Privatized Planners, Approvals, San Diego, and the Future of City Planning

Just yesterday, I believe, San Diego announced that it is, once again, merging/disbanding its planning department.

I doubt anybody will notice, except for the people to who change offices.

No, I am not saying planning is irrelevant. I’m saying that so many of the long-term planning functions of many cities are outsourced or handled by consultants, you might as well do that and have the contracts managed by contract managers.

That is, planning is probably changing, and more of the future jobs in the profession will go into the private and nonprofit sector, that’s all. Hardly a death–just a changeover. Whether for the better or worse is hard to tell at this point.

There is also a nice discussion in this piece about what the role of long-term planning should be versus the role of the day-to-day management functions of the city, such as development approvals and so on.