Are We Progressive Planners?

by Ruth Yabes

What should Planners Network and progressive planners be doing? How can I possibly answer that question since I don’t feel I am a true  progressive planner. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t think I am alone among PN members.

The classes I teach have not been as successful as I wish in drawing the community into the curriculum or bringing the curriculum to the community. And although I know that the connections between labor and the community are important and I want to learn about them, I am not familiar with the issues raised in the upcoming PN Conference, Working for a Decent Living.

So what should do I do? I quietly and humbly acknowledge that I have much to learn about progressive planning, and ask PN and progressive planners to help me and others who are in the same boat. I need to do my homework. I will read this newsletter and previous issues and make them required reading in my various classes, as suggested by Keith Pezzoli at the recent PN meeting at ACSP, in order to connect students who do not necessarily think of themselves as progressive with progressive planners,” as Gwen Urey suggested in the last PN. As an educator, I appreciate Cathy Klump’s suggestions that we become advocates for progressive planning education, and I will seek ways to implement her three proposed changes: 1) link theory to practice, 2) take seriously students with practical experience, and 3) embrace diverse communities in the planning curriculum.

So, if you are like me and are worried that you aren’t “progressive”enough, let’s agree to stop apologizing or feeling embarrassed or guilty and get down to the business of learning about and embracing progressive planning issues in our classrooms, our practice, and our communities.


Ruth Yabes teaches in the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Arizona State University. 602-965-7188, Ruth(dot)Yabes(at)asu(dot)edu.