Failing is ok
The new mantra in business, which has carried over to urban planning and other fields is "fail fast and cheap." The idea being, we spend far too much time writing 5-year business plans and other long-term plans. Those plans have value as a vision, but the details are generally made up because there's really no way of predicting revenue 5 years from now. So, the idea is: experiment, do it often, and you'll learn lessons much more quickly and much less expensively. Dean Gunderson, over at the Planning Required blog, has another take on failure. His excellent piece out this week describes an effort that he and his students undertook that was doomed from the beginning. And, that was ok.
The whole piece is worth reading, and please the note the excellent and very simple master plan his team completed.
Here's a snippet from his piece:
Our goal had always been to start a conversation about appropriate urban forms, and place-specific design. We were able to touch upon a number of community design subjects even Sustainability experts tend to ignore — and do so within a forum in which these experts were to be gathered. In a way, this design competition became the perfect sounding board to critique a number of flaws that arise when organizations isolate their interests from each other.
Not only did we have the opportunity to highlight these subjects within the confines of this small competition, we took the conversation to the national level. After the competition, we took our proposal and submitted it to the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) for review as part of its annual Charter Awards recognition process. Fortunately for our purposes, the CNU granted our proposal a national Charter Award for our design.
Great work, Dean. Keep blogging.