Scratching the itch


I am spending this week in Banff, Alberta for the Canadian Institute of Planners’ national conference.  In my official capacity as president of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute, I welcome 800 planners from across Canada, and some special guests from the United States and Australia.  We work in urban and rural settings, north and south. We work in agriculture and urban design.  Some focus on policy, others on implementation.  Collectively, we work in many areas, at every scale.

Collectively we also share an itch – an itch to find and implement better ways of organizing ourselves and our cities to work better.  This itch is not unique to our planners.  It is an integral aspect of humanity.

We aim, endlessly, to improve our lot.  This is the essence of an impulse within us to grow and develop.  Specific to our cities and communities, this is what 800 planners are gathering for this week.  We are telling stories about our itches and how we scratched them.  We will also, informally, while we visit with each other around the formal aspects of a conference, notice new itches.

At this point, the choice will be about what we do with the itch.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is ignore the itch and let it go away.  Other times, the best thing to do is scratch the itch, invite more itch, invite the discomfort that comes with learning something new.

I’m curious to see what we will itch this week, and the itches I/we will choose to scratch.




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