Friday, September 24, 2010

North America Part 2

In 100 words or less please comment on the following statement:

In the context of trying to get 'good' planning outcomes, it is better to have a more prescriptive approach such as in Ontario rather than a laissez-faire approach, such as in Texas.

9 comments:

  1. Katherine (Katie) Round 4643038September 25, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    In considering this you would have to determine who the ‘good’ planning outcome is for as planning outcomes can have at the same time be seen as both a good as well as bad outcome depending on different groups of people and their values. Both options have their merits and drawbacks and may benefit a particular group of people in society.
    With prescriptive planning communities know what they can/can’t do and there maybe an element of fairness as everyone in an area is subject to the same conditions/rules. However this approach can be inflexible and unresponsive to changing circumstances in the future. Local authorities may prefer this method in terms of administration as well as people who value community interest and the environment over individual and economic interests.
    Laissez-Faire approach is beneficial as it can lead to innovative solutions within developments (an example of this was seen in the lecture with the residential suburb that had shared access and garages). It also is responsive to changing circumstances eg. economy. However it may be contentious as it can potentially favour individual economic interests over the wider community. Developers would probably prefer this method as well as those who value individual rights and economic growth.
    I suggest a combination of the two approaches, however it is important to note that not everyone will agree on what is a ‘good’ planning outcome.

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  2. From this week’s lecture it is evident that Ontario has a more prescriptive approach to planning as seen through the range of Acts that regulate planning and provide planners with direction. In contrast to this Texas has taken a loose approach to planning, with no overall planning framework. I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning can lead to ‘good’ planning outcomes, as it can enable a broader and more integrated approach to be adopted, whilst better addressing important planning issues such as population growth and affordable housing. Whereas, a more loose planning framework may result in more ad-hoc planning and development.

    However in saying this, it is important to consider the point Katie mentioned about the need to determine who are the ‘good’ planning outcomes for? Taking a more prescriptive approach may lead to better outcomes for a wide range of people and cities as a whole. A more loose planning framework may result in better planning outcomes for local residents. As local residents (those most affected) have more control over what occurs within their neighbourhood and communities.

    Overall, I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning in the long term will result in ‘good’ planning outcomes for cities on the whole and local residents. As it can better address city wide planning issues and provide a certain level of certainty and consistency. However, it is important that these prescriptive frameworks are developed in consultation with local residents and communities.

    ReplyDelete
  3. From this week’s lecture it is evident that Ontario has a more prescriptive approach to planning as seen through the range of Acts that regulate planning and provide planners with direction. In contrast to this Texas has taken a loose approach to planning, with no overall planning framework. I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning can lead to ‘good’ planning outcomes, as it can enable a broader and more integrated approach to be adopted, whilst better addressing important planning issues such as population growth and affordable housing. Whereas, a more loose planning framework may result in more ad-hoc planning and development.

    However in saying this, it is important to consider the point Katie mentioned about the need to determine who are the ‘good’ planning outcomes for? Taking a more prescriptive approach may lead to better outcomes for a wide range of people and cities as a whole. A more loose planning framework may result in better planning outcomes for local residents. As local residents (those most affected) have more control over what occurs within their neighbourhood and communities.

    Overall, I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning in the long term will result in ‘good’ planning outcomes for cities on the whole and local residents. As it can better address city wide planning issues and provide a certain level of certainty and consistency. However, it is important that these prescriptive frameworks are developed in consultation with local residents and communities.

    ReplyDelete
  4. From this week’s lecture it is evident that Ontario has a more prescriptive approach to planning as seen through the range of Acts that regulate planning and provide planners with direction. In contrast to this Texas has taken a loose approach to planning, with no overall planning framework. I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning can lead to ‘good’ planning outcomes, as it can enable a broader and more integrated approach to be adopted, whilst better addressing important planning issues such as population growth and affordable housing. Whereas, a more loose planning framework may result in more ad-hoc planning and development.
    However in saying this, it is important to consider the point Katie mentioned about the need to determine who are the ‘good’ planning outcomes for? Taking a more prescriptive approach may lead to better outcomes for a wide range of people and cities as a whole. A more loose planning framework may result in better planning outcomes for local residents. As local residents (those most affected) have more control over what occurs within their neighbourhood and communities.
    Overall, I think that a more prescriptive approach to planning in the long term will result in ‘good’ planning outcomes for cities on the whole and local residents. As it can better address city wide planning issues and provide a certain level of certainty and consistency. However, it is important that these prescriptive frameworks are developed in consultation with local residents and communities.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keaton Lane 4928818

    'Good' planning outcomes in my opinion take much of their definition from what is fair and equitable. Different social groups will always have different ideas on what consititutes this and i believe this is where many benefits of a perscriptive planning approach begin.

    The fromation of a district plan or something similar, perscribes landuse for 'the lowest common denomonator'. Those who, given the chance (as presented by a lassez-Faire approach) will take advantage of all they can gain personally without a thought to the 'greater good'. I believe it is essential to have something of a baseline of rules regarding landuse but i agree with Katey when shes says that this can be infelxbible and unresponsive.

