Change is constant and affects all cities, towns, suburbs, counties and rural areas. Community development and city planners help manage this change in a way that provides better choices for how people work, live and play. Community planning provides an opportunity for all residents to be equally involved in making choices that determine the shared vision of their neighborhoods. The full benefits of planning require public officials and citizens who understand, support and demand excellence in planning and plan implementation.
October is National Community Planning Month in the United States. The American Planning Association and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, endorse National Community Planning Month as an opportunity to highlight the contributions sound planning and plan implementation make to the quality of our neighborhoods and environment.
The celebration of National Community Planning Month gives us the opportunity to publicly recognize the participation and dedication of the members of the Woodstock Planning Commission and our city planners, who have contributed their time and expertise to the improvement of our community.
Planning can be summed up as comprehensive, community-focused choices that enhance the spaces where people live, work and play. While many people may not realize it, planning has a significant impact on their day-to-day life, including from where they live, to how they commute, and what type of home they live in.
The Difference Planning Makes
- Access and opportunity are expanded through planning. Strategic investments in innovation and infrastructure can boost the economy and strengthen communities.
- Communities with lasting value are created. Planning helps leverage public and private funds that lead to business growth, job creation, robust infrastructure and economically resilient communities.
- Planners are skilled at balancing the varied interests and viewpoints that emerge as a community plans its future. Planners consider what is best for the entire community — senior citizens, workers, children, people living with disabilities, business owners and elected officials. How do they arrive at these communitywide decisions? It’s done through conversations with residents, and thoughtful, inclusive outreach to community stakeholders.
- The greater good is considered, by working with professionals from different fields, such as public health, recreation and engineering, to make communities safer, stronger, healthier and more just. Planning does not stop at a geographic border. Communities are served best when planners take a broader viewpoint, encompassing regional and statewide perspectives. This is especially critical for infrastructure projects, which are most successful when planned at a regional scale. Taking a regional focus ensures the infrastructure system will benefit those well beyond the immediate location of the project.
- Unique expertise enables planners to address the impacts of today’s actions on tomorrow’s communities comprehensively, with a big-picture perspective. Planners are positioned uniquely to evaluate how decisions about the built environment — including transportation networks, building location and scale, and parks and green space — impact communities. When guided and informed by good planning, these decisions make communities safer, more resilient, healthier, more prosperous and more equitable.
By Stacy Brown, contributing writer and marketing & communications manager for the city of Woodstock.