The Hubris of Smart Growth

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 said. 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 great-grandchildren. 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. Read the full article by Bill NOvak. Posted by Sam Staley.