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March 06, 2008


Greg Kowalski

Ha John!

Great article, sir.

I would have to say technology has done its duty well in getting more neighborhoods and citizens informed.


yeah, great--organized NIMBY. Pretty naive to assume its the virtuous neighbors vs. the evil "industry."

here's "the industry" striking back, or someone finding a new middle-man market:


"PlaceMatters believes in informed, equitable, and effective citizen engagement in increasingly complex land use planning situations. We work to ensure that communities and organizations design and implement processes that garner broad public involvement and support and lead to sustainable, livable communities.

Through the use of novel public engagement processes and emerging technical tools, we work to enable effective land use decision-making. Technical tools that help stakeholders understand land use tradeoffs and analyze impacts, known as "decision support tools", when coupled with strong civic leadership and good public processes, can radically democratize what are often dysfunctional and/or expert-only-driven decisions at the community level.

PlaceMatters works to contribute to the growing body of knowledge and practice in the field of decision support, public engagement, and sustainable design by joining others in creating, using, experimenting with, applying and sharing tools, processes and ideas in on-the-ground projects across the country."

John Michlig

Dan, there is no question that your NIMBY apprehension is a legitimate concern. But there are two sides to that coin.

Here in Franklin, the DEVELOPER unquestionably holds the upper hand - with the aid of the current crop of aldermen who fear being perceived as "anti-development."

It takes just a few procedural nips and tucks to get a project to the point of no return before the community even knows what's going on. The currently-seated aldermen are largely of one mind believe they "know better."

What's that gotten us so far? Raging mediocrity at best; tax-hiking sprawl at worse. Drive around Franklin and see streets that go nowhere, subdivisions with no connectivity, overburdened connector streets, super-speedway curves built into residential areas, senseless commercial development that serves the developer's immediate deal rather than the community's long-term interests, etc.

The only way to change these things is to make the process more transparent. Developers and the city have to present projects in a manner that makes clear exactly WHY certain development is not only favorable but NECESSARY.

Placematters.org is a terrific example of a resource the powers-that-be in Franklin will be FORCED to look into once this side of the equation - - the NIMBY's who make noise via new media - - start to become a factor.

It's already beginning to change the way Franklin approaches development. Baby steps, to be sure, but I foresee change...

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