City building is complex, but there seem to be some fundamentals that serve as the foundation for successful planning and implementation process. These fundamentals fall under the category of civic support and are essential to consistently creating innovative, sustainable projects, neighborhoods and cities. They are as follows:
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP Strong political leaders that:
- have a vision for how their city could develop
- value design and its positive impact on economic development, civic identity and quality of life for its visitors and residents alike
- understand the design and building process
- have the political will and savvy to initiate projects, garner support for them and advocate to the end
PRO-ACTIVE BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURE Planning and economic development departments that move away from being reactive functionaries enabling private development plans through the traditional regulatory processes and instead move to a pro-active approach to city building which develops and implements comprehensive plans and projects.This approach would require:
- integrated, comprehensive planning and design across disciplines and departments
- implementation process
- incorporating urban designers back into the departmental work force
- having designers at the table when plans are being formulated and evaluated, projects prioritized and implementation schemes developed
INSTITUTIONAL ADVOCACY Civic organizations with an interest in planning and design can contribute to the city building process with their deep reservoir of information and intelligence. These institutions, including the press, can also advocate on behalf of well- designed public and private development and provide forums for discussion and citizen education.
SUBSTANTIVE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION A substantive citizen participation process that considers residents a partner in the city building process, rather than a perfunctory step in the regulatory process that needs to be checked off. Residents bring invaluable information about what the neighborhood assets and liabilities are and how the neighborhood functions. They will also support a project if they feel they are being listened to and taken seriously, and have faith in the implementation process.