    The Laissez - Faire approach and its similarities with the 'free market' will no doubt favour those already in the best position. I believe the combination of the two approaches katie was talking about can be achieved by having the plan but maintaining it as an active and ongoing work in progress. It needs to be molded to each neighbourhood in turn, hard i know, but anything short of having a district plan for each specific area in my opinion is the only way.

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  6. This seems to be a classic intervention versus free market discussion thus far. In the case of Ontario and Texas, I believe this highlights the shortcomings of a Laissez - Faire approach as there are always likely to be market failures.
    In the case of Texas, cities and counties are not required to enact planning legislation/ordinances. As these authorities are inevitably aiming to minimise expenditure and rates, they may be dissuaded from enacting planning legislation that heavily restricts property rights. The market failures that occur can clearly compromise 'good planning', as they can generate environmental degradation and urban sprawl inter alia.
    I believe that planning rests on the premise that government should intervene to correct market failures; therefore prescriptive approaches requiring LID, higher densities etc. are part and parcel for planning and thus crucial to achieving good planning outcomes

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  7. Nardia Yozin 4677369October 11, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    A prescriptive approach will lead to clearer outcomes and to an extent more consistency across the state as a whole. If it is clear what can and can’t occur, the intended outcome will most likely result. However, the intended outcome may not necessarily to a ‘good’ outcome. Often rules and plans etc... can be hard to change once in place. This means that there is little flexibility in the system, and as wants/ needs/ economy/ and priorities change it can be hard to adapt the planning system to achieve a current ‘good’ outcome. But in saying this, it may not always be good for the ‘good’ outcome to be changing, as sometimes they may change too fast or not go in the right direction.
    The laissez-faire approach would be cheap to manage, and lead to sometime creative or out of the box outcomes, but it is quite likely that those in the position to take advantage will take advantage, and this won’t always lead to a ‘good’ outcome. With lack of direction, you can’t exactly plan where you will end up, and what happens in practice may not be desirable. Another issue with a kaissez-faire approach is that if people are used to this planning system, they may be a lot of people against what could effectively be the removal of private property rights if the planning system wanted to move to a more prescriptive approach.
    In short, there needs to be a balance between the two approaches. Planning should not be too restrictive, or too permissive and the ‘good’ outcome depends entirely on the governance system, power relationships, and the individual state.

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  8. Good planning outcomes could be defined differently by different communities. However, I do agree with the above comments in regards to both approaches. Having a perscriptive approach could restrict innovation and flexiblity of managing resource management issues, however having a laissez-faire approach could open leave communities and resources open to the impacts of market failures. I believe, a balanced approach is called for to allow enough flexibility to adapt to changes yet providing certainity for current and future uses.

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  9. Keith Hall's response to the question posed...

    My own observations about Toronto as compared to Houston are that...

    Toronto (Ontario) is an older city, and perhaps more importantly, much of its growth took place much earlier than Houston's (Texas) did (e.g. Toronto was a very well-established city with a substantial population by the time Houston started being a major city in the 1960s). As such, Toronto has the feel of cities like Philadelphia, and it often fills in for New York on film sets (every once in a while, you enter a subway station that has been resigned with the NYC train routes, handy for filmmakers because Toronto's subway closes after midnight while NYC's is mostly open 24 hours). But Toronto has also experienced the growth spurts that cities like Houston have had in more recent years, in part for the very same reasons (large scale immigration). In the 1950s, Toronto's answer to rapid growth was the apartment highrise, and many were built in suburban areas to house the new immigrants. In contrast, Houston was well into the suburban exodus, so the immigrants tended to fill in the centre. In more recent years, Houston has gentrified, so wealth has become more centralised as lower income populations shift out to the suburbs, and Houston has also begun mastering the art of the residential high rise. In some senses, Houston is quite a lot like Toronto except that it might be a few decades behind.

    While Ontario has adopted a suite of planning legislation, in effect, there is a substantial push to grow up and not out. However, the Greenbelt was, for political reasons, established quite far out. It has not yet had any real effect on containing growth, since there is plenty of room for infill within the greenbelt. In Houston (a response to a student question), most suburban growth nodes are quite centralised (atyipical of other American cities), so there seem to be some practical limits to exurban growth, in terms of how far people want to drive. Corridors to the west and north are growing farther out because there are outlying centres in those two directions (the southeast corridor is home to NASA which has been relatively stable in "headcount" for many years, so there is less rapid growth in this direction). In Toronto, the growth is occuring more as a "wave" away from the lake and will eventually hit the growth boundary/Greenbelt. Nonetheless, Toronto is no less pro-growth and pro-business than Houston. Within the city, the redevelopment regulations are quite liberal. Historic preservation is weak, at best. There has been quite a bit of subdivision of larger houses into smaller apartments, some with a mix of retail or office, and there are examples of large buildings sitting in the middle of neighbourhoods well away from commercial centres or public transport corridors. On the whole, it seems that Toronto's zoning bylaw is very permissive, but that might require more investigation to verify.

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