Believe it or not, there are many angry urbanists out there. You in fact may be one yourself. These are the people are more then just the typical urbanist. These are the ones go beyond that turning purple during transportation meetings for road widening, cringe at the thought of down zoning, and refuse to shop at the blue box giant Walmart.
The angry urbanists, rant about peak oil until their audience breaks into sustainable submission. They become frustrated in the current zoning code to the point that they alienate any conventional planner in a 50 mile radius. They also continually groan and complain about current or past political leadership because they feel that they regressed urban existence.
Angry urbanists also roam the earth until they find a place that they love. These lessons are lost with the reality of their lives, because they have to travel miles to get to their offices, or they move to a place they hate in order to prove that they can walk to the office. This missionary like lifestyle is marketed as a penitence to the sins of the suburanites.
When you come across an angry urbanists’ purple faces, or sharp criticism, remember it is not “you” it is “them”. Angry urbanists have a difficult internal struggle that is virtually impossible to manage with medication. The only temporary cure is to send the urbanists to the urban meccas, which can range from small scale of Seaside to the grandeur of the eternal city of Rome. These are the places they admire where they can recharge and gain inspiration.
Now, that we have identified the traits of an angry urbanist, I want to point out this fact: Urbanists do not need to be Angry. Frustrations may run high, and you may not feel that you are making any progress, but I assure you that are making a difference. Urbanist do not have to accept everything, but they need to get over their anger.
I do understand your anger, and I am guilty of this myself. The reality is that angry gets you nowhere. If you are an angry urbanist, you may need to change where you live, where you work, or who you work for. There is simply not enough time for you to waste your talents in a place that does not value you. The human body is too fragile to take the strain and stress of anger.
I do not think that angry urbanists need to move to a new urbanist commune to have a happy life. I do however think that urbanists need to focus on success. Focus on the millions of people that now live in communities that have adopted smart codes, legalized accessory dwelling units, or adopted complete street manuals. Focus on the millions of miles of vehicles miles travel that have been reduced due to smart growth.
Angry urbanist focus on the success of the last 20 years. Turn your internal struggle into a positive: share what has been done, and move on from what has not been done. People will attracted to success.