Thursday, February 3, 2005

"If you fail to plan . . .

. . . you plan to fail."

That's a little saying I picked up while training to be a Boy Scout leader, and it's maddeningly true.

Greensboro's Glenwood neighborhood learned that lesson Tuesday, when the Greensboro City Council approved a student apartment complex in their neighborhood against the wishes of the Glenwood Neighborhood Association. (The News and Record's stories are here and here.)

If Glenwood had had a neighborhood plan in hand, it's likely that they could have forced the developer to work toward their vision, rather than the other way around.

Two neighborhoods in Greensboro have developed such plans: Lindley Park, and my own Charles B. Aycock neighborhood. Like a lot of older, urban neighborhoods around the country, we've learned through hard experience that if we don't plan for ourselves, someone will plan for us. And that someone is usually not a someone with our best interests at heart.

I know a bunch of people from Glenwood, and from what I hear it's a great place in many ways, but it also has a lot of typical urban problems. And I know that the Glenwood neighborhood association doesn't need me to tell them this, but I'm going to say it anyway.

Get a plan. If you haven't already, have a talk with the city's chief neighborhood planner, Sue Schwartz. You won't regret it.

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