Planning for Uncertainty (2018)

Editor:  Carly Hoffmann

The theme for this year’s issue, “Planning for Uncertainty,” was inspired by the unexpected results of the 2016 presidential election, which raised countless questions about our values, how politics affect planning, and the future trajectory of our county.

Authors in this volume grapple with these questions through their explorations of diverse topics that include anti-gentrification efforts, proactive transportation planning in the face of restricted funding, and creative workforce development programs for low-income high-school students. Importantly, this year’s authors also help us understand that, though we may feel as if this political moment is particularly extraordinary, planning for risk and uncertainty is and always has been a critical part of a planner’s work.

This volume begins with an exploration of how standardized assessments can reduce uncertainty in the climate resilience planning process from Matt Hutchins, Karin Rogers, James Fox, and Nina Flagler Hall of UNC-Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center. Offering further perspective on incorporating risk and uncertainty in resilience planning, Traci Birch, PhD, AICP and Jeff Carney, AIA, AICP present a range of creative planning methods for engaging planners and citizens in the coastal restoration discussion.

Our two articles that address transportation planning discuss how to further public transit, bicycle, and pedestrian planning efforts in a time of constrained resources. Nate Baker, AICP, Michelle E. Nance, AICP, and Jason Wager, AICP, CEP survey how the Charlotte region and the Research Triangle area are planning for transit expansion so as to manage growth and position themselves for continuing vitality. Paul Black, AICP, GISP presents an inventory of how local governments in the Research Triangle area provide for thoroughfare protection, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, parking provisions, and related policies in spite of stagnant state and federal funding for transportation.

On the fraught topics of gentrification and displacement, Kevin Whang examines the construction of an artist-specific affordable housing development in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem neighborhood as a case study of gentrification dynamics in New York. DCRP Master’s student Sarah Shaughnessy interviews Peter Moskowitz, a journalist and author of the 2017 book How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood, whose thoughts on economic inequality provide a valuable counterpoint to the narrative of gentrification as a product of consumer and cultural choice.

Among the contributions from alumni of DCRP, Julianne Stern, MCRP/MBA ‘15, and DCRP Professor Nichola Lowe detail the innovative workforce development strategies for low-income youth of Chicago’s Manufacturing Connect program. And Mia Candy, MCRP ‘16, explores technical assistance frameworks developed by Renaissance Planning and the EPA that support their work in planning for public health and sustainability in diverse communities.

As always, this volume includes book reviews by current students, summaries of the Master’s projects selected by faculty as the best of the year, a list of all Master’s projects from 2017, and a year-in-review newsletter from the halls of New East. A special thank you to Karla Jimenez-Magdalena, a dual-degree student in City & Regional Planning and Public Health, who took the photograph featured on the cover. Her view of the Icelandic countryside has symbolic resonance as we move forward into an uncertain future.

A digital version of this volume is available here.