From all my readings in planning literature of almost 30 years, ‘the good old days’ were the 1970s. One which left a big impression was Cleveland, Ohio. Planners there, led by newly appointed Planning Director Norman Kromholz, worked in a highly visible way to achieve equity objectives. Thus was born ‘advocacy’, ‘equity’, or ‘opportunity’ planning approaches, less a theory than tangible efforts undertaken within the system toward achieving real outcomes. Cleveland planners publicly challenged favourite urban nostrums. They not only survived, they prospered. Ultimately, their efforts impacted the teaching of planning to some degree; many continued their professional careers in this arena. Equity planning remains an alternative model of agency operations, for those interested in breakthrough approaches. In the 1970s, economic conditions were bleak, similar in nature in the U.S. or Europe today. A rising tide above 20% of Cleveland’s population were government dependent; affluent families departed over decades. Crime rates increased, assessed property values declined, … (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.
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