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U.S. Smog in China The U.S. can take credit for about 21% of emissions in China due to exports according to the Proceedings of the National Academy

of Sciences. Both images above are of air pollution as seen from the International Space station. On December 7, 2015, NASA captured the top left image of eastern China thick with smog (gray). The Chinese government issued its first “red alert” that day, closing schools, factories and forcing cars to stop.

The Broken Link between Vision and Results With pollution visible from the International Space Station growing worse by the year, the planning of cities is key to the health of both civilization and democracy. “Something must be done” is the persistent drumbeat of NASA, nations, news, and neighborhoods. Something must be done, but what?

in an otherwise carefully spoken world. While this sentiment is not an accurate reflection of the planning staff of cities, which have many dedicated believers in its potential, or planners in general, the high burnout rate and low retirement age of planners is a testament to the level of frustration and the corrosive effects of money on the process of planning the future.

2. Refinement

4. Revitalization

If the growing problem of pollution is to be addressed, real change is essential. Bureaucracies 3. Inversion tend to not learn from mistakes of the past and continue with “business as usual” until redirected. But without a strong bottom-up process for exploring solutions, change cannot achieve the necessary momentum for revitalization to take place.

The question of money is also another sign that incremental refinements have inverted the process. Vision no longer drives planning, which has become more about preserving interests than promoting the common good.

For example, the California Some call for a “City Beautiful 2.0,” Environmental Quality leaving out the word Movement as if 1. Invention Act is a top-down solution with it were software and automated output, The Natural Cycle of Change great momentum. It led to a 22,000 repactkaged as a set of marketable This pattern is introduced on page 20 page, $40 million Environmental trends. Hiring consultants to “make and is discussed on pages 88, and 158. Impact Report for the 710 freeway big plans” without an authentic that left out a sufficient study of air quality and sold participatory planning process and meaningful public only one copy for $1,400 (p.85). input is not a movement. Nor can it provide the momentum needed to reconnect vision and results. In the course of this study, one planning consultant was asked how to improve CEQA. In a moment of stunning The signals are clear that revitalization and invention candor, the quick response cut to the bottom-line: “I want are needed once again. Completing the Natural Cycle it to stay [messed]-up, that’s how I make my money.” returns the focus of the planning process back home For planning, it was a rare moment of blunt honesty to where it started so it can begin once again. CHINA IS ADDING 20 MILLION NEW CARS PER YEAR AND THE NUMBER WORLDWIDE IS NOW PAST 1 BILLION








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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

Profile for mycityis