Changing the Conversation: How Blogs Influence Planning

January 24, 2012

Today, citizens are engaging with planners in far more ways than just showing up for an evening meeting. Reading and commenting on blogs, and discussing issues on social media like Twitter and Facebook, give people a chance to engage with issues regardless of their backgrounds.

This medium also changes the dialogue around planning. More people can become informed about issues, and can organize for or against plans much faster than before. Planners can get far more community input and participation than just with in-person discussions, but can't simply put plans out into the ether and expect advocacy or community engagement.

Greater Greater Washington was created four years ago as a blog about planning and transportation in the Washington metropolitan area. It has become a community for planning-minded people and a vehicle for educating residents interested in the shape of their communities.

This Tuesdays at APA discussed the ways Greater Greater Washington and other local and national blogs have changed the conversations around planning issues in their communities, and how government planners and nonprofit organizations have worked well (or poorly) with blogs to advance good urbanism and foster a larger community of involved residents.

David Alpert

David Alpert

David Alpert is founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington, a popular D.C. area blog that deals with planning and development issues. He's had a lifelong interest in great cities and great communities. He worked as a product manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, D.C. He loves the Washington metropolitan area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater.