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The most contentious decisions at the local level - and the most momentous ones - often take the form of decisions about how our cities will grow. Decisions often have very real repercussions for the individuals most directly involved (the ones who get a road in their backyard), so tempersoften flare. Planning decisions affect property values, they can make or break fortunes (or nest eggs). Together, the quality of the decisions made result in an overall quality of life that either adds to or detracts from what it's like to live there.
Leaders who are ultimately responsible have a challenging job. They have to balance the competing forces of economic growth and environmental and historical preservation. They have to balance the principles of eminent domain and common good.
Growth & planning decisions usually take on a recognizable and predictable dysfunctional dance. A change is proposed, government studies or debates or discusses, notice is given, interest groups advocate, citizens speak (and are hopefully sometimes actually heard), then leaders vote.
Average citizens often feel the process is largely out of their control, decided in high level meetings they could never score an invite to or - worse - the result of winks, nods and campaign contributions to elected leadership hoping to stick around.
We hope the Growth & Planning space will become a directly useful tool for cities and their citizens working their way through growth and zoning decisions. From here, we hope a body of best practices made accessible to citizens can grow and - most importantly - be put into practice on specific debates in your hometown.
Growth and planning decisions can have negative impact on people whether they are smart decisions or dumb ones. Here's to making them smart ones.
While you're visiting We the Wiki we hope you'll check out the results of our Local Roundtable on Economic Segregation, an important consideration in zoning decisions and learn from a model group that created [Blueprint 2000] for Tallahassee, Florida.