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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Introduction: Planning without Walls

  • Author(s): Simpson, Dave
  • et al.

Though most of us will not admit it, as planners we tend to like walls-walls specifically in the sense of boundaries. We are very ac­ customed to them. If we take a look around, we see them everywhere. I doubt if our profession could last long without them. There are politi­ cal boundaries, areas defined by zoning, general plans, neighborhood boundaries, census tracts, just to name a few. In our lives as practitio­ ners we struggle to keep everything within these lines, to find ways to define what is inside and outside of these city and community •walls." We are constantly faced with the need to understand a bounded area and what do with the problems in and around it. NIMBY-ism (not-in­ my-backyard), as an example, refers to a phenomenon in which a group of citizens are very aware of a smaller boundary condition (namely their own lot lines), but are vocal about what happens around that boundary, particularly as it affects property values.

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