In Making Plans: How to Engage with Landscape, Design, and the Urban Environment (University of Texas Press, 2018), Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner offers a primer on the planning process through a lively, first-hand account of developing plans for the city of Austin and the University of Texas campus. As former dean of the UT School of Architecture, Steiner served on planning committees that addressed the future growth of the city and the university, growth that inevitably overlapped because of UT’s central location in Austin. As he walks readers through the planning processes, Dean Steiner illustrates how large-scale planning requires setting goals and objectives, reading landscapes, determining best uses, designing options, selecting courses for moving forward, taking actions, and adjusting to changes. He also demonstrates that planning is an inherently political, sometimes messy, act, requiring the intelligence and ownership of the affected communities.
"Community and regional planning involve thinking ahead and formally envisioning the future for ourselves and others,” Dean Steiner writes. “Improved plans can lead to healthier, safer, and more beautiful places to live in for us and other species. We can also plan for places that are both more socially just and economically profitable. Plans can help us sustain what we value but can also help us achieve sustainability by creating truly regenerative communities; that is, places with the capacity to generate or restore their own sources of energy or materials.”