From the Editor

by Jerry Weitz, AICP

Readers immediately will notice that this issue of Practicing Planner is different from past issues. The four papers, and the introductory comments by Norman Krumholz, were delivered at an APA/AICP Symposium on Planning and Social Responsibility in November 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas. Professor Krumholz introduces the four papers, so he has relieved me of the task of summarizing their contents.

Some additional perspective, however, about the topic and the papers is worthy of a brief mention here. During my past work as editor, I have heard the desires of the AICP Commission and its multimedia task force that the contents of Practicing Planner, where possible, should include articles about social equity. Indeed, there is a gap in the practice literature on the topic of social responsibility. It was in the context of that void that AICP decided to devote an entire issue of Practicing Planner to the symposium papers.

While there have been a few manuscripts related to this topic published in Practicing Planner, the truth is (never mind the possible reasons) that practicing planners have only rarely written about the subject. It shouldn't surprise us then, that when APA and AICP solicited articles on the topic of planning and social responsibility, it was academicians who answered the call. With the exception of one paper, the authors are university professors. The authorship by academicians of papers in this issue is also understandable given that the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) co-sponsored the symposium at which these papers were delivered.

As the name of this publication makes explicit, we publish articles about the practice of planning. It may appear to readers that, with the publication of more academic-type papers in this issue, we are deviating from that objective. To the extent that you see things that way, I encourage you to carefully consider how these papers can influence practice, and not to overlook the practical context in which each of the papers is based.

Taking the paper by Ted Grossardt and Keiron Bailey as an example, practicing planners may not fully understand some of the academic terms used in their paper. These authors refer to "dialogic process tools," "decision support modeling," "Rawlsian principles of justice," "fuzzy set theory," and "choice theory," among other terms. Practitioners who venture beyond these phrases will find that the technology and techniques described in Grossardt and Bailey's paper hold promise for the implementation by practicing planners of more just citizen participation practices in our communities.

In June (Vol. 5, No. 2) Practicing Planner will return to its usual format and content of (at minimum) a planning practice feature, case, and planning essentials article. In the meantime, readers should explore how planning practice can be influenced in favor of greater social responsibility. The papers in this issue — and, I hope, others in the future — will blaze a trail in that regard. We encourage greater attention by planners to social responsibility and hope to see more articles that shed light on how to do so in practice.

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