Thought of the Day: What Planning Once Was. #UnitaryPlan

What was an Art and Science is now riddled with lawyers


Thought of the day in terms of “planning:”

Planning was once the realm of Geographers

Now it is the realm of Lawyers

Planning itself is a field of the Geography mega-discipline

Planning was not a field of law

Something is horribly wrong with this picture


As I assemble my material for the rezoning topic of the Unitary Plan (which involves reading evidence from other submitters) I see too much legal well wankery and not the art and science planning was under Geographers. At the end of the day we wonder why people no longer participate although 9,400 submissions to the Unitary Plan was no mean feat in itself.


Maybe one day Planning can return to the realm of Geographers – and the people.


Neo Layton City suburbia
Neo Layton City suburbia


2 thoughts on “Thought of the Day: What Planning Once Was. #UnitaryPlan

  1. Yes, planning – spatial planning, that is – should be the domain of geographers.

    The PAUP slow-motion train wreck is the best reminder that that’s how it should be. The Akl Plan is a typical example of the naivety of urban-designers-would-be-urban-planners. They lack the means to understand several things: – the regional scale of things in metropolitan planning; the inertia of the regional patterns; the processes which are invisible but create and recreate the city as the visible physical form; the very long-term, speculative nature of planning for 20, 30, or 40 years ahead; etc.

    And one more thing: most geographers can read maps. (Most urban designers, from my experience over 40 years – cannot).

    So – find me a geographer on the original team of the Akl Plan back in 2011/2012…?

    If anybody ever does an audit into the qualifications of the original core Akl Plan team – at the time when suddenly, out of blue for NZ circumstances, ‘spatial planning’ became the flavour of the month – it will become clearer how the most important urban plan in the country, after five years of hard work, millions of dollars, and a massive PR campaign, became the biggest urban planning disaster in NZ history.

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