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Policy, Planning, and People

Policy, Planning, and People presents original essays by leading authorities in the field of urban policy and planning. The volume includes theoretical and practice-based essays that integrate social equity considerations into state-of-the-art discussions of findings in a variety of planning issues.

Policy, Planning, and People
Promoting Justice in Urban Development

Edited by Naomi Carmon and Susan S. Fainstein

2013 | 416 pages | Paper $55.00
Public Policy / Social Science / General
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Profession of Urban Planning and Its Societal Mandate
—Naomi Carmon
Chapter 2. Restoring Just Outcomes to Planning Concerns
—Norman Fainstein and Susan S. Fainstein
Chapter 3. Environmental Equity: Is It a Viable City Planning Goal?
—Eran Feitelson
Chapter 4. From Socialism to Capitalism: The Social Outcomes of the Restructuring of Cities
—Iván Tosics
Chapter 5. The Past, Present, and Future of Professional Ethics in Planning
—Martin Wachs

Chapter 6. Toward an Equity-Oriented Planning Practice in the United States
—Norman Krumholz
Chapter 7. Urban Transportation and Social Equity: Transportation-Planning Paradigms That Impede Policy Reform
—Jonathan Levine
Chapter 8. Social Equity in the Network Society: Implications for Communities
—Penny Gurstein
Chapter 9. The Center-Periphery Dilemma: Spatial Equality and Regional Development
—Daniel Shefer and Amnon Frenkel
Chapter 10. Planning and Poverty: An Uneasy Relationship
—Michael B. Teitz and Karen Chapple
Chapter 11. The City as a Local Welfare System
—Alberta Andreotti and Enza Mingione
Chapter 12. Policies Toward Migrant Workers
—Itzhak Schnell
Chapter 13. Planning for Aging Involves Planning for Life
—Deborah Howe

Chapter 14. Public Housing in the United Sites: Neighborhood Renewal and the Poor
—Lawrence J. Vale
Chapter 15. Neighborhood Social Mix: Theory, Evidence, and Implications for Policy and Planning
—George C. Galster
Chapter 16. Suspicion, Surveillance, and Safety: A New Imperative for Public
—Tridib Banerjee and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
Chapter 17. Beyond the Ladder: New Ideas about Resident Roles in Contemporary Community Development in the United States
—Rachel Bratt and Kenneth M. Reardon

List of Contributors

Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

Preface: Purpose, Context, and Process of the Book

This collection of invited essays, especially written for this book, provides the readers with the state of the art of urban studies and planning oriented to the theme of Planning as if People Mattered. In addition, it offers proactive urban planners and urban policy makers cutting-edge conclusions on central policy issues, as well as recommendations for coping with the challenges of enhancing quality of life for all in the built environment.

In the last few decades, much of urban policy and planning has focused on increasing the competitiveness of cities. Embedded in the ideology of neoliberalism—a belief that markets offer the best approach to improving the human condition—the focus on competitiveness by urban governments has essentially made an analogy between the efforts by businesses to gain a lion's share of their market and that of cities to capture productive enterprises. This approach presents at least two serious problems to those concerned with the well-being of urban residents: First, can we simply write off those places that do not prevail in the contest, as we would for businesses that are obsolete? And second, if success in the battle for investment depends on winning the race to the bottom—competing on the basis of low wages, deregulation, weak environmental protection, displacement of residents from valuable land, etc.—then an increase in aggregate wealth may benefit only a few and contributes to widening inequality.

The effect of globalization in conjunction with the neo-liberal ideology and strategies has been to heighten inequality in many countries (OECD 2008, 2012). Until recently this outcome has largely been sidelined in public discourse, as the dominating belief was that a rising tide lifts all boats. Yet not everybody has shared this belief; there have been colleagues who thought differently, that is, instead of expecting the market to cause benefits to "filter down," they advocated deliberate changes. They worked to improve the situation of less advantaged groups and individuals and thus to promote equality of opportunity and increased equality of results. Aiming to present the fruits of the work of such colleagues to publics of students, scholars and decision makers, we conducted the following process:

  • We invited contributions from senior scholars in North America, the European Community, and Israel whose work has expressed deep involvement with social aspects of urban policy and planning; the group included planning theorists as well as researchers of practical fields, all united in their longstanding interest in planning for and with people.

