Planning fatigue may be setting in here in Richmond with the endless discussion & analysis of the Crupi report and the Dover & Kohl Master Plan. But there’s a few voices everyone should hear before tuning out the rest of the planning conversation.

Reading the following excellent commentaries will either 1) reinvigorate your desire to make a difference or 2) make you want to throw your hands up in despair.

1. Find your inner creativity with Pete Humes: “Nine More Ideas to Save Downtown Richmond.” via the new RVA News.

My favorite idea: “Flood Shockoe Bottom and rename it “Little Venice.” This would eliminate any anxiety about future water damage and save the city millions.”

2. Don Harrison (SaveRichmond.com) puts words to my own despair about the chance these reports will change Richmond’s leadership culture: “You’ve Already Heard Us!

Flaws and all, Crupi’s latest work is still a strong affirmation of what we already know. It joins a mountain of previous studies, seminars, conferences and workshops that have drawn the same conclusions over and over again, stating the cases in different ways and from different vantage points. So the problem isn’t that people haven’t been talking, or planning, or brainstorming, about what this city should and can be. And the problem isn’t that the business community hasn’t been inviting people, and ideas, to the table on selected issues — and when it suits them to do so (sometimes there is even potato chips). The problem is that the powers-that-be haven’t been listening, or acting, once they get up from that table.

3. Rapport, a blog by “Young Real Estate Professionals of Richmond,” points out that even a brilliant Master Plan still has to compete with the redevelopment wishes of major players in town like Robin Miller and VCU- who can influence City Hall to override these plans & achieve their own goals.

So what strikes me as odd from these “Concept Maps”, is that they even exist. VCU is a real estate development juggernaut. They have their own Master Plan for their Monroe Campus and believe me…if they want to implement it, they will.

Of course, cornerstones of the Richmond blogging world Buttermilk and Molasses and River City Rapids both offer meaty analysis and hopeful takes on both Crupi’s report and the Master Plan. But if you’re reading this post, I assume you’ve read them already…

The crux of the issue is that Richmond doesn’t lack creative ideas- but the will to implement them. And so perhaps the real conversation revolves around how we create a grassroots force for change which holds those in positions of power accountable for their decisions.

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