Vogel, a Portland, Oregon-based consultant on urban planning, policy development, urban design, and public involvement, says many people are suspicious of density, and are quick to reject climate-change strategies that call for a more urban kind of living.
A good way to overcome some of those objections, Vogel says, would be to distribute "Cool Planning," a handbook whose "images, captions and chapters might allay their fears—and even help them believe that their future might be more convenient and neighborly and less expensive in both time and money."
"Cool Planning," she says, "is LEED-ND in plain English—especially the New Urbanist portion of it." She notes: "While it is aimed at local elected officials, planning commissioners, planners, community organizations and developers, it is easily readable by anyone with a community college education. Many of its examples are taken from Oregon cities other than Portland. Since no other city in the state has a population greater than 160,000, it is useful in many parts of the nation, including small town America."
Despite its 150-page length, the handbook, from the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program, is far from being a chore to read. At a time when global warming is controversial in some quarters, the handbook could communicate what's at stake and how to obtain better-functioning communities.