UBC Graduate Research

Public-Private Partnerships in Planning: A King County Case Study Sunderland, Kathleen


The urban planning profession and the various professions associated with it (architecture, landscape architecture, real estate development, engineering, to name a few) play critical roles in shaping the urban fabric. Within these professions, it is important to understand the interplay of factors - economical, political, social, and/or environmental – that influence the way cities, and their citizens, develop in an increasingly urbanizing world. Urbanism presents both challenges and opportunities. Along with meeting the basic needs of any growing population, there is equally a goal among the urban planning profession to raise the standard of living. Additionally, questions on how to meet and absorb this change, while encouraging opportunities for new development, are of increasing concern to planners and other key stakeholders. As Patsey Healy has stated, “ ‘capacity’ and ‘quality’ (of land and property development) are central preoccupations of urban policy” (211). In order to meet these concerns, the planning profession requires more frequent and creative dialogues with the development community. If planners are concerned about better quality development, then it is crucial that they work more closely with those professions that are building the development projects. This requires a recognition of the potential to encourage a confluence of conflicting ideologies and values. The purpose of this paper is to examine the various factors that influence the interface between planning and development, and to see how these two professions can negotiate to establish policy objectives that provide better quality developments. This paper will also present a case study of a public-private partnership that was created for the 2007 North American Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) competition. The case study will demonstrate how one development proposal can suggest a mutually beneficial partnership between two key stakeholders: planners and developers.

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