Many professionals in the land-use planning and development field are now aware that good functional design does not necessarily lead to good cities and community settlement patterns. To use a musical metaphor, building structures are only instruments that, no matter how well they are crafted, are only as good as the musicians who use them. Good planning, therefore, requires more than just good technical design and management. It also requires the engagement of stakeholders in ways that develop their sense of co-stewardship in the planning process.
But even stakeholder engagement processes are not enough. To carry the musical metaphor further, there is now just beginning to be a larger realization in the planning field that humans and their settlements are merely one section of musicians in a much larger orchestra who must learn to play together in harmony. Without such systemic understanding and stewardship planning, we face such catastrophes as Hurricane Katrina and its devastation of New Orleans. (more…)