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August 10 2011

Placemaking: How America Has Lost its Notion of “Place”

August 10th, 2011Posted by 

What makes a place?  And why is it important?  I have been thinking about these two questions quite a bit lately.  They are probably deeper questions than any of us realize; partly because the questions seem so simple, but also, I think, because the meaning of the word “place” has been so watered down by […]

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July 27 2011

HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods: What is the Government’s Role in Housing and Economic Development?

July 27th, 2011Posted by 

As I mentioned in my previous post, the heart of modern urban planning  is economic development. That includes not only helping the middle-class expand, but also creating conditions where people have a fighting chance of lifting themselves out of poverty.  In the past, most of planning’s focus was on the revitalization and renewal of business […]

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June 29 2011

Nonprofit and Urban Planning Agencies: Economic Development Partners

June 29th, 2011Posted by 

In a conversation I recently had with a professional planner, we were discussing the role of non-profits in helping individuals and businesses build wealth.  He expressed his deep appreciation for organizations, such as Community Action agencies, in helping planners do their job more effectively.  “After all,” he said, “what is the purpose of urban planning […]

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June 01 2011

Planning for Local Food Production: Food for Thought

June 1st, 2011Posted by 

In America, producing food has become the arena of large industrial farms operating with ultra efficiency. They have expansive tracts of land, large motorized equipment, unimaginable amounts of sugar-like substances and preservatives. Not to mention massive shipping and receiving systems.  At the end of it all, we have a complex system of marketing and a […]

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May 18 2011

Urban Planning and Public Health: Back Together Again

May 18th, 2011Posted by 

Urban planning is a field of study and practice that casts a wide net into a variety of related disciplines. Social and Fiscal Policy; Food Production (which I will discuss in a future post); Environmental Conservation; Public Health. If the connection between urban planning and public health is not readily apparent, consider the impacts on […]

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May 03 2011

2011 Community Preference Survey Shapes Urban Planning

May 3rd, 2011Posted by 

Urban planning as a profession has a history of unilaterally imposing designs and policies on a public that has often been disappointed with the results. Judging by the majority of suburban landscape that has eaten up America in the past 60 years, it is not too difficult to imagine why we have been so disappointed. […]

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April 13 2011

Urban Planning Goals vs. Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

April 13th, 2011Posted by 

With the budget in shambles and a crushing debt, United States policymakers are beginning to look anywhere they can to shed some extraneous dollars.  President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform made some very strong and somewhat extreme recommendations on where to cut the budget. The recommendations included the often-politically suicidal Social […]

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March 30 2011

Urban Planning in the Aftermath of the Foreclosure Crisis

March 30th, 2011Posted by 

Thirteen million and counting!  That is how many foreclosure filings have occurred in the U.S. since the recession began. The crisis may be slowing down, but that is up for debate. What is not debatable is that foreclosures can have a devastating effect on neighborhoods and cities.  Just ask a resident of Phoenix or Las […]

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March 16 2011

Are Banks On-Board with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)?

March 16th, 2011Posted by 

In the past few years, as we have tried to make sense of the financial crisis and recession, plenty of blame has gone around: from Fannie and Freddie, to Wall Street, to OPEC, to the policies of more than one administration.  One prominent culprit, at least among those on the right, has been the Community […]

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March 02 2011

Electric Cars: Saviors or the Final Undoing of American Cities?

March 2nd, 2011Posted by 

If the oil spike a couple years ago – and the one we are in the middle of now – has taught us anything, it is that something drastic needs to be done about our dependence on oil.  Eventually, the price reaches a point that demand falls as people look for other ways to travel; […]

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