Friday, September 10, 2010

Planning Attacked!

"Mr Moses seems chronically unable to accord any human handiwork except his own. {Washington Square] was originally used as a potter's field for paupers; it might now prove to be a good place to bury Mr. Moses' poverty-stricken and moribund ideas about city planning."

Lewis Mumford, quoted in: Anthony Flint, Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Too On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City."

How often do you get this kind of air cover for an organizing drive. Eleanor Roosevelt joined in as well in her New York Post column.

At the same time, Shirley Hayes -- one the orginal organizers against the destruction of Washington Square in the 1950s -- orchestrated the ground war.

"She deployed neighbors to stand on the corners and make traffic counts, so she had her own documentation of the number of vehicles passing through the neighborhood, instead of relying on the data compiled by Mr. Moses' traffic engineers."

This is a good, early example of citizen or advocacy planning. I'm wondering about the history of doing traffic counts and when communities started doing their own. Doing your own challenged the belief that planners of the time were attempting to bolster that they had "special knowledge."

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