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A Closer Look at Urban Planning Evolution of the concept of urban planning From elite master plans (city beautiful) to public participation framework From physical layouts to guides for action (static pattern to dynamic process)

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A Closer Look at Urban Planning

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A closer look at urban planning l.jpg

A Closer Look at Urban Planning

Kaiser and godschalk l.jpg

Evolution of the concept of urban planning

From elite master plans (city beautiful) to public participation framework

From physical layouts to guides for action (static pattern to dynamic process)

This view of the evolution may be overly optimistic: both elitism and obsession on physical elements remain quite prevalent

Edward Bassett’s 1938 book The Master Plan envisioned the urban plan as a flexible tool used by City Planning Commission including elements such as:



sites for public buildings

routes for public utilities

zoning districts

Kaiser and Godschalk

Landmarks in planning l.jpg

By 1940s Robert Walker argued that planning should be part of city government and his view catches on in the 1950s

Section 701 of Federal Housing Act of 1954 req. long-range general plan in order for a city to qualify for federal grants for federal housing, urban renewal, etc.

Character of most city plans is originally long-term/physical

Land use


Public utilities

Community facilities

Purpose of the plan 1950s & 60s (as envisioned by T.J. Kent and F. Stuart Chapin):

Promote safety & welfare

Promote public interest

Coordinate activities

Inject long-range consideration into decision making

Benefit from various types of technical knowledge

Landmarks in Planning

Recent developments in planning l.jpg

Land use design plan: physical and long-term, carries on the earlier traditions of planning, achieving much the same goals

Land classification plan(a.k.a. development priorities mapping): larger scale & longer range tool, integrates a wide range of concerns to identify better and worse locations for future development with a conservation focus (Ian McHarg’s Design With Nature is an inspiration)

Verbal policy plan (a.k.a. policy framework plan): a written document that focuses on long-term policy issues rather than patterns. For example, it may describe how to interpret zoning regs. and how to handle the edges between different kinds of zones

Development management plan: course of action to allow govt. control of development over a fairly short time frame, merges a plan for development with guidelines for implementation

Recent Developments in Planning

Contemporary hybrid plan l.jpg

Contemporary Hybrid Plan

  • Combines the various elements mentioned

  • Attempts to:

    • Spend state money wisely

    • Incorporate principles of social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic opportunity (sustainable development??)

    • Coordinate various levels of government

    • Reflect on various time frames: e.g. 5, 20, and 40 year visions

  • Uses land classification plans at larger scales and land use plans at smaller scales

Examples l.jpg


Slide7 l.jpg

Land Classification Map

New Hanover County, North Carolina

Slide8 l.jpg

Development suitability map(land classification map)Vinalhaven Mainehttp://www.coa.edu/gislab/gallery/local_twn_isl/vinalhave_menu.htm

Sometimes watersheds are important l.jpg

Sometimes watersheds are important …


Edwards aquifer

What is important about Edwards aquifer?

See: http://www.edwardsaquifer.net/species.html

Slide10 l.jpg

Sugar House Community, Salt Lake City: zoning map


Note some unconventional zoning categories

Not all zoning maps are so nice to look at l.jpg

Not all zoning maps are so nice to look at!

Slide12 l.jpg

Excerpt from Dane County (WI) development management plan http://www.co.dane.wi.us/exec/landuse/execplan/landhome.htm

1.Establish a County-Wide Farmland Mitigation Program.

This program will require that whenever someone converts an acre of farmland , he or she will have to mitigate that loss by securing an acre of land in specified areas (Farm Priority Zones). This can be accomplished either by acquiring a long-term easement on farmland or by paying a fee to a mitigation fund. The program will help maintain critical masses of productive farming areas under long-term protection, allow farmers to realize some of the value of their land without having to divide it, and discourage development on farm lands.

2.Create Farm Priority Zones to Encourage Farmers to Continue Farming.

Dane County should establish Farm Priority Zones where farming operations are protected. The Farm Priority zones should be large enough to protect substantial tracts of agricultural land. These zones would also serve as the target areas for other benefits intended to help farm families, such as the voluntary sale of agricultural easements under the Farmland Mitigation Program, priority for county funding and technical assistance and buffer strips from other development. Establishment of these zones will reduce land use conflicts with agricultural activities and secure farmland. Residential development will be limited (except residences directly related to the farm). These Farm Priority Zones will be established in two ways: i) through an official designation in the zoning ordinance, which would provide the maximum protection to agricultural activities; and ii) by delineating suitable areas where the incentives and protections described would be provided if a threshold number of farmers voluntarily agreed to participate in the program.

Slide13 l.jpg

Excerpt from Sugar House Community (Salt Lake City)

Master Plan



Note evidence for new ways of thinking about planning

A local example l.jpg

A local example …

  • South Congress Avenue has a rich history as the southern approach to the State Capitol. Remnants of that transportation-related history still exist in the Avenue's tourist courts, drive-in eateries and neon signs. In an effort to make streetscape improvements in a way that is respectful of the Avenue's history, the City has selected the team of McGraw Marberger and Terry Meyers to conduct research and prepare a historic preservation plan for the Avenue. The team’s initial work will focus on identifying historic street lighting styles and locations. The completed plan will provide an increased understanding of the Avenue's historic significance and guidance as to appropriate and compatible design for streetscape improvements, signage, historical interpretation, design modifications, and new construction along the Avenue.

  • From: SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/historic/southcongress.htm

For some local resources see l.jpg

For some local resources see:

  • Austin zoning categories

    • http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/development/zoning.htm

  • Interactive maps of Austin zoning

    • http://coagis1.ci.austin.tx.us/website/COAViewer_dev/viewer.htm

  • City of Austin Long Range Transportation Plan

    • http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/transplan/

  • Downtown Austin Design Guidelines

    • http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/planning/urbandesign.htm

  • South Congress Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project

    • http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/historic/southcongress.htm

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