I was very intrigued by these words from urban planner James Rojas:
"Collective community values should be the foundations of all planning decisions, projects, plans but planners rarely dive deep enough to engage the public's imagination to establish values.
Planning today lacks the creation of values: How do we value ourselves, each other, and the landscape? Instead planners ask people what they want or need which is similar to asking a child what they want for Christmas.
The planner creates the list that might include more parking, less congestion, more bike lanes, a subway, a bigger house, etc. Then they prioritize the list by popularity, or financial constraints rather than by values to make sure we are growing, developing in the right direction.
Individuals have values that dictate their everyday decisions. For example a person might value raising a child, establishing a career, leading a healthy life, etc. Everyday most people make decisions based on their values, which will help them achieve or sustain theses goals.
The communities have values, like individuals that should dictate the planning decisions. People need to imagine, collaborate and negotiate to create and establish these collective values. Everyday planning decisions and practices should uphold these values. Time and time again communities need to come together be reminded of them time or update them."
- James Rojas
What do you think about this? Should we change our planning approach to focus more on values, and less of a list?
James has a fabulous method of getting people of all ages into planning, and it's an exercise we can try out.
|Participants use found objects to create their design|
|Scene for "what's your favorite childhood memory?"|
More of James' work is on http://www.placeit.org/ and here is his recent presentation at the New Partners for Smart Growth.