'Where Are They Now?' features the words and wisdom of previous Agora staff as a thank you for their contribution to the journal. Without them - their leadership and their commitment - Agora would not be where it is today. In preparation for Preview Weekend Friday, March 28th, we invited them to share their story with Agora and with prospective students. We asked: What was most memorable about your experience with Agora? How did your role with Agora influence your career as a planner? If you could make one recommendation to the journal what would it be?
Scott Curry was on the Agora editorial staff in 2008, took over as a Co-Editor-in-Chief in 2009, and was in charge of layout and design in 2010. He is now a planner and urban designer with Lawrence Group in Davidson, NC.
My name is Scott Curry. I graduated from Taubman College in 2010 with masters degrees in Urban Planning and Urban Design. I currently work for the Lawrence Group, a town planning and architecture firm, in their office in Davidson, NC. I also serve as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Sustain Charlotte, a non-profit education and advocacy group in Charlotte, NC. During my 3 years working on Agora, my most memorable experience were the relationships with others on the editorial staff and the late nights crafting the journal for publication. I believe 2009 was the first year we decided to embark on a more sophisticated document layout and print more of the journal in full color. That decision led to a complete overhaul of the journal's design and some long hours with good friends.
As we all know, changes in the urban environment tend to happen slowly. Our profession is an exercise in patience, as the implementation of urban design and planning recommendations take years or decades to reach their full vision. Often people will add culture and life to an area in ways that we couldn't possibly anticipate, lending a reality to our work that is more organic and happenstance that we'd sometimes care to admit. When places truly take on a life of their own though - a life beyond the rough sketch of a planner's pen - that can be one of the most authentic and rewarding experiences our profession can offer. One of the most important things that my experience with Agora taught me, and that I continue to learn today, is that we all practice within a small snapshot in time.
As such, I would love to see Agora try to tell that story in the future. I'm convinced that longitudinal studies of urban planning efforts within specific geographies hold some of the greatest potential for learning within our field. Such studies are the topics of 4 to 5-year doctorate dissertations, but 5 years is not enough time to trace the impact of plan implementation. Agora is uniquely positioned to be a medium that spans decades of student and professional work, and to evaluate their successes and failures with a long view. I'd be thrilled to see Agora embark on some sort of ongoing study of a specific neighborhood (an entire city is too large) in Detroit, or Ann Arbor, or Flint, or Ypsilanti - to provide annual snapshots in time as a commentary on the various plans and practitioners that influence an area.