Planning a Globalized World

This week’s readings examine and evaluate the application of theoretical planning to the evolution and development of globalization. The readings explore various mechanisms and structuring to globalization as it relates to local planning practices and policies. The articles establishes a consensus that questions how planning practices are capable of transcending beyond borders and to how global development impacts planning for communities in the United States. Yan Zhang’s article establishes parallels in the urban renewal processes between the United States and China. His article find that revitalization practices and programs in both countries use similar approaches that establish government authorized subsidies to attract private investment in local communities. Zhang asserts that through varying political and socioeconomic settings the influence of a global society institutes a system that enables community development to become a “political alliance” between government and private entities, ultimately expanding the conflict that persist in planning for the public interest. The article seeks to improve the functionality of planners as this modern practice of development continues to become extensive.   This article further expound on the importance of collaborative and community planning in renewal strategies, exclaiming that planners should continue to integrate the visions of the members of the community in incorporating plans , lessening the effects of private interest and political influence.

Steven V. Ward explores how various mechanism of planning practices and ideas are changed and influenced through international diffusion. His article examines and evaluates the degree of influence that globalization has on local planning.   Diffusion that is voluntary achieved and borrowed has a lower impact from external institutions than those diffusion practices that are imposed. This is evident in most western societies where planning practices and policies follows a pattern of development through the independent changes of communities, and through the emergence of modern technology and its influence to specific regions. This form of diffusion has been proficient in the United States, where the evolution of planning practice has been best described by the continued growth of the country and the various patterns of development that emerged through planning of American cities and suburbs.

Globalization has defined modern day planning practices, specifically in underdeveloped countries. The sphere of western influence is dominant in the way cities across the country are developed and the way growth is managed and distributed. Globalization imposes a high dependence for external influences to most developing countries and emerging world economies, altering their political system and shifting their planning processes to resemble that of western societies. Essentially, as noted in Zhang’s article, private interest and investment guides the process of global development as investment is generally funded where the demand is high. As practiced in the United States, economic growth and community development plans are designed to attract investment by developing community amenities that attract a higher income population, instead of developing plans to foster development for the members currently living in a community. I have experienced these planning practices in the country of Belize. My wife and I were married in Belize, and the year before the wedding traveled to the country for vacation. We admired the authenticity of the country and regarded the natural amenities that separated the country from any other place in the Caribbean. Within a year, the island became more modern and growth was spurred by development of western influence.


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