Urban Planning Paper


Talk about each topic in a detailed paragraph or two.

PUP 301-Introduction to Urban Planning             

  1. Transportation planning: induced demand.  Think about traffic movement after some freeway constructions.
  2. Different measures used by local government for flexible zoning in recent years
  3. Growth management: need, difficulty, and segregation issues.  Home rules and local governance, and local political and cultural characteristics.
  4. Defense of privileges: I am in let us use zoning as a tool.  Segregation, and NYMBY issues
  5. Structural Unemployment and why important for local economic development: local, regional and global phenomena
  6. Why is regional planning difficult? (Again, local governance issues, federal funding based on local population)
  7. Planning differences between USA and other nations (remember local control versus national planning)


Introduction to Urban Planning

  • Transportation Planning: Induced Demand

When addressing the issue of transportation planning, it is very crucial to pay a lot of attention to the issue of induced demand. One may notice that traffic movement tends to increase following the construction of new freeways. Moreover, it is important for those who are responsible for urban planning to focus a lot on the most preferred modes of transportation as well as the various ways through which people pay for transportation. Local, state, and federal governments are all involved in different ways in the collection of taxes, tolls, and user fees. At this point, the issue of whether there is a need to subsidize public transportation must also be put into perspective. Some of the reasons why it is necessary to subsidize transportation include the need to benefit both users and non-users, choice for society, and the need to eliminate negative externalities. Subsidization may also be chosen as part of the government to stimulate economic growth in specific sectors of population and to enhance access to social goods.

A major challenge affecting the relationship between transportation planning and land use is best explained using the “chicken or egg” analogy. This analogy is being used to illustrate the ongoing debate on whether land use is influenced by transportation or vice versa. As part of this debate, a number of factors that influence the transportation process should be put into consideration. Examples of these factors include estimation of trip generation, distribution, modal split, and assignment; public transit versus private automobile use; cost-benefit analysis; and the role of government influence vis-à-vis individual decisions. These factors have a great influence on how induced demand plays out as well as the relationship between transportation planning and land use.

  • Different Measures Used by Local Government for Flexible Zoning in Recent Years

In terms of flexible zoning, the most powerful tool that local governments are using today is zoning ordinances. Through zoning ordinances, local governments are able to address various issues relating to zoning such as site layout, procedural matters, use of structures, and structural requirements. Awareness of various ways of dealing with the existing limits of zoning to make it more effective also continues to increase. For example, comparisons are being made with the zoning practices of other nations to determine whether the existing level of flexibility can be increased even further. Local governments can also make zoning flexible by using incentive or bonus zoning, whereby a bonus, for example in the form of an increased size of a development, is offered in exchange important amenities such as pedestrian paths and increased open space.

            Local governments are also increasingly using inclusionary zoning to enhance flexibility. An example of this strategy is the current practice in New York City involving the creation of separate zoning entries for rich and poor people. The use of cluster zoning also contributes significantly to flexibility in urban planning. Unlike the “lot-by-lot” approach, cluster zoning requires the local government to determine development density for a specific area in its entirety. Within specific cluster zones, developers are able to exercise greater flexibility in the design of structures; all they need to do is ensure that the total density requirements re not violated. This strategy has led to the adoption of new urbanism in West Los Angeles.

  • Growth Management: Need, Difficulty, Segregation Issues, Home Rules, Local Governance, and Local Political and Cultural Characteristics

Growth management remains a major challenge in urban planning. During the second half of the twentieth century, rapid population increase compelled towns and cities to introduce growth management strategies as a way of limiting growth. Consequently, a movement emerged that emphasizes on the need to control local resources as well as technologies with a view to create a self-sufficiency in towns and cities. The need to control the growth of cities is also driven by demographic and environmental concerns. An underlying assumption is that the right to an enjoyable surrounding environment should not be rendered unattainable for residents simply because of growth in the town or city. This argument forms the basis for discouraging people from coming into communities that are already facing the problems of congestion, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, and housing. Examples of cities that are using this approach to growth management are Santa Cruz, California and Boulder, Colorado.

Some of the crucial factors to be considered in growth management include need, difficulty, segregation, local politics and governance, and cultural characteristics. In terms of need, focus should be on the availability of amenities such as transportation, water, and other natural resources particularly at local and state levels. To make local development goals sustainable, the choice of growth management approach should be informed by these factors. At the same time, care must be taken to avoid conflicts and to minimize them in situations where they are inevitable. Unfortunately, recent growth management efforts have not been remarkably successful. The level of success has been modest particularly in areas such as suburban development, urban redevelopment, preservation of open spaces, environmental and social equity, sustainable development goals at the local level, and economic development. Even as urban planners adopt local solutions to growth development, national-level policies are still required particularly in addressing universal problems such as air pollution and water scarcity.

  • Defense of privilege: Segregation and NYMBY issues

Defense of privileges is an important component of growth management. In fact, it is a major cause of efforts to control the development of new infrastructural projects such as transportation networks. Those who already live in the areas that are targeted for redevelopment are resentful of the environmental and demographic changes that may occur. They argue that it is their right to live comfortably, and that failure to limit growth or urban areas can only end up making the living conditions less enjoyable for everyone. It may be helpful to use “defense of privilege” as a zoning tool, whereby people are discouraged from immigrating into areas that are already facing the threat of congestion. In many cases, residents accept that new developments such as roads are helpful to society, but insist that they should be build further away from their backyards, and this explains the emergence of the “Not-In-My-Back-Yard” (NYMBY) concept.

  • Structural Unemployment and Why It Is Important for Local Economic Development: Local, Regional and Global Phenomena

            Structural unemployment occurs whenever there is a mismatch between labor demand and supply. It is an integral part of a local, regional, and global phenomena. For example, at the international level, many companies have been outsourcing manufacturing processes to foreign low labor-cost countries, thereby leading to an increase in unemployment at home. A change in this trend has started to emerge, whereby more manufacturing jobs are finally being brought back to America. At the local level, structural unemployment is being contributed to by a geographical shift in labor demand and supply in sun and snow belts. These changes are increasingly being incorporated into economic development planning. For example, many local government are beginning to create economic development offices with a view to promote downtown development plans.

  • Why is Regional Planning Difficult? Local Governance Issues, and Federal Funding Based on Local Population

In many cases, it becomes difficult to promote coordination between regional and national planning. This may explain why regional is conventionally a difficult undertaking. It tends to be the intersection of different needs at the local level and changing priorities of the federal government. Local governance issues are also a major hindrance to regional planning. At the same time, the level federal funding tends to vary based on local population and political considerations. This occurs mainly because national planning potentials are heavily influenced by political factors. Democrats and republicans tend to have different priorities in terms of regional planning.

  • Planning Differences Between the USA And Other Nations

Planning differences between the United States and other nations are significant particularly in terms of local control versus national planning. In the United States, the level of local control vis-à-vis national planning is significantly higher than in other countries. For example, the role of the national government in planning is stronger in Europe than in America. In America, national projects such as the national rail network and national highway connection exist alongside locally-driven initiatives such as the Suburban Dream.

Planning in Asia differs even more significantly from that of America. For instance, the planning model in Asia and the developing world is characterized by a mix of national government- and market-driven planning. In contrast, no such a mix exists in the American model. Another major difference is that overcrowding, less pleasant built-environment, pollution are serious problems in Asia and developing world, while this is not the case in America. Some of the planning-related problems that are common in the developing nations but not in America include national poverty, urban slums, income inequality, and acute housing shortages.

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