In what Planetizen called “The Citizen Kane of Parking Cartoons”, the City of Ottawa just launched a video that explains how outdated its parking standards are.

I often tell my students how different skills are useful in planning: writing concisely, balancing different points of view, and conducting jurisdictional scans to find out what different municipalities/regions/provinces are doing on a particular topic. This video shows yet another skill–communicating effectively with the public. It’s not perfect, but it does a very good job of illustrating why the standards are a problem and why it’s time to revise them (they date back to 1964), and that other municipalities have done this to decrease the amount of space given over to cars in our urban environments. And as a matter of fact, I currently have a student who is conducting his Masters project on the connection between minimum parking standards and employment densities in Oregon cities.

Back in 2010 when Vancouver launched its Greenest City campaign, it included a video asking people to get involved in the process of planning for the greenest city in the world by 2020. The City of Ottawa similarly asks for public input on the issue of parking minimums in an entertaining and educational way. Municipal planners are always looking for new ways to communicate to the public and public education on planning issues is beginning to play a larger role in how we design participatory processes in our discipline.

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