  • We requested essays regarding the state of the art in each author's subject of expertise; authors were asked to include in their writing both a theoretical approach/analysis and evidence-based conclusions and recommendations. The guiding principle was looking back for the future—that is, describing and analyzing evidence from the past and using it to draw significant conclusions, possibly suggest paradigm shifts, and propose recommendations for future planning.

  • We provided an arena for mutual exchange of ideas. In June 2009, the authors were invited to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where they spent four days and evenings listening to each other's presentations, taking planning-related tours and spending hours discussing issues raised by the participants. It was a special opportunity to benefit from the perspective and insights of a unique assembly of colleagues.

  • We went through a rigorous peer review process by highly experienced authors, who reviewed their colleagues' contributions and assisted in making them appropriate for publication in this book.

Between 2009 and 2013, the surrounding socioeconomic climate has changed. The belief in the "rightness" of the neoliberal ideology has been shaken following the global financial crisis that started toward the end of the first decade of the millennium. Most salient have been the protest movements, which spread in 2011 to 951 cities in 82 countries around the world. People, most of them middle-class and highly educated young adults, went on the march in Arab Middle Eastern capitals, in New York, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome, Tel-Aviv, Sydney, and Hong Kong, as protesters aimed to "initiate global change" against capitalism, tyranny, and austerity measures (Rogers 2011). As a result, both the public and the professional discourses are changing, and terms like inequality and social responsibility are back on the table.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which coined the phrase "We are the 99 percent," highlighted the huge increase in income enjoyed by the top one percent of the population as opposed to the stagnation and loss in income loss of the rest. Its spread led Peter Dreier (2011) to conclude that it had changed the national conversation in the United States: "At kitchen tables, in coffee shops, in offices and factories, and in newsrooms, Americans are now talking about economic inequality, corporate greed, and how America's super-rich have damaged our economy and our democracy." An analysis of the Lexis/Nexis database shows that whereas in October 2010, U.S. newspapers published 409 stories with the word "inequality," after the start of Occupy Wall Street in September the frequency soared to 1,269 stories in October 2011. The parallel changes in Israeli and UK media were factors of 6 and 2.5 (Google News). In December 2011, Time magazine in December 2011 selected The Protester as Person of the Year. In January 2012, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, featured Occupy Wall Street protestors, and a newspaper report commented that the participants, who include the world's richest and most influential financial leaders, "will discuss not only the Europe's debt woes but also the future of capitalism, [noting that] even some billionaires in Davos are worried about income inequality" (Vafeiadis 2012). This changed context sheds a new light on the theme of this book and its various chapters.

The Chapters and Their Policy Recommendations

The seventeen chapters in this book, each based on decades of personal involvement and research into the presented subjects, were written to serve policy and planning in the early twenty-first century. They summarize the accumulated experience and its lessons regarding planning processes and, especially, planning outcomes. Both intended and unintended consequences are considered, with a focus on impacts on people in general and disadvantaged groups in particular. Much of the evidence comes from the U.S., but some experience in western, eastern, and southern Europe as well as Israeli research and practice is also analyzed and its lessons are suggested to the readers.

Discussions of goal setting, evaluation of outcomes and ethics in planning are placed in the opening part of the book. They are followed by essays that integrate personally conducted field research with critical reviews of the literature in housing, neighborhood and community development, regional development, transportation, surveillance and safety, the network society, and the relationships between planning and excluded groups: the poor and welfare dependents, migrant workers, and elderly people.

Readers who search for empirical-research-based conclusions and guidelines may find this book especially useful. The authors were asked by the editors to offer practical advice to future policy makers and practitioners. Below are a few examples, with an emphasis on uncommon or nonconventional policy considerations and planning practices.

In the field of housing, neighborhood and urban redevelopment

  • Planners hear housing as a verb; architects hear it as a noun; but residents hear it as "my home." Achieving progress on the relationship among housing, planning, and people means remembering that housing is always simultaneously a process, a piece of the built environment, and an emotional attachment to a place (Vale's essay).

