1. enf1234567890 says

    Not sure why you think David Byrne would object—he does urbanism outreach himself.

  2. Matthew says

    I think the best way to approach the group is in a more reductive vein that appeals to their generally Libertarian beliefs: That we’re not adding more regulations, but are in fact getting rid of the rules and funding that in many cases prohibit our cities from forming in more sustainable patterns.

    If you can make them understand that if we remove all the subsidies, policies and government influence that has brought about the current type of development that most planners are trying to now prohibit, there would be no need to implement what they feel are draconian measures.

    I’m not suggesting anyone use this kind of language but borrowing from the opposition, planners should be stating that what we’re trying to do is remove the federal, state and local monies and regulations currently subsidizing the suburbs to the point that they are small enough to drown in a bathtub.

  3. Ben Brown says

    Yep, Matthew, that’s an approach that would begin to engage many of those who lean towarads libertarian perspectives. But the libertarians who are ideologically consistent — Ron Paul, for instance — are in a tiny minority, oftentimes because they default to reason-first strategies for selling their positions. By prioritizing personal liberty over all the other “moral receptors” Jon Haidt talks about, then shaping policy arguments from that priority, pure libertarians end up arguing for the legalization of marijuana and prostitution, doing away with tax deductions for mortgages, cutting defense spending, and a bunch of other stuff beloved by powerful constituencies. I think the better approach is get to a place where discussions engage all of the intuitive biases, relax everybody’s defensive postures, and build enough trust to finally engage rational, give-and-take conversation.

  4. Mitchell says

    So we have come to the point where we are fully accepting that ‘your ignorance is as good as our knowledge’?

  5. Ben Brown says

    We have come to the point where, if we have any expectations of a conversation that leads somewhere, we’re unlikely to start with the demand that everybody agree it’s a competition between “our knowledge” and “your ignorance.”


  1. […] what ends up getting done in a series of posts about branding and storytelling. For instance: here, here, here and […]

  2. […] implications for community engagement in difficult times. We’ve talked about this before — here, for instance, and here. And we’ll revisit the topic, exploring strategies for better story […]

Join the Conversation


two × four =