Lee Striar has graciously agreed to be a guest blogger for us from now until whenever he tires of the effort. We hope you enjoy his writing and the inevitable conversation it will provoke. Share your own thoughts in the comments.
Nic and Chad have asked me to write a series of blog posts on the topic of city planning. As a strong supporter and big fan of the work of Postgreen, I am excited to share my opinions and expertise with them and the readers of this blog.
I’ll leave my bio relatively short. I have a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus in Urban Development and a certificate in Real Estate Design and Development, a joint venture of Penn’s School of Design and Wharton School of Business. Professionally, I have worked for the last 4+ years in the real estate industry, the last 2 years specifically in the real estate development industry. I reside in Fishtown/East Kensington, just down the street from the 100k house. Perhaps most importantly, my wife serves as head emergency babysitter for the beautiful babies of Postgreen.
Quite a few planning-themed websites exist already. To readers who are less familiar with planning and want to delve farther into the planning world: I will try to provide links to other sites and blogs whenever I find something relevant to the topic at hand. To readers with a planning background: I welcome your comments, ideas and inevitable criticisms…
This blog usually drills down into the details of specific projects. My series of posts will pull readers away from this more focused view and out into the satellite view. As this series moves along, more site specific posts will arise, but initially I intend to look holistically at the role planning should and must play in the modern, sustainable city.
We tend to only see city planners as the managers of our planning functions. When friends, colleagues and family talk to me about planning, they most often talk about neighborhood zoning issues. Real estate developers see planners as those who approve (or disapprove) of development proposals. Community leaders see planners as people write community or neighborhood plans. The professional city planner does indeed play all of these maintenance roles. The efficient and sustainable city however, needs entrepreneurial city planners who can create plans that recognize big picture opportunities and understand the economics of how to implement them on the city-wide and project-level scale. City planners also must be able to politically sell their plans to the public, and to reevaluate them when they become outdated. This series will look less at the traditional role and more at the entrepreneurial role of comprehensive city planning in reshaping our cities.
I will do my best to post weekly. My next post will begin the discussion on the role of planning with a little City Planning 101, touching on the evolution of city planning from the chaos of the 19th Century to, well, the chaos of today. Entire courses are taught on this, I’ll do my best to summarize it in my own 1,000 or so words.