Dane County, Wisconsin has apparently found a way to make central
planning work: let citizens participate in the planning process and
let them take lots of pictures. This may also be an example of
sustainable planning because the cameras will be disposable.
County executive Kathleen Falk has decided to maximize the potential
of Wisconsin's Smart Growth law. She's initiating a regional
planning process (rather than let cities do the planning), through
her "Attain Dane" initiative.
Not to worry, she realizes this will be difficult. "This will be the
hardest thing we've done as a county," she told the Capital Times,
the cheese state's self-described progressive newspaper.
"Identifying those places we love is easy. Identifying where
development should happen is much tougher."
Falk realizes this will be a daunting task. So, she and her staff
will give Dane County citizens the tools they need. The planning
staff has organized six "listening sessions" and
"Falk and her staff plan to hand out at least 20 disposable
cameras to interested citizens who would shoot their favorite sites
in the area so a better picture can be made of what it is they love
about Dane County."
"I hope citizens will take a few hours on a cold night to tell me
what they want their county bo be like in the next 100 years," Falk
With planning and planners like this, everyone in Wisconsin can
sleep easily knowing that their land use plans have taken care of
them, their children, their grandchildren, and their
Afterall, it's apparent Falk has spent some time in the history books and
knows how well the experts predicted in January 1905 how our lives
would be transformed over the next 100 years by the personal computer, manpowered flight, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and a few other social, legal, economic changes.
Posted by Sam Staley.