The New Activists

Planners today are encountering a new generation of political activists and may need to reframe their work to respond effectively, according to George M. Homewood, AICP, vice-president of policy and legislation for the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association.These new activists are concerned about the national debt, an overreaching federal government and fear of diminished property rights, and “Planning appears to be serving as a lightning rod for these core issues,” Homewood writes.Homewood’s essay advises planners to

  • Avoid jargon; speak and write in plain language.  New activists and others may agree that it’s better to work close to home and have clean air and water but don’t want to hear about “walkability” or “sustainability.”
  • In a world where opinion blogs and social media hold more sway than daily newspapers, be a source of facts, presented in a non-argumentative way
  • Stress planning’s role in assuring that public investments of scarce resources are made effectively and efficiently.

Click here to read Homewood’s entire essay: Dealing with the New Activists essay