Utne Blogs > Environment

Interactive Urban Planning 2.0

by Elizabeth Ryan 

Tags: Environment, urban planning, grassroots activism, community, Mark Gorton, Next American City, Elizabeth Ryan,

nac-covShouldn’t residents have a say in the city planning process? Julie Ramey at Next American City talked to Mark Gorton, who has been busy developing programs such as The Open Planning Project in an effort to bring about transit reform and make urban planning a more interactive process. Gorton says, “to a large extent my motivation is trying to restore the quality of the streets to a place where they’re oriented to people.” This means reversing the typical planning process—which revolves around planning for cars foremost, not people. Gorton adds:

The design of the street is really very crude and simple. When you start talking about what you’d like in front of your house—it’s not that pros couldn’t do a good job there, it’s just very hard to justify the time to send them around to talk to people and spend hundreds of hours on it. But people who live on that street are not daunted by the idea of having 10 to 20 meetings about what’s in their backyard. In that sense you can really leverage a lot of the local strength of the community. Right now [change] requires people who are very committed grassroots activists. I would like it if you didn’t have to be quite as determined.

Source: Next American City (article not available online)