A Curious Profession

By Dom Nozzi

City planners toil in a curious profession. The vast majority of the work they do at the office consists of two things. First, they work tirelessly to make it easier to drive a car. They often pride themselves in urging excessive amounts of off-street parking for a proposed development (see Shoup, 2005, who notes that abundant, free and required parking is a fertility drug for cars). City planners also insist that roadways, turns and driveways should be as gentle and wide as can be (thereby ensuring that motorists drive excessive, inattentive speeds, which discourages walkers and bicyclists). Planners regularly request that residential densities and commercial intensities be kept low (which space-consuming cars must have to avoid gridlock). The second thing with which planners spend so much of their work day are efforts to reduce the negative impacts of excessive car travel. They call for buffers and berms and walls and screens and sound attenuation and building setbacks—each of which is necessitated by cars. They insist on rigid separation of residential from non-residential development in the zoning codes they administer. The promotion of car travel, which consumes a vast amount of the city planners day, tragically works at cross-purposes with efforts to improve the community. Facilitating car travel promotes more car travel, which induces more car-based negative impacts. The planner must then work extra hard to undo the very impacts that she or he was at least partially responsible for creating. One wonders if even the most conscientious and skilled planner ever makes any progress at all in promoting the community welfare. Or are they just running in circles? Chasing their own tails, so to speak, in an ever-losing battle to keep ahead of the car-based community insults they are charged with professionally multiplying by promoting cars.   _________________________________________________ Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life. Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com 50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290 My Adventures blog http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/ Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/ My Town & Transportation Planning website http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/ My Plan B blog https://domz60.wordpress.com/ My Facebook profile http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi My YouTube video library http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi My Picasa Photo library https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534 My Author spotlight http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

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