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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Berkeley Planning Journal is an annual peer-reviewed journal published by graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at the University of California, Berkeley since 1985.

Issue cover

Editorial Notes


City Planning may be a minor league profession, but if it has major league expectations, that's because it's been carrying the ball for a major league idea--the idea of planning. Planning is a major human practice, on the par with science or art, indispensable and ever expanding in modern society. Public sector planners in the U.S. are still slow to recognize this and ambivalent about planning's role and value. Serving in a society that has made a fetish of the old myth of laissez-faire, it is not surprising that, paraphrasing Wilbur:

We milk the cow of planning, and as we do,

We whisper in her ear, "You are no good."

Even in private corporations planning plays a more central role than in the public sector. Indeed, a corporation without planning is a contradiction in terms. Planning is even beginning to take hold, with a vengeance, of personal life--witness the $ 1 50 leather­ bound ""Personal Planners" that promise to guide the busy profes­ sional through his or her day without a glitch.

Book Reviews

Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American City Planning by Christine Boyer

Planners rely upon planning history to provide a sense of their position in society and the importance of their work. To reinter­ pret that history is to change the background upon which planners operate in the present and to influence their vision of the future. Traditional histories of American city planning tell a story of gra­ dual, but inexorable, progress, beginning with the reform move­ ments of the late nineteenth century and leading steadily toward increasing social acceptance, technical advancement, and institu­ tional consolidation. Personalities, famous plans, and legislative milestones march past, forming a narrative that is, on the whole, reassuring. Planning is portrayed as an activity that has emerged from tenuous beginnings to become a sophisticated profession, guiding urban change in the public interest.


Social Theory, Impact Assessment and Northern Native Communities

Many of Canada's native Indian and Inuit commumties are located in northern areas experiencing increasing pressures for resource extraction. Various analyses of the probable conse­ quences of major northern projects have disclosed fundamental conflicts between the hinterland native population and Canada's majority society, as represented by metropolitan business and government interests. These conflicts derive in part from disagreements over resource ownership and the proper beneficiaries of economic rents, as well as from widely disparate social values placed on the resource base. In this article we review the historical evolution of social impact assessment (SIA) as it has developed in response to such resource related conflicts. Then we go on to propose a general conceptual model of social and economic relations which could help provide a more adequate theoretical basis for SIA practice. While the approach suggested here focuses on the needs of native Canadian communities, it may also be relevant for other fourth world peoples and regional minorities.

The Social Impacts of the Maquiladora Industry on Mexican Border Towns

Since 1965 the region bordering the United States and Mexico has experienced both population and economic growth. This growth and development has been attributed to the economic pol­ icy agreements between the two nations. Three programs stand out as particularly important in this process: The Bracero Pro­ gram, The Programa Nacional Fronterizo, and The Border Indus­ trialization Program. While academicians and politicians have discussed the economic consequences of these programs, they have neglected to examine the social impacts on the border populations.

Housing, Urban Renewal and Popular Power: Some Reflections on Havana

Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean Islands with an area of more than 110,000 square kilometers and a population that recently reached 10 million inhabitants. Four hundred and fifty years of colonial domination and neocolonial dependence created structural inequalities throughout the territory.

At the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, Havana, the capital city, held 20% of the 6 million inhabitants of the country. Located there as well was 75% of the Island's nonsugar-based industry, most port services, health services, education, and tour­ism. This inequality between the capital city and the rest of the country stimulated heavy migration that resulted in shantytowns of marginal character with unhealthy conditions. These communi­ ties were not only removed from the lifestyle of all sectors of the bourgeoisie, but also from the proletariat. The latter, with more of an urban tradition, had become entrenched in the dense web of the ancient city center, undergoing the ghettoization that followed the exodus of the ruling classes.

Economic Development and Housing Policy in Cuba

Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Cuba's economic development has been marked by efforts to achieve four basic objectives.

Visiting with Cubans: Renovation and Transition in a Neighborhood of Havana

The last afternoon in Cuba, our group* splits into several con­ tingents. After a morning with the Architecture faculty at the University, a few are enjoying an official luncheon with the Mayor of Havana, while most are mustering for the final official group interview -- this time at the Ministry of Housing. I am going off on my own to visit with Cubans and observe housing unofficially: my friend Isa wants to show me the house her neighbors are reno­ vating -- "Very unusual. People haven't been able to do this kind of thing for 25 years."

