners can nonetheless offer up a city like Vancouver, perhaps the best planned contemporary city in the world, a place worth all those troubles.

Would we do better here in Canada at coping with a crisis like Katrina? The ordered prescriptions of city planning were never intended to be put under such stress.

Only then do you discover what your city is really made of. Joe Berridge is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners and was strategic planning adviser to Manchester after their bombing. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

The Globe and Mail

Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe. F ord was director of city planning in New Orleans for eight years before Hurricane Katrina struck in , bringing floods and devastation on a scale unparalleled in an American city in modern times. According to Ford, the hurricane was an opportunity for city planners to do their job: Her book is a detailed and insightful analysis of what went wrong and a blueprint for how city planning can be improved in all cities.

February 22, ; Issue published: Wagner University of Missouri-Kansas City. First Page Full Text. Remember me Forgotten your password? Subscribe to this journal. Vol 49, Issue 2, Tips on citation download. New Orleans under Reconstruction: