Out of Control Policy Blog

The hubris of planning

I've run across few items that encapsulate the hubris of planning than this exchange (the first serious, the second tongue in cheek) by two urban planners on a list serve. It was prompted by a Washington Post article discussing the increasing frequency of cluster mailboxes. Apparently, homeowners don't like them: "many residents and developers say cluster boxes -- traditionally reserved for apartments and townhouses, not single-family homes -- are impersonal, inconvenient and downright ugly."

Some planners think this isn't a very good reason to oppose them. Afterall, they are efficient (from the postal service's perspective) and it forces lazy suburbanites to excercise by walking to their box:

Planner 1: It's depressing that people think they deserve mailboxes, especially when it's clearly better in terms of efficiency and health to have clustered mailboxes.

Planner 2 riposte: Next I suppose they'll want to have their own computers right in their own houses instead of efficiently and healthily signing up for computer time at the library.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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