They want planning, they just don't know it yet.
February 2, 2010 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Framing urban/regional planning as economic development, are there any great or just widely accepted numbers out there on this?

Once upon a time I worked in Historic Preservation and it was quite clear that a building being pretty wasn't going to cut it for a lot of the populace, so we framed our efforts through the lenses of other industries. Preservation is green (about landfils and building materials in them!) Preservation Protects Property Value! (Home prices in protected districts usually remain stable when other markets falter.) The big one was Preservation is Jobs.

I need to do the same thing for planning and its so nebulous that I am having a hard time finding any way to quantify what we do so we don't get slashed in the budget. What do we do? We review all the Comprehensive Land-Use Plans for all the cities and counties in Georgia. They wouldn't do it if we didn't have an awesome carrot, which thankfully we do. However, the legislature that created the law in 1989 is not anything like the crew in now. Every penny has to be justified.

What I would like to some kind of "when local governments invest x into planning it creates y jobs or y dollars in private investment" or (no great way to qualify this but) Cities who not only create, but stick to a long term planning effort see results such as...

Sorry, I know this is nebulous. I don't need you to back up your answer. I trust you and I just basically need a flyer that our fine law makers will look at and go, "that's worth it."
posted by stormygrey to Law & Government (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried talking to and/or looking at the publications of the foundations and think tanks also looking into these issues? For example:

posted by Pollomacho at 10:00 AM on February 2, 2010

This is not exactly the same as what you're talking since it's from the perspective of a university, but many institutions and nonprofits publish economic/fscal impact studes that quantify the effects that their planning decisions have on the jurisdictions in which they reside. Mostly this is an effort to justify tax-exempt status but it's the same sort of quantification exercise that you're talking about. Here's one that UCSF published to report on development at their new campus. (PDF) So these types of data sets and measurements might be useful to you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:43 AM on February 2, 2010

Sorry for the drive-by comment, since I'm at work, but check out Cyburbia and the American Planning Association websites for resources. Also check out KnowledgePlex and Planetizen.
posted by desjardins at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2010

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