The Trouble with City Planning What New Orleans Can Teach Us Kristina Ford

Publication date:
30 Aug 2011
Yale University Press
288 pages: 229 x 149mm
8 b-w illus.
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A groundbreaking look at the successes—and great failures—of city planning, from New Orleans’ former director of city planning

After the vast destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans faces a rare chance to rebuild, with an unprecedented opportunity to plan what gets built. As the city’s director of planning from 1992 until 2000, Kristina Ford is uniquely placed to use these opportunities as a springboard for an eye-opening discussion of the intransigent problems and promising possibilities facing city planners across the nation and beyond.

In The Trouble with City Planning, Ford argues that almost no part of our usual understanding of the phrase “city planning” is accurate: not our conception of the plan itself, nor our sense of what city planners do or who plans are made for or how planners determine what citizens want. Most important, our conventional understanding does not tell us how a plan affects what gets built in any city in America.

Ford advances several planning innovations that, if adopted, could be crucial for restoring New Orleans, but also transformative wherever citizens are troubled by the results of their city’s plan. This keenly intelligent book is destined to become a classic for planners and citizens alike.

Kristina Ford is Visiting Professor of Public Policy Leadership at the University of Mississippi. In 2010–2011 she was the chief of staff to New Orleans' deputy mayor, who is responsible for all efforts to rebuild the city and to plan for its continuing development.

"Kristina Ford makes sense out of the misguided planning efforts that have bedevilled post-Katrina New Orleans, and provides valuable suggestions for how our cities should be planned in the future--more democratically and more effectively."--Witold Rybczynski, author of Last Harvest

"A detailed and insightful analysis of what went wrong and a blueprint for how city planning can be improved in all cities... Her idealism is refreshing but not unrealistic and this, together with her frankness about the challenges of city planning, help to make this a valuable study for all cities."—PD Smith, The Guardian