Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning

A in depth review of wether the “Planning Professions” are more than just graffiti on the walls of the city -as it forms itself – is there actually anything we can do to reign in rampant capitalism when socialism ‘s planing aims lie in tatters on the world stage – are any of our “professions” any more relevant or is it only Lawyers, Doctors and now Engineers who have a status and value in modern society?  This essay by THOMAS J. CAMPANELLA from The Design Observer Group
“Construction Potentials: Postwar Prospects and Problems, a Basis for Action,” Architectural Record, 1943; prepared by the F.W. Dodge Corporation Committee on Postwar Construction Markets. [Drawing by Julian Archer]

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
— T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

During a recent retreat here at Chapel Hill, planning faculty conducted a brainstorming session in which each professor — including me — was asked to list, anonymously, some of the major issues and concerns facing the profession today. These lists were then collected and transcribed on the whiteboard. All the expected themes were there — sustainability and global warming, equity and justice, peak oil, immigration, urban sprawl and public health, retrofitting suburbia, and so on. But also on the board appeared, like a sacrilegious graffito, the words “Trivial Profession.” [1] When we voted to rank the listed items in order of importance, “Trivial Profession” was placed — lo and behold — close to the top. This surprised and alarmed a number of us. Here were members of one of the finest planning faculties in America, at one of the most respected programs in the world, suggesting that their chosen field was minor and irrelevant.  Continue reading