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By Robert Goodman

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Example text

The sign, which went on to warn “w e w i l l d e fe n d o u r h o m e s w i t h o u r liv e s ,” startled passing motorists with its official governmental style for announcing public projects. The house, one of a cluster of modest frame buildings, sat 57 opposite Harvard University’s coliseum-like football stadium near the Charles River in Boston. ” The urban-renewal sign in Boston represented a small beleaguered group of poor white families protesting the city’s plan to tear down their homes in order to sell the land to a private developer for luxury housing.

Given the time-scales involved in creating and then implementing a town- or city-plan, it is not really surprising that a means had to be found for saving the professional and his work from the fortunes of public opinion and acceler­ ating social change. Patrick Geddes devised an empirical methodology which has been handed down to several generations of planners as 'survey, analysis, plan and implementation’. The formulation has become a crutch for the profession in times of trouble. e. noncontroversial) plan to emerge.

We weren’t alone in this belief. Since that time, the concept of providing professional help for the dis­ enfranchised has spread not only in the planning profession but in fields like health, economics, and education. It’s now even an accepted part of some government programs that the poor should have their own experts. 2 But, as I became more deeply involved in advocacy plan­ ning work, I began to have some serious doubts about how really significant it was all going to be. I began to question what a concept like "pluralism” meant in the context of our present American society.

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