Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Dilemma

In class last Thursday we were broken up into groups of four and each given separate roles in a particular dilemma. One role was a city council member, a second role was a city planner, a third role was a single parent, and the last role a family with a new born on the way.

City Council Member:
The city council member had just received funding for a new school that was to be built a few miles from a higher trafficked highway, and a single parent development that was to be within 300 feet of the highway. They received the funding for that project and were asked to begin the process of designing it and building it. The commercial buildings near the highway bring in a great amount of revenue.

City Planner:
City planner has studied and knows that housing built within 300 feet of higher trafficked roads places children especially those under the age of three at high risk for health problems. It is the city planner's job to make sure all projects that are carried out are done so with all parties in mind, with a focus on improving the social, economic, and environmental health of the city or communities.

Single Parent Family
Single Parent Family:
The parent currently lives in a not as good neighbor hood and sought out a realtor to find a place in the neighborhood where their friends family lives. They have put down a deposit on a dream home in that neighborhood, and then were informed by the realtor that the neighborhood wouldn't be safe for the kids to live in because it is in close proximity to the high trafficked highway. The parent has 12 hours to back out and get their deposit back.

Family with Newborn:
The family loves their home, and neighborhood. It is in close proximity to all the highway entrance for easy access to work, the grocery store, parks and other amenities. It is their dream home, and if what the realtor says is true, it isn't safe for their newborn, and they won't be able to sell their home if others find out.

After receiving this dilemma and having read over our roles we first established the problems or concerns of each party involved.

  • The single parent needs to find a new place to live preferably near their friend, and get their deposit back
  • The family has to figure out how to sell their home if it comes out that it is bad for children. They also need to find a new place to live, that could still be similar to their dream home.
  • The city council member now knowing this information needs to find a new place for the housing development, potentially losing their funding.
  • The city planner needs to figure out a solution that will appease all parties and still be in line with what is best socially, economically, and environmentally for the city and communities. The city planner needs the residents to speak up in order for the housing development to be moved from its current planned location.
We were given 40 minutes to come up with possible solutions to these problems. At first it wasn't easy, we all played our roles and tried to get the best outcome for ourselves. After all our problems were on the table we could start discussing potential solutions.


  • Single parent first should get their deposit back.
  • The neighborhood where the family lives should be rezoned for commercial use, allowing the family to sell their home.
  • Those in the neighborhood informed and encouraged to install HEPA filters and other precautions to reduce potential toxins.
  • The city to build a green screen buffer between highway and residential areas until redevelopment is completed.
  • The new development tabled until better location(s) can be found for the development
  • The current place for the new development rezoned for commercial use, boosting economy further, as well being an appeasement to maintain funding for the development and allowing it to be changed to mixed-use housing with certain portions being designated for single parent families. (Also allowing the single parent family to move to one of these new developments with their friend family.)
  • In further redevelopment of the city bike lanes can be added, bus public transportation increased, and car pool lanes added to promote alternative modes of transportation or reduced traffic on the highway. (Eventually adding in more permanent public transportation systems making the city a more walkable place.)
  • Introduce these issues into the education systems of the city.
Several other solutions were submitted, but as a group we decided on the listed solutions above as they were the solutions with the best possible outcomes for all parties. There will come a time when each of us will play one of these roles, I share this with you all in hopes that it may help you achieve the best possible solutions for your future community as well as understand the process and needs of other all decision making parties. (The process is below.)

  1. Identify all affected parties
  2. Collaborate and list all the potential issues that may arise
  3. Think through all possible solutions and their scenarios
  4. Decide upon best possible solutions
  5. Implement short and long term strategies to help you achieve those solutions in the quickest and most effective time frame.

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.