Urban planning

The goal of the OLBIOS Advisory Group is to help you ask the right questions, raise awareness and inform you on the ethical issues you are confronted with, using ethics not as a constraint machine but as a basis for a stronger, deeper, more conscious and creative approach to your field.

Why is the careful management of urban growth and the controlled evolution of cities essential to the quality of human lives and the health of the planet?

The (old and the new) AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct & Ethical Principles in Planning. Are APA’s principles simplistic?

Planning as a matter of power and the division of powers: on equity and responsibility.

In which way city building is a collective project that relies on many disciplines and citizen participation?

High complexity of decisions embedded in multi-layer and multi-actor processes.

Do successful cities marry public and private interests, aligning them in the planning and the design of communities?

On obeying and implementing the law on urban and regional planning.

Should development and open spaces be located, shaped and designed in a way that enhances the character of neighborhoods and the vitality of public realm?

Environment and future generations in strategic and daily decisions.

How should cities be rooted in nature, and natural features and systems rooted in cities?

Obligations toward the community, clients, employees and colleagues.

How could an enlightened urbanism accommodate at the same time people’s needs and social forces; understands connective networks; promote the principle of mixed use; respect irreplaceable elements of the past; and integrate the built and natural elements of the environment?

Complexity of judgements over conflicting land uses.

How can we monitor dynamic changes in a living city so as to catch potential problems before they become entrenched?

In which way anti-urbanist interventions cut human connections? What is the definition of an inhuman city and of a living one?

Do cities and countryside require a radical reorientation if they are to survive in urban terms?

Does a city, like the human body, work through network flow?

Is there a need for a radically new urban philosophy?

Should urbanism give priority to human beings and small-scale structures?

Is modernist urbanism pathogen?

Is urbanism possible without an understanding of how materials age, and how urban structure evolves in time?

Ethical dilemmas of planners.

Do modernist urbanism prescriptions destroy cities by reversing hierarchies of connectivity?

Values incorporated into planning.

Is there an inappropriate use of the terms « ecological » and « sustainable » to denote energy-saving buildings that are entirely alien to humanity?

Definition of the term « public interest ».

Can we sustain that some prominent « fancy » architects are actually destroying cities and even countries?

Effective planning, institutional constraints and pressure by special interests imposed on planners.

Discussing Barret’s « Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners ».

Planning ethics on the relationship between developers / planners / politicians / academics.

Pressures on planning procedures and the potential for corruption.

Procedures for the publicity, review and appeal of decisions.

Relationships between local / regional / national planning authorities and between local public officials and citizens.

Discussing John Forster’s claim: « Planners are practical ethicists ». Ethical questions pervading the daily practice of planning, and planners as civil servants.

How do institutional practices rely on taken-for-granted and a priori schemes?

Do Urban Planners have to make choices in a political sphere where segregation, social exclusion and neglect of the rights of the weak are common?

Political decisions and the ethical impasse of planners. On taking direction from officials.

The considerable amount of corruption and bribery accusations all over the world. Illegalities and irregularities.

Land ethics.

Specific issues : Poor sanitation / Inadequate Transportation / Public facilities.

Urban rent, and rapid, irregular urbanization.

The Just City, and the planner as programmer.

Are there any coherent ecology ethics systems, internally consistent yet workable in reality?

How « general » is the structure of the development plan?

The multitude of issues about public works and plans on public policy agendas each year. Hundreds of issues, involving pressures from several interest groups.

Instrumental versus normative planning.

How communities and public organizations are reluctant to establish long-range goals to guide planning practice. The vague and conflicting goals of urban planning.

The rationalist and the reform traditions on what planning should be.

Individual interest-based urbanism.

Davidoff on advocacy planning and promoting.

The planner’s role as a « value-free means technician », collecting and analyzing factual « data » concerning the means for achieving public policy objectives, while at the same time avoiding the value questions defining these objectives and leaving their determination to the public and its elected and appointed representatives. How inadequate and deficient is this view?