Editor's Note

The Berkeley Planning Journal chronicles not only the recent debates in our field, but also the life of our department. In recent years, the Urban Fringe blog has provided a constantly changing picture of the interests and travels of the DCRP community, while the Journal itself continues to provide an annual snapshot of the conversation in planning theory and practice. The former provides a concise but informed tweet or postcard from the ground, and the latter continues to be a consistent letter from home.

The BPJ is a tangible record of both the people and the ideas at DCRP. Our annual list of graduates and their thesis or dissertation topics gives a picture of where the field is heading and who will be leading it. The BPJ’s editorial board used to be called an “editorial collective,” reflecting the sprit of shared ownership of the Journal as an intellectual project between students and faculty. In an essay in Volume 12 (1998), “Ideas that Drove DCRP,” Professors Webber and Collignon describe the ideals that the department emerged from in the 1940s, and the transitions it made over five decades of changes on the Berkeley campus, in the planning profession, and in national politics. As the department moved primarily “from drafting tables to desks,” the curriculum expanded from strictly physical planning to studying the social and economic effects of a broad range of urban policies. Webber and Collignon’s complete list of DCRP faculty through the decades, permanent and part-time, shows the diverse degrees that they held, from Architecture, English, Mathematics, and Public Administration, to Economics, Geography, Law, Chemistry, Political Science, Business, History, and Engineering. CED grew out of the radical idea of combining three departments that treat the built environment into one college, providing tension and common purpose.

For the past several years, the BPJ editors have invited visiting scholars to participate in a discussion with DCRP students to be recorded in the pages of this journal. This year, Professor Manuel Castells joined us in the fall for a round-table about the intersection of public space and cyberspace in contemporary urban social movements.

In the spring, many students attended the Institute of Urban and Regional Development’s conference and lecture series. These lively events inspired the essays in this edition by Professors Martin Wachs and Ethan Elkind. They address the difficult intersection of short-term politics and long-term priorities in public transportation investment, challenging us to think about how different values and metrics result in tradeoffs in any planning subfield.

In the CED tradition, the BPJ’s editorial board also took some time to interact with the editors of our sister journals, Room 1000 and Ground Up, produced by the graduate students of the Architecture and Landscape Architecture departments. The names of these up-and-coming journals almost suggest that as planners we occupy a space that is somewhere in between the bird’s-eye and the in-the-weeds view. (In fact the BPJ’s home is on the fourth floor of Wurster Hall). At the encouragement of our hosts and wonderful supporters Dean Jennifer Wolch and Professor Michael Dear, the BPJ board resolved to look a bit further beyond our departmental boxes in the coming year.

In keeping with this idea, Volume 27 contains several articles that challenge traditional ideas about planning. Luis Flores invites us to take a more critical theoretical view of the recent mortgage crisis, while Gregory Newmark rethinks the standard conceptions of equity in transportation. Geoff Boeing and his co-authors take apart some of the assumptions underpinning of the LEED environmental rating system.

The editors would like to acknowledge everyone who participated in the BPJ this past year. DCRP Department Chair Paul Waddell, Dean Wolch, our advisors Professors Michael Dear and Carolina Reid provided critical advice and encouragement. We would like to thank Malla Hadley and the DCRP staff for their assistance. Our "emeritus editors," Jesus Barajas and Nicola Szibbo, gave generous amounts of time in helping us navigate. Many students contributed their ideas and reviewing skills to the Urban Fringe and the BPJ this year, both of which were made possible by their input. Aaron Young designed our new logo and will lend his boundless energy to being the next managing editor. We particularly appreciate the efforts of those who helped organize the round-table and editorial meetings, and those who made this volume possible with their moral support.