Monday, July 5, 2010
Some are beginning to realize, however, that the process of soliciting the public's opinion on how our cities should be developed has become out of hand, and public engagement is seriously hindering our progress in designing cities that will allow us to keep things going in a healthy way long into an uncertain future.
Some are floating the idea of a citizen jury process to replace the free-for-all that often allows immediate neighbours, who represent an obvious special interest, to trump the opinions of the broader community.
Noted new urbanist architect Andres Duany of Florida, who has led two Vancouver area charettes -- weeklong, intensive collaborative community-design workshops -- recently declared that the current state of public participation in planning decisions is out of control. He says "an absolute orgy of public process" is hindering progress in building more livable cities.
Duany and others are advocating the exploration of citizen juries composed of randomly selected and demographically representative citizens who sit as a panel, learn about an issue, hear from expert witnesses, deliberate together and develop well-informed, common-ground solutions.
What do you think?
It's not often that I disagree with fellow urbanists like Duany or Mouzon, however, in this case my first reaction is to do just that.