As planners, many of us review and/or write a variety of planning documents daily. While some may dread these tasks, I actually enjoy them. It is no secret that I am a “plannerd” who is passionate about urban planning, and that I love reading and writing about a broad range of planning issues. However, even if you do not like to write or struggle in this area, I think you would have to agree that writing is a key part of our job and we must do it well. In my opinion, two of the biggest ongoing challenges for planners are communicating clearly with the public and maintaining interest on important planning issues. One way to tackle these challenges is to prepare thoughtful and articulate plans or reports that not only reflect the input of our constituents, but are also easy to read and understand. Provided below are ten tips that I have learned over the years. [Read more…] about Writing Tips for Planners
You may consider yourself an urban planner, but are you an urban scientist?
Many of us planners in our daily jobs are busy helping the public in creating, understanding, and implementing plans and ordinances, or otherwise, helping clients with development proposals. Fewer of us are actually “in the lab,” conducting experiments and testing hypotheses. [Read more…] about Are You an Urban Scientist?
Well, 2015 is almost gone (“The glass is half empty”) and my new year’s resolution was to, in some way, generate publicity about the 100 year birthday of the UC Berkeley Campanile. As an alumni of such a great school I have created the above symbolic comic strip titled “Identity.” I identify myself as an alumni but my identity goes far beyond just where I went to school. I also identify myself as a Nigerian–American designer who believes that “great design can save humanity.” That said, my design philosophy tends to incorporate three nouns that begin with the letter T: Tradition, Technique, and Technology; which, I feel, are also crucial aspects of defining identity in design. [Read more…] about Identity (Comic Strip)
Over the weekend I was glad to do my monthly architecture tour through Los Angeles and Orange County. On my tour I was in search of grey flames, hot emerging materials and textures that exist within a grayscale spectrum but are much more vibrant than mundane. I analyzed and criticized aluminum, zinc, metal, grey paint, grey concrete, etc, and found these images (below) as a result, enjoy! [Read more…] about Grey Flames: Aluminum Photo Blog
As the year winds down, I think this is a good time to reflect on the happenings of 2014 and look ahead to 2015. Since I have already shared my reflections (see What is this Planner Thankful For?), I want to take some time now to talk about some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you know that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to attend four events or conferences that contributed to my professional and personal growth: UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr: A Vision for the American West, National Outdoor Recreation Conference, and APA California Conference. Without further ado, here are ten conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture: [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2015: Events for Planners
It is that time of year again when we think about giving and receiving gifts. Last year, I shared my ideas on the perfect gifts for planners in Presents for Plannerds which has turned out to be one of my more popular articles. This suggests to me that: a) planners are generous and want to find gifts for their colleagues; b) planners are eager to find unique gifts for themselves; c) planners just have some really good friends who want to get them the perfect present; and/or d) all of the above. All joking aside, I am pleased that my list has been helpful to some folks. While most of the items I mentioned in 2013 are still valid and available, I would like to highlight various new products that I learned about this year. Without further ado, here is my 2014 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition
Rest is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength” (verb) and “an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity” (noun). While it may be obvious to all what “rest” is, I started this article with the above definitions to get us on the same page. In particular, I want to make sure that we do not simply equate “rest” with taking a nap or getting some sleep; if we did, this article would be very short! But what I want to focus on are some ways that planners can use to relax, refresh ourselves, or recover strength. After all, even though Business Insider listed urban and regional planners as one of the top “15 High-Paying Jobs for People Who Don’t Like Stress,” those of us who work as professional planners know firsthand how stressful and challenging our work can be. [Read more…] about Rest for the Weary Planner
As a plannerd, I am naturally drawn to events like the American Planning Association (APA) conferences. However, when I told my wife that this year’s APA California Conference would be held at Disneyland, she was actually more excited than me and made sure that we would be going! [Read more…] about APA Conference: Lessons from Disneyland
Is working with planning consultants one of your key responsibilities at the office? Do you want to know how to work more effectively with consultants? [Read more…] about Book Review: Working with Planning Consultants