Page 92

LESSONS

Complexity Slows Momentum THE LOSS OF A “COMPREHENSIVE” GENERAL PLAN As planning becomes ever-more complex, documents regularly number in the thousands of pages; too large to absorbed and evaluated. Until this past decade, Pasadena produced a single Comprehensive General Plan. Today, the Land Use and Mobility Elements have been updated, producing no single Comprehensive

Plan document, and there is no single place where they can be all found together all at once (p.83). As a result, there is no singular vision and it is very difficult to There used to be a single Comprehensive get the big picture. document citizens could hold in their hands.

THE LACK OF A UNIFIED MAP Among the most surprising aspects of planning today is how far behind planning has fallen technically. While it is now possible to see any street in any city with Google Earth’s Street View feature, the profession of planning has yet to make it standard practice to produce online views of the city as it will appear in 6-months, or a year from now, even though the information exists. Longer term visions of one and two decades are even more rare. While the map of the present has never been so precise, the map of the future is far too vague to be engaging. To follow planning in most cities, a citizen must study many maps—one for land use, one for transportation, etc. Then they must to study many documents and plans and then synthesize it all to understand and envision the totality.

There are good reasons city planning does not get this detailed. When drawings and maps are detailed, citizens see conceptual plans as a done deal. Also, there is no obvious funding for such a map. “California as an Island” (p.15) illustrates the issue of conjecture in coordinating the changing maps of state and regional agencies, which involves out of date errors and omissions. Nonetheless, having a unified map is essential for planning to succeed. Without a map uniting all city and regional projects, previous proposals and the united vision of developers and citizens, it is not possible for citizens to envision their city. The lack of “plan” of the city keeps planning from reaching its true potential. (See also, The Unified Map Project, p.107)

THE LACK OF A SCHEMATIC MAP A schematic diagram represents elements of a system using abstract lines that omit details and scale for the sake of a more abstract clarity. The Metro maps of inter-urban train systems are a classic example, making the network and links to outside systems easier to understand. When used in planning, schematic diagrams “crystallize emerging points of view, framing challenges and choices in a new light.”

92

The lack of a schematic map in transportation planning— such as Pasadena’s General Plan Mobility Element—is another common standard in city planning today that holds planning back. Planning without a schematic map is like trying to navigate an interurban train system without the usual diagram, making it difficult to understand how the system works, what is included or excluded, and how the elements connect with adjacent cities.

SCHEMATIC MAP OF LA METRO SYSTEM Though county rail agencies use schematic maps, cities are reticent to use them in planning.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRO

MY CITY 1916

MAIN ST.

TODAY

LESSONS

Profile for mycityis

"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
Advertisement