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Understanding Public Policy Aspects and Issues

Please help with responses to the questions below to better understand the aspects of public policy.

The nature of planning:

1. Is planning in this arena irrational?
2. What difference might planning have taken in the US if we had the same number of people but only land the size of California?
3. What role do interest groups play in the planning process?
4. Discuss reasons for and against citizen participation in deciding public issues?

Urbanization:

1. What have been the main reasons for urbanization in the US? How have these changed over time? Any new trends in the last 10 years that you have noticed?
2. To what extent can it be said that the suburbs have been created by federal policies?
3. Is it possible that edge cities will replace central cities as the heart of American metropolitan areas? What do you think would be the effects of such a shift?

Governing and Planning Urban Areas:

1. What were the strands in the 19th century reform movement?
2. Describe the City Beautiful movement. How did it originate?
3. What lessons do you see from the history of American city planning for the debate about the relative merits of comprehensive planning on the one hand and incremental planning on the other?

The Evolution of Zoning:

1. Describe the police power. What does it have to do with zoning?
2. Discuss the constitutionality and fairness of the Mugler and Hadacheck cases.
3. Why did New York pass a zoning act in 1916? Why did it have implications nation-wide?
4. What are 'standard state enabling acts'? Why are they important?

The Institutional and Legal Framework of Zoning

1. How does a local government obtain its power of zoning?
2. In what way do the courts presume that a municipality's judgment is valid? Why do they do this?

The technique of zoning

1. Is zoning inherently exclusionary?
2. Discuss the role of zoning in the protection of property values?
3. In what ways has flexibility been introduced into zoning?

Development Charges

1. Make a list of the costs of developing a residential neighborhood. Discuss who should bear these costs.
2. Discuss the uses and problems of incentive zoning and bonusing.
3. Much of planning is in fact negotiation. Discuss.

Solution Preview

The nature of planning:

1. Is planning in this arena irrational?

Planning in public policy is not irrational. Planning in this arena helps in overcoming the challenges of uncertainty, fragmentation and complexity in public policy making. A very important aspect of any policy is actualizing it and making the goals it seeks to fulfill achievable. The method of arriving at this conclusive point may face various challenges. This method determines the success or the failure of the policy to be actualized. Policy makers have resorted to planning in order to be able to maximize the probability of the success of the policy.

2. What difference might planning have taken in the US if we had the same number of people but only land the size of California?

The size of California is 158,706 sq miles with 156,299 square miles covering land and a population of 37.3 million people. With over three hundred and ten million people living in the U.S.A, if this population was to inhabit land the size of California, the planning in this area would have taken a different direction from the one exhibited currently (California city data, 2011). This kind of population would put a strain on not only land, but also natural resources, public services and infrastructure. The state would therefore need to change policies in order to cater for the increased population, such as increased school infrastructures for the children, increased housing facilities which would probably be storey buildings in order to save on land space, and stringent environment emission measures to curb environmental degradation. They would also have to make policies that make it easy for its human resource to go work abroad in other countries in demand of a workforce.

3. What role do interest groups play in the planning process?

It is very important to integrate various interest groups into the planning process since they have an important role to play in implementing the end result of any policy that will be arrived at. When planning is done for interest groups it becomes less efficient and effective than if it has been done by them (Sutton, 2006; FAO, 2005). Involving interest groups is usually important in order to be able to understand exactly what the value and know, how they can be able to support the goals of any planning process, and the responsibilities they will acknowledge for the various policies put in place. Their participation also enhances a feeling of fairness in the planning process and they would easily accept the resulting policies.

4. Discuss reasons for and against citizen participation in deciding public issues?

Citizen participation in the public issues that are of importance in their lives is very important in any society and it ensures that the decisions made by policy makers reflect public interest. There are main benefits that accrue due to this process are; The policy makers are able to get ideas and important information of various issues from the citizens perspective; the planning outcomes and decisions are also often supported by the public; there also develops trust and corporation between the public and the policy makers; conflicts between various interested groups and the resulting delays and cost can also be avoided through citizen participation; future planning decisions can be easily arrived at due to inherited goodwill in public policy decision making. At the same time there are some disadvantages in involving citizens in public issues decision making. These can be; it can be costly and disruptive since either few citizens participate or few of them may be fully aware of the issues involved from all aspects; improper responses by various agencies and interest groups to public participation has been viewed to impede free and fair participation. For instant, interest groups may strive to educate and influence the citizens to support their interests and point of view, and this greatly distorts a citizen's participation. In this case it is more of representing the interest of various groups rather than the public opinion (Sutton, 2006).

Urbanization:

1. What have been the main reasons for urbanization in the US? How have these changed over time? Any new trends in the last 10 years that you have noticed?

Urbanization in the United States occurred mainly due to development of agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries, industrial revolution in the 19th century which saw arise in the number of goods produced and resulted to a massive migration of people from rural areas to look for work in areas with industries. This resulted to development of settlements which further developed into towns. The early gold rush also resulted in development of towns where the miners and their families settled. People often move to urban areas in order to better their economic and living standards which would otherwise be low in rural areas where land is inadequate to cater for the rural population's needs. Over time these reasons have changed with the key players determining the urbanization process being mainly the corporate organization which strive to reduce the commuters' cost and ...

Solution Summary

The solution assists in understanding public policy aspects and issues.

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