Innovative planning in the U.S., Engaging communities to build better places
This report aims to document how planning is changing in the U.S. and identify new developments in the field that may eventually characterize planning worldwide. To do this, the report first describes several key trends: shifting demographics, evolving civic engagement, and the expanding use of the Internet for civic engagement. Next, the focus shifts to short cases that explore innovative planning activities in three U.S. cities. Case research is appropriate for investigations of contemporary phenomenon, especially when the "boundaries between the phenomenon and context are not clearly evident". These cases were selected for two reasons. First, they are located in leading U.S. cities that are home to sophisticated planning traditions and are at the forefront of American political and economic change. Boston and San Francisco anchor metropolitan regions that are home to clusters of high technology firms, which present a unique resource for the public sector. A longtime leader in urban planning, the city of Chicago is home to innovative urban policies, from green roofs to data driven management. Second, the cases illustrate diverse forms of urban planning. In Chicago, novel modeling and engagement techniques were applied during a process to produce a conventional metropolitan transportation plan. In Boston, a city-led strategy has coordinated public and private efforts to develop a new district, resulting in new ideas and institutions required to realize an urban design. San Francisco is experimenting with ongoing web-enabled engagement, as well as institutional arrangements to tap into the expertise of the city's entrepreneurial community.
Author: Robert Goodspeed
Co-authors: Lacey Sigmon, Douglas Plowman, Seul Lee
Publication: Finland Trade Center
Published: June 2014