How can we hope to build resilient cities, when the processes that govern cities are not resilient?"
What is it?
Real Time Planning involves improving planning processes to ensure that they are kept up to date. It entails identifying elements of the planning process that hinder this goal and fixing them, such as identifying elements subject to change and specifying the ways in which they might change over the years. It enables plans to be kept current, avoiding the pitfall of outdated plans with past information that is no longer relevant.
Real Time Planning works from the broadest strategic scale down to the narrowest project scale to dissect and identify why certain decisions are made, the fundamental elements of the decision, and how that decision might change over the years. This can be a great help to capital planning, programming, and budgeting to keep decisions as flexible and responsive as possible.
For whom is it?
Any urban planning and management professional at executive, managerial, and operational levels can apply Real Time Planning. It is best suited to professionals who ask themselves questions such as, why are we relying on a 5 year plan document, when we know that by year 3 the recommendations and projects will be out of date? Why are we “remaking” the plan every 5 years and losing the continuity and progress measurement of the last plan, as opposed to refreshing the plan? With the rate of change these days, why do we have a plan document that is frozen at one point in time without tools to update it between year 1 and year 5?
How is it useful?
Urban planning and management professionals put an incredible amount of time, energy, skill, and thought into each planning process and document. By switching our mindsets and actions to a place of flexibility, rather than rigidity, we do the profession and the places we lead a service. The world is moving too quickly to pretend that what was decided 3 years ago still holds true. It often does not.
Real Time Planning helps professionals with small changes that add up to a big difference. By applying a few rules of thumb, even an already existing planning process can add in elements to become more flexible and responsive. In terms of day-to-day work, this means that plans can be updated with ease, consultants do not necessarily need to be involved each time, and professionals have the peace of mind that they are operating on the best, current information. In the big picture, our cities will become more responsive to change, uncertainty, and unknowns as a result. In this day and age, this is sorely needed.
How can we hope to build resilient cities, when the processes that govern cities are not resilient?
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