  • Urban renewal programs have too often caused massive demolition of residential buildings and displacement of their residents. Because a large body of empirical research has shown that usually, the negative consequences of implementing such plans are more significant—socially, economically and environmentally—than their positive outcomes, planners need to avoid forced displacement and to consider alternatives wherever housing demolition involves displacement of residents (Fainstein and Fainstein's essay and Carmon's table).

  • Eliminating public housing differs from solving the problems of public housing (Vale's essay).

  • The main factors that should be considered in shaping the social mix of a housing project are composition, concentration and scale parameters (Galster's essay).

  • Ending the isolation of the poor is to be achieved by increasing their proximity and intermixing with the upwardly mobile working poor, rather than by interspersing them with the rich (Vale's essay).

  • Preventive planning is a powerful concept; for example,: identify a neighborhood on the verge of deterioration and encourage "incumbent upgrading" (Carmon's table).

In the field of safety and surveillance
  • In order to prevent a situation in which the voluntary city becomes an exclusionary city, plans and designs that promote rather than preclude human interaction among the city users are suggested; the ways that buildings relate to the public realm, the articulation of ground floor uses, the relationship between open and enclosed space, and the land use mix could all encourage the kind of "manned surveillance" advocated by Jane Jacobs and the authors (Banerjee and Loukaitou-Sideris's essay).

In the field of equity planning
  • Although equity planners are generally advised to work locally and consider specific local characteristics and circumstances, they are also counseled to act toward regional collaboration; to use federal programs in transportation to connect inner-city poor to suburban opportunities, to link regional economic development programs to anti-poverty goals, and to require "fair-share" of affordable housing in the suburbs (Krumholz's essay).

In the field of poverty alleviation
  • Planners must be especially sensitive to policies promoted to cope with the challenges of globalization and climate change; the poor disproportionally bear the costs of such policies (Teitz and Chapple's essay).

In the field of resident participation
  • In order to broaden the common resident participation framework, new categories are suggested for resident participation: direct bottom-up resident strategies; indirect bottom-up resident strategies; and new supporting roles for professional planners. Strategies should be adjusted by three contextual variables: level of economic resources, level of support for community development/participatory planning, and concentration of power within the local community; each of these variables is shown as a continuum: the more hostile the context, the more residents will need to start their efforts through activism and protest (Bratt and Reardon's essay).

In the field of planning for the aged
  • It is at the local level that we live our daily lives and thus land use and development standards frame the environment that will hinder or support one's ability to meet needs that change significantly with age; by following specific guidelines, planners can create environments that are supportive of people of all ages, including the aged (Howe's essay).

In the field of the network society
  • As societies increasingly function in a networked manner, planners will require greater awareness of both the evolving nature of network structures and the spatial-rootedness of community interests (Gurstein's essay).

In the field of transportation
  • Instead of the conventional emphasis on mobility improvement and reliance on revealed preference to demonstrate value, the suggested points of departure for transportation planning should be proximity, accessibility, and their distribution among socio-economic groups (Levine's essay).

In Conclusion

In addition to field-specific recommendations such as the ones above, this book offers a few general guidelines for use by urban development decision makers:

(a) Adopt the rule of Primum Non Nocere, that is, Above all, Do No Harm (the first rule of medical ethics). Due to the mistakes of the past, one should always be aware that acts of good intention may have unwanted consequences, especially from the point of view of society's worst-offs. Hence, avoiding disruptive side effects (including second-order consequences) on people and their communities as well as on the natural environment and its spices and on historic sites should be a guiding criterion.

(b) Think globally, act locally. Try to fit your work to the specific people, the specific place and the specific circumstances you work with and within; simultaneously, consider the more global consequences of your plan in terms of the social, economic and environmental outcomes. While the very recent focus on inequality has stimulated demands at the level of the nation for more redistributive tax policies, it has also sharpened the call at the regional and especially local level for policies and plans that address the needs of lower and middle-class households rather than propertied interests.

(c) Sustainable economic growth requires also social equity. Hence, consideration of who pays and who benefits should always be part of urban and regional planning and implementation.

It is our hope that this volume will increase the commitment to social justice among students, scholars and practitioners who work in the field of urban development, and will provide them with some useful tools to realize the potential imbedded in their profession to promote better quality of life for all.

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