THE FUTURE HAS OTHER PLANS
Getting to the bottom of why modern park and land use planning have shipwrecked and how to navigate the future of a messy world
Jon Kohl & Stephen McCool
Despite park plans gathering dust on shelves around the world, millions of dollars, people-hours, and expectations spent to create them — parks churn out ever more plans destined to shipwreck, without examining their own deep assumptions that spawned this paradox in the first place.
And as climate change, economic disruptions, technological evolution, and political messiness accelerate, precious little time remains to slow a crisis that extends from Costa Rica’s cherished park system to the eminent Yellowstone with its seven consecutive winter recreation plans, all unimplemented. Yet like so many brewing revolutions, hope awaits only one paradigm away.
THE FUTURE HAS OTHER PLANS explores not just superficial explanations about why park plans sink, but how civilization’s deepest assumptions about science and culture mould plans and planning. It combines several themes that emerge repeatedly in your book list: conservation, evolution, business management, and oceans. Through the extended metaphor of sailing ships as representing plans, the book illuminates how the cultural stages of Modernism and Postmodernism have hammered out a planning style that no longer reaches its intended destination, and how the next evolutionary stage breathes life into a new consciousness to build plans that parks or anyone can actually implement. To transcend the crisis, planning organizations must transform into learning organizations rather than bureaucracies. The book, therefore, unites examples from throughout the world to paint vignettes of future national parks with virtual and easily updated plans, organizational cultures that embrace error not punish it, and planners that learn and adapt apace with a rapidly changing world.
This will be the only book that combines social critique with on-the-ground techniques for tearing down implementation barriers, and the only that links planning with cultural evolution. As such, it provides urgently needed assistance to planners, managers, environmentalists, and anyone desirous of plans that actually work.
Jon Kohl is a professor at the Latin American School of Protected Areas in Costa Rica. He writes about planning, environment, and protected areas in popular, trade, and academic outlets such as E Magazine, Parks & Recreation, International Journal of Wilderness, The Boston Globe, and Wildlife Conservation. In addition, he coordinates UNESCO/World Heritage Center’s Public Use Planning Program. His platform includes alumni networks from Dartmouth College, Yale University School of Forestry, and the Returned Peace Corps Association. The US State Department has awarded his public speaking with three Speaker Specialist Grants.
Steve McCool is emeritus professor at the University of Montana, retired after 35 years in wildland and recreation planning. He serves as Vice Chair of the World Commission on Protected Area’s task force on tourism and protected areas, writes and speaks about protected area planning and, among many academic credits, co-authored the popular UN World Tourism Organization/World Parks Commission Best Practices Guidelines Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management. He reviews for journals such as Environmental Management, Society and Natural Resources, and Journal of Sustainable Tourism.