• It seems like there is near unanimity that therewill be additional stimulus to the economy in 2009. It seems more and more likely that the stimulus will come in the form of federal spending on infrastructure. Our Congressman, Jim Oberstar, seems firmly convinced that this is a great way to create jobs, although not all agree. Regardless,it is not very likely that - no matter what multiplier of billions isspent - that a quick round of federal infrastructure spending will do anything to change our current development model, especially in small towns and rural areas. What is more likely is that we'll dig the hole a little deeper, subsidizing improvements that undermine a small-town way of life and ultimately make small towns even less economically viable.
  • Voters indicated that they want to spend money on conservation and open space. This demonstrates the laws of unintended consequence and how government's biggest problem is itself. While Congress is sure to spend billions on infrastructure spending subsidizing an inefficient development pattern that chews up land, promotes low density development and fragments open space, voters are apparently willing to fund the other side of the equation as well. Sad thing is, the establishment planning profession argues both sides with a straight face. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.
  • In planning's version of the chicken-and-the-egg, did the highway come first or the development? In Santa Monica, California, they apparently believe that the development came first. Will approving a referendum to stop development reduce congestion and create prosperity in the Golden State? (IMO - Not a chance in a million).
  • For those of you seeking an alternative viewpoint on planning, this article on Randall O'Toole will satisfy. We don't agree withall of what he might prescribe, but we're kindred spirits. Especially when he says,

"But the truth is I’m a pragmatist. I want things that work fine. And, you know, spending millions of dollars and getting very little result and return is not something that works."

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!