Interaction with Memory: Preserving the Past While Embracing Change

“The process of planning is very valuable, for forcing you to think hard about what you are doing, but the actual plan that results from it is probably useless.” – Marc Andreessen “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” – 1984, George Orwell Cities not only represent the future but also have the responsibility to preserve their past. … Continue reading Interaction with Memory: Preserving the Past While Embracing Change

How Immigrants Can Revitalize Rural Communities

For much of its history, Siler City, North Carolina was mostly white; now, due to jobs in poultry processing, the town is 40% Latinx. Driving through downtown, the demographic change is marked by the tiendas, beauty salons, and evangelical churches with signs en español that line the streets. Like many towns across the state, Siler City suffered when the furniture and textile industries moved elsewhere. … Continue reading How Immigrants Can Revitalize Rural Communities

Why Planners Should Study Finance

In 2016, Oregon planners hoped to take advantage of a new light-rail line between Portland and Gresham, a suburban city towards the east, by developing a mixed-use community around Gresham’s rail station. The project would be a walkable transit-hub in a city otherwise dominated by single-family homes and automobiles. But Metro – Portland’s regional government that purchased the land – faced a problem. Nearly all … Continue reading Why Planners Should Study Finance

Path to Peace: Road Building and Recovery in Afghanistan

While Americans are debating a Hyperloop, electric scooters, and ride-hailing services, some people are still just trying to access basic road infrastructure. Take Kunar, Afghanistan: located on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Kunar is a stronghold for the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Afghan branch of ISIS. Despite the ongoing violence in Kunar, the government has been unable to advance its counter-terrorism agenda … Continue reading Path to Peace: Road Building and Recovery in Afghanistan

Eggs & Experts: Cuba’s Uncertain Economic Future

Where are the eggs? Challenges in Cuba’s economic development On my taxi ride from Havana’s airport, I passed by a run-down building where thousands of egg cartons lay visibly stacked on the floor. These eggs sat in an open-air, visible from the street, unrefrigerated building on a hot Caribbean island. Counterintuitively, this was the first sign of the egg shortage in Havana, eggs being a … Continue reading Eggs & Experts: Cuba’s Uncertain Economic Future

The Impacts of Defining and Classifying Brownfields

 This piece was originally written by Ben Berolzheimer for Planning Methods (PLAN 720) in November 2018. What are brownfields and why should planners care about them? The United States EPA (1) defines a brownfield as “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Brownfields are located in just about … Continue reading The Impacts of Defining and Classifying Brownfields

Racial Inequality, Gentrification, and Poverty: The History and Context of Durham’s Affordability Crisis

On any given night in Durham, young people mill about on Rigsbee Avenue, ducking into the bars and restaurants that have cropped up there. Liberty Warehouse, an upscale condominium complex that once was a tobacco auction warehouse, looms farther up the street. The transformation of this street is emblematic of Durham’s transition from a working-class tobacco town to a hip city known for its food … Continue reading Racial Inequality, Gentrification, and Poverty: The History and Context of Durham’s Affordability Crisis