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Contrasting Two Planning Visions

In the contemporary world, land use planning is an essential concept that has to determine whether society should stay focused on preserving the environment or promote the economic growth of the cities. For this reason, planners continually face both opportunities and challenges at work. While having a chance to “deliver sustainable development and livable communities”, they have to deal with severe conflicts regarding the means and processes of modern urban planning (Godschalk, 2004, p. 5). Since the success of land use planning depends on how the problems are resolved and how the decisions are implemented, it is crucial to gain more understanding about this topic. Therefore, the following paper will discuss two distinct planning visions, compare them, and explore the conflicts they have to resolve.

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The two planning concepts that will be discussed in this essay are the sustainability/livability prism and the triangular model. The first approach was created by Godschalk (2004) by adding livability to the triangle of sustainable development. It was proved that the use of the three primary values known as equity, economy, and ecology is not sufficient enough; hence, livability joined the prism (Godschalk, 2004). This vision represents a constant interaction between the essential qualities and “offers a structure for identifying and dealing with value conflicts” (Godschalk, 2004, p. 8). At the same time, the triangular model proposed by Campbell (1996) provides an easier approach to land use planning. It consists of three vital points, such as the environment, the economy, and equity (Campbell, 1996). The triangular shape of the model is critical for its conceptual simplicity and a clear understanding of the social conflicts in the current environmental disputes (Campbell, 1996). Thus, the two concepts are both established around particular values and aim at dealing with specific conflicts.

The sustainability/livability prism and the triangular model are different; nevertheless, they also complement each other. The most apparent difference between these two visions is that the first model includes one more necessary point which is referred to as livability. While both approaches see the city as a place of production, a resource for consumers, and an area of conflict between the distribution of services, goods, and opportunities, the first prism includes livability as a determinant of a community’s quality of life (Godschalk, 2004). Consequently, it can be noted that the models are distinct and complement each other. Since the triangular model gives a possibility to see detailed interactions between the environment, the economy, and equity, the second prism shows tensions between livability and the three mentioned concepts.

Each point of both visions represents various interests; thus, this tendency contributes to the emergence of fundamental conflicts between them. There are three problems indicated by each of the models, such as the property, the resource, and the development issues (Campbell, 1996; Godschalk, 2004). In addition, the sustainability/livability prism represents three other conflicts connected to the relationship between the main dimensions (Godschalk, 2004). These struggles include tensions between livability and economy, livability and ecology, and livability and equity (Godschalk, 2004). The emergence of all these six identified conflicts is caused by constant competition between the values and the interdependence of the points (Campbell, 1996; Godschalk, 2004). Hence, the nature of problems lies in the opposition and cooperation of values.

It is clear that the nature of the mentioned issues does not let land use planners address them quickly and effectively, and the development and the livability versus ecology conflicts seem to be the most difficult to resolve. As mentioned by Campbell (1996), the development problem is the most challenging because this point of the triangle aims at increasing social equity and protecting the environment at the same time. Therefore, while it focuses on two concepts, it is harder to create solutions to the issue. Moreover, the conflict between livability and ecology is severe since it arises from the subjective beliefs about the importance of nature and the built environment (Godschalk, 2004). Both ideas prove to be necessary, therefore, it can be hard to find an agreement.

Land use planners can help resolve the mentioned conflicts by taking advantage of the conceptual tools and identifying the necessary processes that contribute to advancement. Campbell (1996) concluded that sustainability is an essential concept that can help specialists create “the long-term planning goal of a social-environmental system in balance” which is a critical part of the procedure of land use planning (p. 302). Therefore, their role in the process will be to control the situation and be aware of the possible complications that may arise.

Overall, land use planning is vital in contemporary society because it helps the population understand whether preserving the environment is more crucial than ensuring economic growth. The process can face various problems that have to be resolved quickly and efficiently. For this reason, researchers develop their planning visions and identify fundamental values, conflicts, and relationships. Consequently, the presented paper explored the sustainability/livability prism and the triangular model, contrasted them, and discussed problems that they identify.

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Campbell, S. (1996). Green cities, growing cities, just cities?: Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development. Journal of the American Planning Association, 62(3), 296-312. Web.

Godschalk, D. R. (2004). Land use planning challenges: Coping with conflicts in visions of sustainable development and livable communities. Journal of the American Planning Association, 70(1), 5-13. Web.

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