The Planner's Use of Information

Second Edition

By Hemalata Dandekar

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For more than 20 years, planners have depended on The Planner's Use of Information to help them solve their information problems. While the ability to manage complex information skillfully remains central to the practice of planning, in the last two decades the variety and quantity of information have ballooned. The methods of accessing and handling information — although often ultima...

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Date Published
Sept. 1, 2003
APA Planners Press

About the Authors

Hemalata Dandekar

Table of Contents

Introduction • Why this book? • Use in planning practice • Relationship to the planning problem • Sequence of inquiry • Book content and organization

A planning case study • Issue #1 (neighborhood scale): urban development in Middlesville • Issue #2 (City\County scale): transportation plan for Middlesville • Issue #3 (regional scale): energy planning for Hiatonka and East Victoria

1. Information Collection • Field methods for collecting information • Introduction • Sources of field methods • Choosing a field method • Some field methods • Community participation in field research • Conclusion • Applications • Bibliography

2. Survey methods for planners • Why survey • Survey research objectives • Key questions to ask before you start a survey • Types of survey information • When to consider an alternate method of information collection • Factors difficult to control in surveys ̺ The administrative factor • Survey design • Basic types of survey designs • Selecting the population to be surveyed • Types of errors • Nonprobability sample designs • Data-gathering methods • Selecting a survey method • Designing the questionnaire • Evaluating the survey instrument • Alternatives to the survey • Conclusions • Applications • Bibliography

3. Information from secondary sources • Increasing range and availability of secondary sources of information • US census of population and housing • Evaluating the quality of the data • Census of population and housing • Population and demographics • Housing and construction • Economics • Economic information for political contexts • Transportation • Health and welfare • Education • Environment, natural resources and recreation • Crime • Governmental activities • Laws, legislation and regulations • Federal information sources • State information sources • Local information sources • Conclusion • Applications • Bibliography

4. Analytical methods in planning • The need for analytic methods • Preliminary considerations • Data to tell a story • Statistics • Deterministic and stochastic models • Other planning methods • Object-oriented programming and chaos modeling in planning • Conclusions • Applications • Bibliography

5. Working with small groups • Group processes and the group task • Components of a group task • Establishing a group • Voting and nonvoting members of a group • The first meeting • Making decisions: consensus, Robert's rules or hybrid • Robert's Rules of order • Facilitating problem solving • Membership presence at meetings • Group resistance • Problem personalities • Termination • Summary • Applications • Bibliography

6. Public participation • Why involve the public? • The beginning • Special contributions from the public • Public involvement techniques • How to publicize the meeting • Identifying publics • Make the purpose of a meeting clear • Presenting information effectively • Traditional notification form • Positive media relations • Step by step • Selecting the right method • How to evaluate success • An effective public participation process • Applications • Bibliography

7. Computers and planning • Accessing and disseminating information • Introduction • History of computing • Balancing needs and desires • Design of computing environment • Computer hardware and software • Scripts • Computer applications • Suites of applications • Ethical and social issues • Conclusion • Applications • Bibliography

8. Speaking skills for presentations • Preparation • Key word outlines • Complete sentence outlines • Organization • Delivery • Visual aids • Applications • Design guidelines for creating your powerpoint, overhead or slide presentation • Bibliography

9. Written communication • The planner writes • Introduction • Getting started • Memos letters and e-mails • E-mails • Writing simply and clearly • Reports • Underlying messages in words • Editing and proofreading • Ordinances • Support for planning groups • Proposals • Three planners, three views • Conclusion • Applications • Bibliography

10. Graphic communication • Learning to use graphics with confidence • What graphics contribute to planning • Uses of graphics in planning • Graphic types • Graphic styles and approach • Raster-and vector-based formats • Map projections • Digital images and formats • Graphic tools, materials and production • Types of pencils and their use • Form and style • Applications • Resources • Bibliography

11. Planning in the political context • Introduction • The daily life of a planning director • An elected leader's resistance to analysis • The community as a stage • Elected officials and their constituents • Observation from a novelist • The nature of public discourse • New Orleans' land use plan process • Conclusion: a matter of style and engagement • Applications • Bibliography


About the authors



"The Planner's Use of Information is an exciting, up-to-date, and extremely useful volume that collects a well-written and illustrated set of essays by a varied group of excellent planning practitioners, most of whom teach planning. With sections dedicated to obtaining, analyzing, presenting, and using information in a political context, the book is comprehensive and balanced. The examples are helpful and telling. For instructors and students in city planning programs, the book is likely to contribute to studios and to courses in quantitative and qualitative methods. For practitioners, the volume will at least refresh the lessons of planning methods courses and probably teach quite a few new things. I recommend it highly."

—Rolf Pendall, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

"Normally one would have consult several sources to obtain the information provided in this one book. Dandekar and the co-authors have done a remarkable job putting together a comprehensive and well-balanced collection of planning methods and techniques in one book. This revised edition is packed with updated and expanded material that covers a broad range of quantitative as well as qualitative methods and techniques commonly used in planning practice. Not only is the book an excellent resource for professional planners, but it also is valuable for planning students conducting research and outreach projects. It helps bridge the gap between planning practice and planning education, especially in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of planning information."

—I-Shian Suen, Assistant Professor, Department of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University