Key Challenges for Planning
What is the future of planning at Cornell? It is clear that:
- Planning brings uniquely integrative capacities to solve important human problems in scientifically rigorous, aesthetically critical, and responsively practical ways.
- Planning uses a diverse range of implementation tools: built works, spatial ordering, policies (principles for dealing with recurring decisions), regulations, budgeting, and public process approaches.
- Planning has a special focus on interconnectivity, interdependence, pluralism, and interdisciplinarity — inevitably negotiated diversity — of issues, cultures, and forms of knowledge and media.
- Planning also emphasizes the interconnections between different scales: sites, neighborhood and districts, cities, metropolitan areas, and regions.
It is also clear that new problems will emerge while others that have haunted planners for some time will remain, including marginality, inequality, and injustice. Future planners will face considerable challenges from adaptation to climate change and overhauling an aging infrastructure to stimulating innovation for sustainable development and creating healthy, vital, just cities in a rapidly urbanizing global world.
Planning as Uniquely Integrative
Yet, a view of planning as a uniquely integrative activity that can have substantial impact, allows us to look forward. Cornell’s history of interdisciplinarity and field-based teaching dating back to the program’s founding in the early twentieth century; of critically examining the underpinnings of growth and change in diverse contexts; of providing learning opportunities through integrated coursework and public service for students; and the transformative tradition of progressive planning provides substantial future direction.
Paraphrasing Barclay Jones’s memorable words with which this book started: most of all, Cornell’s planning program will work to create a learning environment so that students can continue to go on to do, write, conduct research, and solve problems beyond the capacities of their teachers.
Drafted by J. Forester, A. Forsyth, and N. Kudva.
Additional comments from various faculty.