I love a strong vision and a call to action as much as anyone. A strong vision is needed for large projects where lot of resources and people need to be marshaled in a single direction. The master plan that comes about as a result of a strong vision lays out the tasks that those resources should work on.
It’s just that the vision needs to be checked for fatal flaws before those resources are engaged. Otherwise, those resources are spent on resolving the ‘fatal flaws’ that should have been worked out during the master plan stage. This in turn casts a shadow over the rest of the master plan, and already-determined decisions are revisited again, and schedules are delayed. Fatal flaws are those seemingly insurmountable obstacles or impacts to the project that have the strong potential to derail a project if not directly addressed. The difficulty that these fatal flaws present are usually interrelated with some other aspect of the project, since urban streams function as a system. Changes dictated by the discovery of a fatal flaw will affect several factors, not just one, and resolving them usually results in a major change to the master plan design or maintenance considerations.
Urban streams have many aspects that can generate fatal flaws:
- Maintaining flood damage reduction levels
- Water quality and quantity
- Real estate needs
- Existing conditions that cannot be altered
Generally, these are realities that will not go away if ignored. And there’s more where these came from, depending upon the locale and site-specific situation.
I recently ran across an example illustrated in a photo in USA Today:
The Los Angeles River is undergoing a massive facelift. It’s a daunting undertaking in terms of scale, and a very interesting approach. The project website is pretty good: https://www.lariver.org/
The point is that the trash that comes into the river will still be coming into the river after the construction is completed. If that issue is not addressed somehow within the master plan, the 150 tons of trash will not magically go away, and it will likely be more expensive to address after construction is completed (BTW, I’m just using this as an example. As far as I know, the Los Angeles River plans may address trash washing into the river).
posted by KEVIN CONNER