### renewcanada.net 22 May 2008
The Disconnect Between Planning and Economic Development
(and How to Fix It)
By Storm Cunningham
Planning should ideally be the most holistic of disciplines, addressing the needs of human culture, wildlife, economics, and a plethora of other agendas in a systematic manner that has a rigorous theoretical basis. Now that you’ve stopped laughing, let me point out that the reality – planning reduced to primarily a land-use function – is not the fault of planners.
“Economic development is the last thing the planning department considers when giving, delaying, procrastinating, postponing, negotiating, and blocking applications. Planning department and council only pay lip service even to provincial and their own development policies. It would be refreshing to link planning approvals with at least consideration of economic benefit/impact.” -anonymous architect
Why are so many cities struggling with this disconnect? I trace it to two primary causes: turf protection and silo thinking (also silo budgeting).
Individuals tend to protect turf and tend to think in silos. As a result, organisations comprising, or led by, such individuals do the same. The organisation reinforces such behaviour, both actively and passively inhibiting enlightened individuals who wish to break these habits. As a result of this behavioural feedback loop, these aren’t the kinds of problems we can tackle head-on, like plugging a leak in a dike.
-Storm Cunningham is the author of The Restoration Economy (2002) and ReWealth! (2008). He is CEO of the Resolution Fund and founder of Revitalisation Institute.
Post by Elizabeth Kerr