April 1985 Home   Newsletters

May 1985

June-July 1985

Hazardous Waste Management - General Meeting
Overview of How Hazardous Wastes Are Managed in Hawaii (Anna Hoover)
President's Message (Dorothy Lum)
Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1985
Fund-Raisers: How Successful Are They?
New Dimensions in Planning, Zoning and Housing (Concluded) (Astrid Monson)
Bitterman Talks on International Broadcasting
1985 State Convention
Neighborhood Board Study
Vote Count Proves Remunerative
YW LeaderLuncheon VIII
Aloha to New Members...
May - June Calendar

New Dimensions in Planning, Zoning and Housing (Concluded)

(In the last Voter we summarized the positions set forth at the Feb. Membership Meeting by the heads of the city's Departments of General Planning and of Land Utilization. The views of the other two speakers are as follows:)

ALVIN PANG Director, Department of Housing and Community Development:

  1. About the only housing programs left for his department to administer are the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Section 8 rental subsidies (for existing tenants only). DHCD also administers the revenue bond programs.

  2. The administration will encourage the private development of housing and develop housing themselves through non-profit cooperatives.

  3. The basic goal is to bring demand and supply to the level .here people have choices. With the present vacancy rate of 1% or less, there is no possibility of choice.

  4. Most developers catering to the h end of the income scale.

  5. He will work to get neighborhood non-profit corporations organized to revitalize their areas. More self-help will be encouraged.

PROFFSSOR TOM DINELL, Chair, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii:

Professor Dinell pointed out the gains citizens have made in getting their views on development issues presented and considered, but also deplored the negative aspects of the process: Frozen positions on both sides, polarization of the community, lack of genuine dialogue and negotiation.

Referring to disputes like Nukoli'i, H-3, Date-Iaau and West Beach, he noted the tendency of the parties to the dispute to divide into two hostile camps, neither one hearing what the other is saying. "More and more planning issues," he lamented, "become hotly contested planning disputes. More and more disputes end up in the courts where judges seek to narrow the bases on which they decide vast and complicated conflicts." Dinell listed among the barriers to taking a more collaborative approach three kinds of impediments: Ideological, attitudinal and structural.

Ideologically, he contrasted the concept of land as the aina, the source of life, to be held collectively and its bounty shared, with land seen as a commodity, individually owned whose bounty is sold in the market place. Its development is seen as a privilege by those who believe in the aina. as a right by persons viewing land as a commodity.

"Unless we openly discuss our ideas about the land and what it may be used for," he said, "how it is to be treated and what our responsibility is for its well-being, we will ever be able to discover the common beliefs we share.".

The attitudinal impediment, Dinell held, is that "most of us simply lack practice in collaborative problem solving... (We want to win, to get our own way." Those who are politically or economically stronger seek to overpower the others, who in turn try to delay them or cause them high costs. Thus, we get a "power struggle in which the disputants never really hear one another," or those who see themselves as powerless simply give up.

The structural impediment, he explained, arises out of the fact that "Your institutional processes are not set up to facilitate dialogue and creative collaboration. The public hearing.... allows a person to present evidence or points of view and perhaps respond to questions but hardly to engage in the give-and-take necessary to mutual understanding, the discovery of shared interests, and the development of previously unthought-of-alternatives."

The answer, Dinell suggests, is to develop alternate means of conflict resolution such as the Office of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) recently established by the Judiciary. Pointing to several instances here in Hawaii where this approach has worked, he urged that "we need to begin to overcome the impediments. We need to begin to transform the planning process from one which views the participation of multiple citizen groups as inherently adversarial, in a way that unduly complicates bureaucratic and development processes, to one in which participation of citizens is seen as a significant source of positive inputs contributing to improved outcomes."

Outlining specific ways in which this could begin, Dinell then concluded that "we can organize participation so that the citizen believes that he/she has a degree of ownership in the outcome, an outcome that may be significantly enriched as a result of that citizen's participation."

Astrid Monson

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