John Levy’s, “Contemporary Urban Planning”, talks about the association between Planning and Policy. Levy stated, “Planning often involves the matters in which people have large emotional stakes . . . .” (Levy; 93). When putting into effect a plan that could impact the housing, commerce, industry, entertainment, and services, of a given demographic, the interests of that demographic can often be linked to their circumstances, moods, and relationships. As someone who desires to become an Urban Planner Chapter 6 of “Contemporary Urban Planning” increased my knowledge on the association between politics and planning. I recognized Planner’s position within the political sphere and how that position can oftentimes be challenging. A Planner has to act as a public servant, an innovator, an entrepreneur, an advocate, and an agent of change (Levy; pp. 101). They have to where all of these different hats while being within the executive branch of government, meaning that their role within the government is to implement laws. They do not have the authority to legislate nor define laws and all of the power that they have comes from primarily legislative powers.

For example, I can see how politics affects Planning through eminent domain. The authorizations of eminent domain has given Planners the ability to determine the use of land. However, because of the multifaceted effects of eminent domain, there are many pros and cons to this right leaving Planners in conflict of interests between the public, private and the general public. The cons of it being that a private owner could feel as though they had been unfairly compensated, the public sector being left with ineffective plans, the abuse of power and evictions. The pros of it being that the land is being used for public purposes, the private owners ability to negotiate, and economic benefits. Eminent domain directly links the Planner to the interests of parties; politics.

In addition, Planners have greater proximity with the general public than do elected officials. Planners are in the position to know what the people want and need. However, it is the elected official who has legislative authority. For this reason, if Planners want to increase the likelihood of plans being endorsed, they not only have to win over the public but they also have to know how to negotiate with these elected officials so that, if needs be, laws can be changed, created, and enacted, so that we can execute laws that are in favor of planning initiatives. As Levy stated, “Planning . . . is in large the art of compromise” (Levy; 99). Just like politics, Planning is the ability to promote to and negotiate with higher powers in order to form a consensus.

References:

  1. Levy, John M.. Chapter 6: Planning and Politics. Contemporary Urban Planning, pp. 93–106. Print.
  2. Auerbach, Gedalia. “Urban Planning: Politics vs. Planning and Politicians vs. Planners.”Horizons in Geography, No. 79/80, no. Themes in Israeli Geography, 1 Jan. 2012, pp. 49–69. JSTOR, JSTOR.
  3. Carson, Richard H. “The Art of Planning and Politics.” Planetizen: The Independent Resource for People Passionate about Planning and Related Fields, 24 Sept. 2017, http://www.planetizen.com/node/67.

 

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