Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 10-10-10 Model: What will happen in 10 mins, 10 months, and 10 Ten years

So, what does a management book by Suzy Welsh, and today's Express-Times editorial have in common? They both deal with the issue of thinking about the  consequences of our decisions. The Express-Times editorial deals with the consequences of today's community planning decisions over the next 10 years.  The essence of Suzy Welsh book is a simple question. "When faced with a complex dilemma, stop and ask, "What will the consequences of my options be in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years?" (Suzy Welch web site).  According to the book, we are not suppose to take the "10" literally. The first "10" could be right now or one week. The second "10" is really about short-term consequences, while the final "10" is all about the future where the particulars of the options are vague. 

The  Express-Times Editorial argues we need to have reasonable growth plans and avoid the pitfalls of urban sprawl. Furthermore, the editorial states "the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and every other set of planners within earshot of what's coming down the pike need to stay on top of what, at the moment, is a reasonable evolution of providing services to people who have brought suburban life to our fading farming fields".

It would be interseting to have the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the various municipal Planning Commissions look at the ramifications of planning decisions using the 10-10-10 model. For example, if any Planning Commission decides to approve a high density development, what are the consequences? In 10 minutes, the developer will praise the commission on approving the development. In 10 months, the new development will be built, as the community welcomes new neighbors. In 10 years, we will know the full impact of an increasing population, as traffic congestion and overcrowd schools lead to significant tax increases.  As I have stated, you can not take the "10" literally, but I think you get the idea.

I agree a single new development may not lead to urban sprawl, but 10 separate planning decisions, when considered as a whole, can lead to serious urban sprawl.

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