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Planners Will Never Admit They Are Wrong


"Planners will never admit that they are wrong - only that their predecessors are wrong" - Randal O'Toole- Senior Fellow Catp Institute

On the Planetizen website today there is an excellent posting 'All Government Planning Is Bad' which provides an outline (with the usual batch of unprofessional ad hominem attacks by certain planners) of an interview with Mr Randal O’Toole, Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, in Front Page Magazine The Best Laid Plans of Govt Planners Usually Screw Up Your Life

Randal O’Toole is of the view that all comprehensive long range Government planning is “bad” and generally does “more harm than good, because the planners don’t have the incentive to make sure that the plans are the right plans”. Mr O’Toole suggests that cities should repeal planning laws and shut down planning departments.

I agree with Mr O’Toole to the extent that prescriptive and inflexible long range planning is a disaster (the current unnecessary housing fiasco being just one example) – but take a more moderate position in that it needs to move rapidly from prescriptive planning - to flexible performance based planning.

Mr O’Toole makes the rather humorous comment comprehensive long range Government planners “never admit that they are wrong – only that their predecessors are wrong”. It has a sorry and costly history of lurching from one fad to the next.

It is important to read this article closely, as Randal O’Toole graphically illustrates the comprehensive failures of inflexible long range prescriptive planning – much of which is driven by “snouts in the trough” constituencies (commercial in the main) attempting to capture and monopolize markets for themselves on the one hand and ill informed ideologues on the other. The “unholy alliance”. The public is taken to the cleaners of course.


Hugh Pavletich

Co author – Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

ends

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