When thinking about development cities and towns, the legal ramifications such things might not even seem like relevant ones. As people, we do not really see the process of planning behind the scenes, and as a result are not subjected to the restrictions and limitations in place. Surprisingly to some, urban planning takes much of it’s own roots in the Constitution of the United States. Not explicitly, but the fact that the Constitution does not contain references to substate units of government caused these units in reality to derive powers from the state itself. Through this, it is interesting to see what these municipalities actually were capable of within their own realm of responsibility.

For the most part, the municipalities are seen simply as entities of the state that function within the limits defined by the state itself. It would also be self-evident that at the federal level of government, there is influence from nationally imposed laws on development. What I find interesting about this is how interconnected all the levels of government actually are in helping to create the process of urban planning. This can be seen in the text for example with the flow of money progressing downwards into smaller levels of government and legislature.

Additionally, it is interesting to note the level of personal influence and opinion that involves public planning. While it would not make sense for planning to be purely factual and devoid of creative subjectivity, it is also somewhat surprising how much emotionality goes into the process. Ideally the people have a rather substantial say in the project, at least in terms of how they feel about it and how it benefits them. For example, it would be reasonable to assume that people could be passionate about the design and location of a new park in the city of New Brunswick seeing as it impacts their living area directly. They may strongly oppose, favor, or stand somewhere in between but either way the people have an emotional influence in the process.

I also found it interesting that planners themselves can have very little power directly in instituting new developments, and may purely act as say, a public servant. Sometimes it appears the planner will function as an advisor to the people in their own proceedings when lobbying for something. This makes sense however, as public opinion and influence would most likely have the most valid line of reasoning for wanting something, such as an additional bridge across the Raritan river along NJ Route 18 to allow for easier access for cars. Of course, a planner can take many more forms, as their priority is to create solutions and reason between the people and what is technically feasible.

Advertisements