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Bad Planning

This article was written in 2004

One highlight of last year's Annual Meeting was the yelling about the new Park — too much concrete, too many lamp posts, a horrible monument, too little grass, benches too close to apartment windows, and such small benches at that! All these were valid complaints! Yet the people who did the yelling neglected one crucial point: the concrete, lamp posts, monument, etc. were all shown on the architectural renderings that were posted for public comment!

This isn't about laying blame — I doubt any Board Member wanted to design an unpopular park, and I doubt any of the people serving on related committees had any malevolence either. But the bottom line is that there are serious questions about some of the plans that were made; Board Members and volunteers are not always the best equipped to make such decisions.

This isn't an isolated incident. Bad planning can be seen in numerous areas of our daily operation — in landscaping enhancements taking place mere weeks before they are crushed down by repointing crews, and in in extensive investment in elevators that still lack protective padding. An agitated shareholder writes in:

It's obvious that every contractor we've hired has managed to mess up. This goes back to our original intercom installation which had to be done three times. More recently, our original window contractors had to be fired. The painters had to be fired. Our park architects have built something that I would give the "ugly" award. Our landscapers have done nothing to make our property attractive. What a waste of our money! Where is the oversight? The contractors do what they want, get rewarded and then walk away!

Most recently we've created a taskforce to guide the development of new lobbies. The rumors I've heard are that the members of the taskforce are bright, experienced and enthusiastic. I've even received a remarkably transparent letter from a member of the taskforce outlining their process (click here to read it). But I confess to feeling nervous nonetheless. There is something seriously wrong with the results we see in our community projects.