What Are the Goals of Community Planning?

What are our priorities when it comes to neighborhood planning? According to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the American Planning Association, “Americans want planners to focus most on creating jobs—followed by safety, schools, protecting neighborhoods, and water quality.” 

But as Kaid Benfield of the National Resources Defense Council wrote on his blog, what do survey results mean?

In a poll where community planning was defined as “a process that seeks to engage all members of a community to create more prosperous, convenient, equitable, healthy and attractive places for present and future generations,” it is almost inconceivable that anyone would be opposed. So, is two-thirds a strong number or a weak one? What if planning had been defined more neutrally as “a process where local government works with citizens to chart future directions for the community’s land use, economic development, and services”?

What struck us, however, was the APA's definition of community planning, particularly its emphasis on equity. It sounded a lot like community development, and that's not a surprise because the two fields can often intersect.

So what are the goals of community planning? Here's a quick rundown of our own non-scientific survey. Click on the image to see results in a new window. Respondents were able to choose more than one option.

It's not too late to weigh in. Click here to take the survey or leave a comment below!

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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