Jan 27, 2022 1 min read

Well-Planned Basement Tapes

Well-Planned Basement Tapes
Spokane's new Planning Director, Spencer Gardner. (Illustration by Valerie Osier)

Spokane's new Planning Director, Spencer Gardner, chatted with Luke about his planning philosophy all the way back in 2019.

Planning is extremely important to the life and health of a place — one of the most consequential things a local government does — the impacts of which usually outlive the people doing the planning by generations. Decisions made at the founding of Spokane are still affecting us today. The placement of our bridges, for example.

And while we think of land-use in terms of big projects that often come with big political fights — a new downtown stadium, for example, or a new freeway that may or may not ever be completed — most planning is done quietly, and with lots of thought and community feedback, by teams of non-politicians.

A couple weeks ago, The Mayor’s office recently announced the appointment of a new planning director for the city, Spencer Gardner. When he starts on Feb. 7, his job will be to craft policies and an overarching philosophy for how our city is going to grow, and change. Regardless of how long he keeps the job, his decisions are going to be with us for the rest of our lives.

So it’d be good to know what his philosophy of planning is, yeah? Well…

Serendipitously, in the before-Range times, Luke worked in the same office as Spencer and interviewed him for a now-defunct podcast called Fellow Friends. We’re digging up that interview here.

We’re already working on scheduling a new interview with him as Planning Director, which will of course become Range canon.

But while we work on that, enjoy this, it’s a great conversation with a smart guy about his philosophies of planning in general. There are plenty of thoughts on Spokane — from a time he probably had no clue he would eventually have some say in how the city actually runs.

ADDITIONAL READING

Spencer has written a lot for StrongTowns.org — with a few essays about Spokane specifically. Check out that archive here:

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