Looking at Fredericksburg
In order to explain the Fredericksburg comprehensive plan we must first take a look at the key players involved with the plans creation. In the plan, it lists city council members, city administration and staff, the planning commission, and finally consultants. To me, consultants seemed vague so upon further Google searching of their names revealed that “Clarion Associates” was basically a collection of urban planners, real estate agents, lawyers, and environmental assessors. The kicker here is that their closest office is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (“Our Team”). Who are these people? What do they know about Fredericksburg?
This is an issue as it is relatable to Driven from New Orleans. It is plain to see that the city and mayoral office don’t always have an incentive to listen to residents. This often leads to the creation of a plan that ignores neighborhoods issues, rather than working to solve them. Another example of a city plan that ignored the residents was “Holding Ground” though this movie presented a very different approach. It is a video that follows the revitalization process of the Dudley Street neighborhood in Boston. The creation of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative or DSNI presented a plan by the residents for the residents. This board of elected city residents was able to change the city’s mind and implemented their “bottom up” plans.
I decided to explore the vision of Fredericksburg, moving past the lack of clarity in each member’s role in the Fredericksburg plan’s creation. To quote the comprehensive plan directly: “Since the City’s founding in 1728, the citizens of Fredericksburg have overcome many challenges, created the character of the City, and ensured its extraordinary role in our Nation’s history. During our stewardship of this great City, we resolve to build on this heritage and add our mark on the City’s history.” (“Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan”) This raises questions such as: what challenges have the citizens overcome? In what ways were the challenges combated? What is the character of the city? Who decided this definition? What is considered extraordinary? And how did we attain that? And who is adding their mark to the city? These questions are raised at first glance of the plan. The vision also includes specific goals of the city council. I am very happy to report that of the five goals listed, civic involvement was number four of five.
The remaining goals include an emphasis on history, beauty, safety, culture, and diversity. The plan to achieve the goals is more specifically outlined in the subsequent pages, though often does not mention resident participation. Looking to the examples discussed in class, it is a weakness of the Fredericksburg plan to ignore residents while looking to solve their problems and improve their city.
- Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan. (2007, September 25). Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- Our Team. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2015.