Which city in the country has the best planning department?
I'm on the e-mail list for a group of planners-architects-landscape architects-nonprofit activists and journalists who've all taken part, as I did in 2005-06, in the Knight Program in Community Building at the University of Miami. A question went out recently to the group:
- Which mid-sized to large cities have the best planning departments in the country?
- "Rick Bernhardt Nashville" [That was from a Tennessee developer. Bernhardt is Nashville's planning director.]
- "Montgomery, Ala." [From the same developer. He had a lovely quote at the end of his e-mail, which is worth repeating here: "Every increment of construction should be done in such a way as to heal the city." -- from Christopher Alexander, architect and author. ]
- "I think Portland, Oregon, probably belongs on this list."
- "Portland has done some great things. ... A list of other forward thinking departments should include Fayetteville, Arkansas."
- "Now that Harriet Tregoning is heading the DC Planning Department, that could very well join the list."
- "One would hope Milwaukee qualifies, having had John Norquist as mayor and Peter Park (now in Denver) as head of planning."
- "The cities of West Palm Beach and Stuart, Fla., might be worth looking into."