Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Condominium projects rise in Bellingham's Fairhaven District.

Also rising: attendance at neighborhood citizen forums on growth and planning.

Public mood changing against in fill? Maybe, but also likely just more and different voices coming to a meeting.

A belated geography lesson in the school.

500 neighbors, like angry bees, packed into a School cafeteria prompting one Bellingham Herald editorial to suggest this ...

Growth management plans that called for urban in filling, rather than county sprawl, were adopted in the 1990s. Perhaps public opinion is shifting away from the idea of in filling now that it is 2005 as people object to in fill in their neighborhoods?

I don't think that is the case.

People never speak with one voice such as, "we want in filling" or "we want sprawl."

Most people don't know that much about geography and urban planning. It hasn't had emphasis in American schools; K-12 schools. One of my geography professors, at Western Washington University, told me this, back when I was in school.

In filling and urban villages looked real good in the 1990s.

On paper.

When mostly "city planner junkies and followers, like me," showed up at the public forums.

It still looks good to me, but ...

Now that large buildings are rising, different people start coming to meetings.

More people.


Stirring up more muck in the pond. Different muck.

People are seeing buildings, construction, cranes, saying yikes!

Do they want county sprawl instead?

Not likely.

A lot of people haven't yet thought that far ahead.

They aren't connecting the dots.

Not connecting between the dots of population growth, sprawl or in filling.

These things city planning junkies think about more frequently.

Folks are just waking up, in some cases. Starting to connect the dots.

Geography hasn't been discussed enough, in the schools, during regular school hours, but it is sure coming up now. More concerned neighbors come out of the woodwork and start interacting with planners, about geography issues in places like that Fairhaven School Cafeteria. As the effects of population growth and prosperity appear in the cityscape more join the dialog.

Geography is now being discussed in a school.

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