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Design Thinking to Optimize Effectiveness of City Planning

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at Cornell University's Department of Urban Planning. I spent a couple days on campus, speaking with faculty and students about the academic study of urban planning vs the practice of planning, and the future of the discipline. While I appreciated their deep focus on methodological rigor and social justice, I was dismayed by some startling comments such as "planner should be responsible for implementation too, not just the plan?" and "planners should study robotics? How can we teach that?" The other most dominant argument was "how can social groups with limited education participate in such high-tech development?" All of these questions have an answer connected to Design.

The Execution Gap : Bottom Up and Top Down is a False Paradigm For most of the 100+ year history of urban planning, the cannon of planning theory describes top-down vs bottom-up processes. Various terms are used to describe this such as…

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