Managing Community Growth Complexities Requires Systems Thinking

Here is another interesting Klaus Philipsen post on his Community Architect blog, Adequate Services Regulation Prevent Revitalization of Inner Ring Suburbs. Klaus presents information that shows the problems associated with one-size-fits-all thinking when applied to smart growth. A silver bullet strategy to better manage sprawl resulted in an “Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance” (APFO) developed to assist communities direct development to existing communities and away from greenfields. Klaus describes information from a 2006 report from the National Center for Smart Growth that describes the unintended consequences of applying this type of ordinance uniformly to green fields and communities with existing infrastructure.

We need new thinking that looks more at local unique outcomes with an understanding of linking and leveraging assets. The one-size approach is left over thinking that looks at growth management in a hierarchical manner. As we continue developing Agile Planning tools and strategies we will learn more about the connections of the many systems that are at work in communities and how crossing boundaries requires first establishing an environment of trust. To see how trust can begin to reconnect relational systems visit Community Renewal International. To see how we can guide loosely joined open networks in a trusted civic space visit Strategic Doing. You can read a white paper that describes Agile Planning and read how CRI and strategic doing are part of co-creating a new planning strategy.