Depending upon where you sit, these are the ‘best of times and the worst of times’. In response, as planners, do we have our act together? I would say no, we do not, as we are not united to fight a worthy fight. Take Austin, Texas, our state capital, a city with a poverty rate of 16%. Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a short editorial challenging the decisions of city and county government, as they acted in the name of ‘economic development’. The majority voted to grant the world’s richest technology company, Apple Inc, tens of millions in tax rebates and abatements, in return for meagre community benefits. The editorial I wrote, published as the lead story, charged these officials and planners with ‘public and professional malpractice’, and ends with, ‘Have you no shame?’ On the heels of much agitation by the community, Austin will soon begin a process of public input to determine how to make better deals … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
Fernando Centeno has served as an economic development consultant for a number of years in both government and non-profit sectors. He is a member of the American Planning Association’s Economic Development Division, and is a graduate of Harvard University’s M. Ed. Programme. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Subscribe to New Start
Full access to all New Start content is just £49 + VAT per year (25% discount for group subscriptions of 5 or more subscribers)