Workshops and panels are tools that planners are using with increasing frequency to resolve planning dilemmas. Such organizations as the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and, recently, the American Planning Association sponsor various forms of expert panel workshops to help public and private organizations solve urban development problems. The problems range from how to apply a master plan to vacant land parcels to what to do with abandoned factories. Expert panels have been used effectively to build community consensus about public policies on land use issues and to design projects to meet the needs of special populations. A thorough review of the literature reveals that workshops as a planning tool have received little serious scholarly attention. Yet their use in ever more situations is indicative of their apparent effectiveness. This article describes the types of panels that are offered by major planning policy organizations. It then presents a new variation on the theme and describes how it was applied to the University of Dallas to help it master plan its surplus property. The competitive master planning expert panel developed for the University of Dallas has since been used in other situations; it has become an important, yet hitherto little-used form of the expert panel. The article concludes by comparing the essential features of each panel type. In the end, we call for systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of different panel types under different situations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies