Richard Carson, the former Executive Director of Portland METRO, says that one of the problems with the image of planners today is that we often try to push things that people do not want. Eventually we wind up being ignored as irrelevant, or actually spark a revolt...
This article is an excellent example of persuasive writing. It moves ahead rhythmically at a nice easy pace leading to a conclusion that seems to make intuitive sense. The vocabulary is easily at the collegiate rather than professorial level. This conveys intelligence of the author without any intellectual superiority affectations. This seems to make me want to trust Rich because he is not talking 'up' or 'down' to me. Rich's opinions are stated as facts and he continues to build his argument on successive opinions moving the audience closer to the denouement. I totally disagree with his opinions and conclusions pretty much across the board.
Carson says: "The real cost of growth is the dollar amount of public financing and taxation that the Oregon voter is willing to pay or to levy to support growth." This is simplistic and wrong. The real cost of growth would be figured out through a global cost-benefit analysis, going far beyond simple taxation issues, including such things as the value we put on the positive and negative changes in our lives resulting from growth.
Self-described "contrarian" planner Richard Carson (currently the Director of the Clark County, WA Community Development Department) has a must-read piece in this month's Planning magazine describing his department's experience using performance audits to improve service delivery.
Richard Carson tells us that he is a planner and a member of APA "who wants to be more than a planner" but also "a builder of community". So does every planner reading this newsletter. Carson also tells us that some "larger planning agencies are managed by people who are not AICP" and that some agencies are actually managed by lawyers and "political hacks". No doubt this is true, but the news will not surprise many planners. So where's the beef? The beef is in his critique of the AICP designation as "such a joke."
You may not like what Richard said and/or the way he said it, but kudos to him for having the courage to raise the issue. Frankly I'm getting tired of the "new urbanists" and their arrogant attitude that their approach is the right approach and any other approach is wrong. Come on, we all know there's no such thing as a "new" idea. And rehashing an old idea and giving it a fancy name - new urbanism, TND, neo-traditional - certainly doesn't make the purveyors of this new idea any wiser or more intelligent than the rest of us. Stop being arrogant and show some flexibility when confronted with "real world" planning issues.
Planner gadfly Richard Carson has proposed a novel solution to the densification versus sprawling dilemma: build new towns from scratch. Make them different sizes so new residents can pick the size of community they want. In this way, every American gets the size of the community they want to live in. Except for those Americans who aren't of the human species.
A recent essay by a Mr. Richard Carson, frequent PLANetizen contributor, caught us rather by surprise ("Urban Realism", Archis - Europe). We were informed that we had died, while we were under the delusion that we were up and about, building and renovating communities all over the US and the world.