Why Doesn’t the Public Trust Planners?

Our friends at Verdunity, a Texas-based consulting firm that puts Strong Towns principles into practice, are responsible for the excellent Go Cultivate! podcast and blog. Go Cultivate! explores what it means to create financially strong and resilient communities, and often focuses in particular on the role that local leaders—elected officials and the planners and engineers they employ—can play in making this vision a reality.

Strong Towns content manager Daniel Herriges was recently a guest on the Go Cultivate! podcast. Herriges, host Jordan Clark (your host), and Verdunity’s Felix Landry discussed the question of public trust in local government planning. The podcast is being released in two segments: Part I is here for your listening enjoyment.

Episode Description

What happens when the public doesn’t trust planners? What does that even mean? And how can we work to build trusting, responsive, two-way relationships between community members and the folks in local government?

On today’s episode, we’re returning to two common themes from this show: “change” and “trust.” Changes to the failed status quo of city building and trust between the people who live in a city and the ones pulling the levers of power.

So much of the business as usual in cities is leaving them bankrupt, making them more fragile socially, environmentally, and economically—and because of this, our discussions have centered on some of the ways to establish a more resilient approach to land use, development, and community building. But change is always hard, it’s often scary, and it usually generates pushback from someone. And much of this stems from a lack of trust, maybe even more so than a lack of having the “facts.”

This is a discussion about why there is so often a breakdown of trust in cities, and how city leaders—and we’re especially thinking about this from a planning and development standpoint—can build trust with the community they serve.

The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity.

Like this one? Want to find more episodes? Head over to our podcast archives or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or anywhere else you find podcasts.


By Daniel Herriges