The Urban Planning Problem
Urban planning issues arise from poor or lack of planning. Often this poor planning isdue to disregarding the human experience that the city ought function for. A major shiftin the strategy of urban planning toward the human experience is Transit OrientedDevelopment. Planned and implemented well, TOD can increase the development of pedestrian-scale communities, minimizing the centricity of automobile use therebyincreasing, amongst other things, green space.“According to a recent poll, most Americans (56 percent), if given the choice, wouldnow prefer a rural life; 25 percent would opt for the suburbs, and only 19 percent for anurban living environment” (Simonds, Starke 300). In
Aristotle asserts the blame for this is to the planners, who lack persuasiveness or more compelling concepts.“Truth and justice are by their nature better than their opposites, and therefore if decisions are made wrongly, it must be the speakers who (through lack of effective powers of persuasion) are to blame for the defeat” (231).
Urban landscape issues/problems root in improper or lack of planning. This ‘lacking’
can involve strategy, coherent relationship and plan continuity, economic analysis,
amenity, optimal function, ecological needs, and the aesthetic. The consequences of improper urban planning lead to a vast number of issues including suburban sprawl,ecological issues, traffic congestion, impervious surfaces, lack of green/public space,lack of aesthetic, etc.There is no quick fix solution. Urban solutions can take place over decades, as the areasin most need are those that have been developed, sometimes, for over a century,whereas new developments have the clean-slate opportunity to plan properly from the beginning. A well thought-out plan taking into account all factors, both current and potential is needed. The plan ought to be stringent enough to solve the issues/problemswith the greatest efficiency (greatest benefit with the least cost), maximumfunctionality, including ecological sensitivity, variable uses and amenity, and aesthetic,yet flexible enough to allot for an array of potential factors that may arise over the possible decades of implementation.
James Corner suggests “a move away from scenographic designs toward more
productive, engendering strategies…to more prosaic concerns for how things work,
why they do, how they interact and what agency or effects they might exercise” (24).“These bleak new Utopias are not bleak because they have to be; they are the concretemanifestations–and how literally–of a deep and at times arrogant, misunderstanding of the function of the city” (William H. Whyte Jr., Simonds, Starke 302). Many plannershave disregarded that “the basic tenet of urban design is disarmingly simple: the bestcity is that which provides the best experience of living” (Simonds, Starke 301).