Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Even more about "choices"

Expanding choices to include better choice possibilities isn't enough to be satisfied with when dealing with policy, including land use and transportation planning, because people have all  sorts of choices available to them.

- Right choices
- Wrong choices
- Hard choices
- Easy choices
- Better choices
- Worse choices
- Optimal choices
- Suboptimal choices

I read an interview with Jane Jacobs and she responded to someone who asked her "why there weren't enough roads (for cars)?"

She responded: "You're asking the wrong question.  The right question is why are there so many cars?"

Similarly, the issue isn't expanding choice so much as it is, why aren't people making better choices?

Having choice isn't enough.  It's making the right choices.

And I am sure we all have examples in our personal life of not making the right choices or choosing the easy choice when it isn't the best choice, but it is easier.

I know I do.

Labels: , , ,


At 4:29 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

One of our real problems as a nation/society is we are very very cheap, and find any way to minimize our personal investment.

My dream for Obama was that after years of being a stealth agent at the law and econ people at UC, he would know how to combat the pervasise march of the "market' and "pricing."

Clearly, he hasn't.

I'd modify Churchill's old saying in that we'll do the right thing eventually -- and usually in the most expensive way possible.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Well, I'm not sure Churchill would be right anymore...

"You can always count on America to do the right thing... after she has exhausted all other possibilities."

But yep, that's frustrating for me, who sees things a wee bit more clearly.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

... oh, but I do believe, that if we would try to reach people on those "we the people" "we can accomplish great things together" rhetoric, thinking, action, that we can actually do so.

But we don't employ that kind of approach very often.

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

We learned; but not enough; there is more to learn.
The American People
entered our years of defeat with so little preparation
we have not learned how deep the disaster. We had leaders but like Moses they led us into the wilderness and like Moses
and I am left leaderless
in wild darkness and the teror of death. (Death is not terrible; but the misgivings of our light, the little light that gave hope's inkling flicker to the toilsome piercing of torn deciets into a fresh, hazardous, already perhaps theadbare, so sought for
phrase that may perhaps with luck hold true;
the fear
that our drudgery, the urgings of mind and muscle to hard work, laughter and the sick surprise of pain, our common comfort
in the saying our fathers said,
in the grimy comicalness of everyday,
might not,
as I believed,
be the beating out of a link, however flawed, however badly made, in the chain of lives, linked by danger and miseries and splendor and crime through suffering generations, proceeding, blunderingly, and ill-advised, to some better, though hardly explainable, destination

that fear is very terrible.)

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous H Street LL said...

Fair enough. But, of course, you ignore the fact that even these progressive arguments have to be framed in inclusive terms.

Do you really think people would be more receptive (and our ideas could advance) if Harriet was running around telling people what to do?

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

No. But there is no discussion of "right" or optimal, just about adding to the smorgasboard of choices.

More on this in another blog entry, I was in meetings today.

people are missing the point of why parking minimums are to be eliminated.

It's to promote sustainable transpo decisions (not to augment choice)...

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous H Street LL said...

That's a good response, and I look forward to the entry.

But sustainable transpo decisions are going to be multimodal... ie, choice. At some point it seems to become semantics. In a way, she is using semantics to further an idea in an arguably brilliant way. What you are saying is very similar to what she is.


Post a Comment

<< Home