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Those TA sessions have been helped by knowledgeable people, including TA staff and volunteers, who might not have otherwise attended.It’s also helpful that TA is relatively large, compared to many smaller non-profits or community groups, so this collaboration isn’t competing with other essential tasks for any of the staff. We’ve been writing short updates at but nothing that explores the ideas behind Planning Corps.Co Lab Radio seems like a good place to have a longer discussion.Starting out, I think we both wanted to facilitate connections between non-profit organizations with projects and planners with skills.I thought it important to connect to non-profits that have a mission that is public in scope and works towards change.In advocacy, you have people’s attention for only a short period of time.

Data from both the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Elmhurst Trauma Center revealed a disproportionate number of pedestrian injuries on Queens Boulevard, yet sustaining the campaign year after year became tough.Can organizations really benefit from working with Planning Corps, given the briefness of involvement and the unpredictability of volunteer planners who attend?We’re still trying to work some of these questions out, but we were very lucky with the first few sessions.Rather than merge our distinct voices and opinions into a single voice we thought we’d try this conversational approach. The idea grew out of a few discussions about the role of planners in the world at large, whether planners had a specific skill that set them apart from other professionals. I thought planners should be enablers or catalysts for change – their contribution should augment community advocacy or organizing.Frank, I think you should come clean with your cynicism – I think you once asked me if the world even needed planners! but certainly wondering how planning people could be useful to other groups on a short term basis.

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We looked at groups like 1% for Design and Architecture for Humanity, and wondered how a similar model could work for planners.