Thursday, February 15, 2007

What I Learned About My Profession From a Streetlight

Yesterday I came how to discover a lovely Valentines Day gift from the County, a 40' street light installed a mere 30' from my bedroom window. I across was absolutely livid, prior to this the nearest streetlight was over a half mile away. The night skies were spectacular I was able to see the fainest still stars in the Milky Way, all that has now been washed away in an orange haze.

After I got over my white hot anger, I realized that I could draw a very valuable lesson from this experience. I am an Urban Planner, everyday I help make decisions on regulations and polices that impact people and there homes. For example I am currently preparing a complete revision to the County's Subdivision Development Regulations.

However despite nearly four years of home ownership in two different states, I have never really had the enjoyment of my property effected by a governmental decision. Obviously the built environment around my home was greatly shape by governmental policy, but it had never significantly changed as a result of government policy.

That all changed when as result of a policy in the County Public Works Standards dictated that when a road is widened to certain level that streets light are installed, and a result the character of my backyard was changed forever. It is perfectly justified and sound public policy, but it was shocking at how much personal offense that I took in the installation of that street light. I really felt violated.

I now feel like I have a greater sensitivity to how regulatory and policy decsion that I make, which seem mundane, i.e. that streetlight shall be installed once a roadway reaches a certain classification, can effect people in a very profound and potentially negative way. Hopefully this insight will make me a better planner.

Still I will go to sleep tonight dreaming of a BB gun

1 comment:

O'Donovan said...

Argh. A rotten way to learn a lesson.

- Lando