Comprehensive Plans Essay

1278 words - 5 pages

Throughout the western world once the need for urban planning was recognized albeit gradually there had been many stages of improvement in the way Planners approached urban problems. Various time periods saw evolution of different methodologies and strategies in the way planners plan. The paradigms shifted from focusing initially on large plans and city beautiful movements to more neighborhood based community improvement plans today. However, the most important change that had occurred over the period of time in planning thinking should be the way the focus had shifted from physical aspects of a city to community participation and intermittent process involved in making a plan. “Thus since the early 1960s, the plan has not occupied center stage” (Neuman 1998, 208). This Plans performed a secondary role, sometimes even as flexible documents to support the process. In the end the Planning documents saw more of the process in terms of bringing together various groups, citizen participation, identifying the issues, negotiating and mediating and forming the immediate strategies to tackle some of these issues. In the end the comprehensive plans and the strategic plans started dealing less with the physical aspects as the Plan implementation became more and more difficult and irrelevant to keep up pace with the fast change scenarios. So cities like Houston relied on no comprehensive plans but more on the large scale development projects, infrastructure led developments, and initiatives grown from the neighborhoods (Neuman 2003, 25). However it cannot be said there is a fixed way of planning as the process itself is constantly evolving and as more and more ways of theories surface, the debates of “content versus context, rational versus political, comprehensive versus incremental, substance versus process” (Neuman 1998, 211) will remain making it harder to link the theory and practice of planning.
As much as the varied nature of planning methodology the objectives of plan making also differed from city to city with varying sizes and diverse economies. More affluent and thriving cities tend to concentrate on the positive growth trend and make positives statements about the future whereas the cities that are decline and losing population concentrate of renewal efforts and job creation in the plan making process. These plans were also influenced by the governmental structure and political power held by the plan making authorities and various local bodies.
The shift in plan making based on the local economic conditions as well as the changing context capped by the increasing influence of the various bodies in the process rather than just the technical and rational planning employed previously made plans like the comprehensive plan for city of New York in 1969. Although the plan was hailed as a new way of planning focusing on the process recognizing certain realities moving away from the “long-range policies based on the statistical extrapolations”...

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