"What is city planning?" For parties, for elevator speeches...
I'm often asked, What is city planning?, when I answer a question about what i do for a living, and say, I teach city planning at USC. The inquiry usually comes from lay persons, but sometimes from other members of our university faculty--who would never ask, What is Philosophy?
I don't want some deep or just right answer. Just what do you say to someone so that they are more or less satisfied that they understand. By the way, since we almost never plan cities or even neighborhoods, even when we are doing general plans, that won't do. I sometimes say, we train bureaucrats, developers, and troublemakers. The latter role made sense in 1970 or so, not so sure today.
If you prefer, you can write me directly at email@example.com
PS--If I post too much, let me know. I don't hang around water-coolers, or even do lunch much, so here I am.