Consultants, have been in most cases, about a half step ahead of conventional approaches to most municipal problems, even if that far ahead.
The development of master plans then, as developed are based on a collectively extracted consensus.
Consultants then tend to lead in the development of these plans, but usually are unable to take the group even that half step ahead of the conventional.
The plan then becomes the last pin in the consensus development process and is part of the evolution of a mold that is then to be followed up, with or without the presence of those forming the consensus.
The result is no imaginative nor innovative solutions within the process. Shorewood's “streetscape” plan now actually in place, appears to be not more than a copy of other mediocre streetscape plans, perhaps one or two steps behind the conventional and the result of a “one-type fits all type-solution,” even though the various elements have been shelf selected.
I've been critical of outside consultants all the time they've been involved in Shorewood's planning processes. And similar criticisms have been expressed of the master plans that didn't have pilots or qualified planners to steer them through dangerous straits.
A plan not followed through to the end and to the actual evaluation of the intended outcome by the planner himself, usually results in an even further degraded plan. And then finally, the architect of the plan, who knows how to achieve that desideratum and to carry it through in the next stages is also not there..
Plans cannot be carried out by consensus alone, nor by plan alone. The plan requires the design-planner throughout the process and now that the "basis " seems completed, it requires a designer to turn it into a work of art.
At this point in the implementation of of our street scape plan, I wonder if each of the Village Board representatives on the Business Improvement District ( BID ) and on the Community Development Authority ( CDA ) could point out any gains that the new streetscaping has brought to our community generally or specifically, in terms of better community interaction, or to improvement of the business district in terms of real economic gain.
Beyond the main question, have the property values along these streets increased, have there been community or practical benefits that can be measured?