Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is Planning a Language Whose Vocabulary Gets Smaller Every Year?

Last Friday, Enclave commenter Ellen Jacobson pointed out an irony in an upcoming conference of the TN chapter of the American Planning Association:

That Tennessee planners are meeting to consider planning for sustainable buildings is not the ironic part. What is ironic is the first speaker listed to discuss sustainable planning for Bells Bend:

Inviting this new urbanist to speak about green planning for Bells Bend is newspeak to me.

Rick Bernhardt is the same Planning executive who is advancing the idea of urbanizing agricultural land. He is the advocate of developers seeking to build a 2nd downtown in Bells Bend called May Town Center. He has accepted a proposal to build at least two (and probably three) bridges to haul traffic in and out of currently remote and inconvenient Bells Bend.

Mr. Bernhardt's staff of planners wrote a biased and unbalanced endorsement of the plan to urbanize farm land in passionate terms like these:
Staff has evaluated May Town Center’s substantial economic impact, its aggressive land conservation plan, and its developers’ commitment to constructing public roads and bridges over the life of the project to manage off-site traffic impacts.
And Metro's chief planner seems to assume--naively defying all past rezoning realities--that a mere belt of undeveloped green space around May Town Center will insure open space conservation in Bells Bend better than the bridgeless Cumberland itself. Where did he get the notion that greenbelts provide anything but token resistance to greenbacks? Engineered open space would hardly be a match for the avarice folded into high returns on cheap undeveloped land and the developer-friendly tendencies of the Planning Commission.

I would love to be at that session. It seems to me there would be a lot of squaring the circle in his comments on sustainable growth in the Bend.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is ironic, to eliminate the best deterrent to the overrunning of beautiful Bell's Bend. Makes no sense at all.