The Neighborhood Movement in San Francisco

Neighborhood organizations in San Francisco today are notable for the strength of their challenge to business interests in a major corporate center, and for avoiding racial conflict in a remarkably diverse city. (On other cities: Arnold, 1 979 & Crenson, 1983 on Baltimore; Edel, Sclar & Luria, 1984 & Mollenkopf, 1983 on Bos­ ton; Abbott, 1983 on Portland; Lee, et al., 1984 on Seattle). They have great influence on city planning, but at the same time, neigh­ borhood organizations which unite against the effects of downtown development are also divided among themselves. Tension over exclusion and inclusion, property rights and universal rights, local protection and regional responsibility have been an underlying theme of neighborhood politics ever since new neighborhood organizations arose out of the civil rights movement. In the fol­ lowing pages I trace the neighborhood movement in San Francisco from its origins over a century ago in conservative, parochial organizations of local property owners, to its present complexity and major role in city politics.

The Search for Cultural Identity Through Urban Design: The Case of Berkeley

The often heterogeneous quality of our built environment reflects diverse identities in our society. Conflicts among values held by segments of the urban populace stand apparent in our towns and cities. My basic interest in this paper lies in evolving a basis for interpreting meaning in urban places and for developing a more equitable and socially fulfilling style of environmental design. At the core of this goal lies the task of understanding the sources of identity in environments of differing kinds and scales on the part of a broad cross section of users.

Michael Graves and the Portland Paradox

Ever since the Portland Public Services Building first began sur­ facing from the floor of the Rose City, like some monstrous grey whale in search of air, attention has been focused on the building and its post-modern Ahab, Michael Graves. The subsequent application of paint to the concrete mass put the building and its architect front-row center in the minds of architectural critics, phi­ losophers, students, and sidewalk gawkers.

Looking somewhat like a giant unsolved Rubik Cube, the new building seemed a radical departure from the voluminous facades constantly redefining the Portland skyline. Pastel colors, sprayed into geometric designs, evoked memories of childhood play rather than government at work. Not since Pietro Belluschi unveiled the smooth-skinned Equitable Building in 1948 had the city been so radically shaken in its tradition of building design.

Pay Equity and the Private Sector: A Proposal for Local Implementation in the Richmond

"Pay equity" or "comparable worth" are terms that have come to stand for the notion that people should be paid equally for jobs of similar skill levels, training requirements, and responsibility, regardless of their race, sex, creed, or color. Comparable worth has been called the job issue of the eighties. The first half of the decade witnessed a surge of activity around the issue in the courts, in legislative arenas, and at the bargaining table.

Although two of the original lawsuits establishing the grounds for comparable worth involved private-sector employers,1 most activity to date has dealt with public-sector employees. Recently, however, the notion of pay equity has gained renewed attention in the private sector as well. As economic shifts diminish the number of well-paid manufacturing jobs, lower-paid jobs in ser­ vices and related sectors, traditionally employing high concentra­ tions of women, become relatively more important to households and communities. The pressure is growing for private as well as public employers to redress discriminatory wage scales that have evolved in the workplace.

South Africa: A Case for Total Divestment

My belief is that it is in the best short-term as well as long-term economic interests of U.S. corporations to disengage from South Africa. South African corporations are no longer profitable in most cases and there is an immediate risk that product imports, capital investment or sales will be lost or adversely affected by continued military and police action, domestic or foreign embar­ goes or government expropriation. This is in addition to normal risks of currency fluctuation and unstable commodity prices. In the long-term, a new majority-ruled government may look else­ where for investments and trade, or will extract a very high price for foreign corporate involvement. At worst, corporate support of the white-minority will rule out any access in the future to South African strategic resources and play into the hands of Jj.S. cor­ porate enemies around the world. A short-term loss may also be more than offset by substantial long-term gains if U.S. corpora­ tions disengage.


Abstracts and Titles of Student Work

Recent PhD Dissertations, Masters Thesis and Professional Reports from the Departmet of City and Regional Planning.