WHAT DO PLAN COMMISSION AND LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS KNOW ABOUT DEVELOPMENT?
– Pete Pointer
The question above has stimulated my response. The concept of reasonable men/women governing with opinion will continue to apply when there is limited knowledge to guide leadership decisions. The concept has been borrowed from a judicial system that has always struggled to replace opinion with science. City planning and design are in the same boat. These decisions affect populations and the planet but are based on popular, political, and special interest opinion. It’s like planning to free Europe and the Pacific Rim from tyranny in a town hall with no policy declaration, general staff, goals, intelligence, strategy, objectives, military training, or successful tactics; but with plenty of conflicting opinion and unrestrained behavior. Initiatives such as affordable housing, land use compatibility, bedroom suburbs, urban renewal, and so on are internal urban issues that have distracted attention from a threat that has only become visible with the use of satellite photography.
The result of our focus on internal urban and suburban objectives has produced metastasizing sprawl across the face of our planet. Sprawl is a disease. It is a pathogenic product of limited awareness; and of mistaken opinion based on the belief that annexation is a solution to population growth on a world without end. Amen. It is a threat that requires an appropriate response based on a new scientific language and decision-making organization that can mobilize and correlate the diverse art and science interests involved.
In my opinion, the only policy with enough scope to address sprawl will involve city planning and design that is capable of correlating the diverse interests associated with the production of shelter, movement, open space, and life support for growing populations within the urban and rural phyla of a Built Domain that is geographically limited to protect its source of life - The Natural Domain. In other words, the policy must become a declaration of symbiotic survival based on a new language and science of city design.