Advertisement

Strategic Planning in US Municipalities

  • Roger E. HamlinEmail author
  • James Van Ravensway
  • Maria Mastej
  • Amanda Hamlin
Chapter
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)

Abstract

Strategic planning started in the US as a corporate planning endeavor. By the 1960s, it had become a major corporate management tool in the Fortune 500. At first it was seen as a way of interweaving policies, values, and purposes with management, resources, and market information in a way that held the organization together. By the 1950s, the concept was simplified somewhat to focus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)-type analyses as a way of keeping the corporation afloat in a more turbulent world.

The public sector has been under pressure to become more efficient, effective, and responsive. Many have felt that the adoption of business practices would help to accomplish those goals. One tool borrowed from business has been strategic planning.

At the local government level, strategic planning became popular starting in the 1980s, and a community’s planning office was sometimes called on to lead the endeavor. Urban planning offices had been doing long-range plans for decades, but, with accelerating urban change, they felt the need for an action-oriented response. Urban planning in the US has been less architectural design and physical urban development-oriented than its European counterpart.

Some communities realized that strategic plan visioning fit with long-range planning. Increasingly, 30-year plans were combined with five-year strategies or action plans as an ideal community planning and management methodology. The six-year capital improvement program also fit the system.

This chapter describes this history and process in the state of Michigan in the US. A survey was conducted. The results of the survey and two detailed case studies are presented. The conclusion is that strategic planning is defined in multiple ways. Inconsistency in the definition and application of strategic planning prevails across the state. While planning efforts generally “work,” the state could probably benefit from a more consistent and effective linkage between long-range and short-range planning, management, and implementation efforts.

References

  1. Blackerby, P. (2015). History of strategic planning. http://www.blackerbyassoc.com/history.html. Accessed 20 Dec 2015.
  2. Boyne, G. A. (1988). Bureaucratic theory meets reality: Public choice and service contracting in U. S. local government. Public Administration Review, 58(6), 474–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buchanan, J. M., & Tollison, R. D. (Eds.). (1984). The theory of public choice (revised ed.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, S. (2015). Planning history timeline: A selected chronology of events’. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sdcamp/up540/timeline12.html. Accessed 20 Dec 2015.
  5. Clingermayer, J. C., & Feiock, R. C. (2001). Institutional constraints and policy choice: An exploration of local governance. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hamlin, R. E., & Lyons, T. S. (1996). Economy without walls: Managing local development in a restructuring world. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  7. Leuca, C., Hamlin, R. E., & Van Ravensway, J. (2011). Use and evaluation of public-private partnerships for urban revitalization and redevelopment in Michigan. In Informing the debate: Key issues facing Michigan. East Lansing: Michigan State University.Google Scholar
  8. Lyons, T. S., & Hamlin, R. E. (2001). Creating an economic development action plan: A guide for development professionals (revised and updated ed.). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Osborne, D., & Gaebler, T. (1993). Reinventing government: How the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. New York: Addison-Wesley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Otis, H. G. (2007). City manager movement: Progress of manager plan in one hundred eighty-five cities. National Municipal Review, 10(1), 50–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Savoie, L., interviewed by Mastej, M. (2017, March).Google Scholar
  12. Savoie, L. Message from the Township Supervisor. Bloomfield Township Strategic Plan 2009–2014. https://www.bloomfieldtwp.org/Government/Strategic-Plan-2009-2014.aspx. Accessed 5 Feb 2016.
  13. Stillman, R. J. (1974). The rise of the city manager: A public professional in local government. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  14. The World Factbook. (2015). List of government budgets by country. http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2056.html. Accessed 18 Dec 2015.
  15. Tollison, R. D. (1984). Public choice: 1972–1982. In J. M. Buchanan & R. D. Tollison (Eds.), The theory of public choice (revised ed., pp. 3–10). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  16. Wheeland, C. M., Palus, C. K., & Wood, C. (2014). A century of municipal reform in the United States. A legacy of success, adaptation, and the impulse to improve. The American Review of Public Administration, 44(4), 11S–28S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger E. Hamlin
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Van Ravensway
    • 2
  • Maria Mastej
    • 1
  • Amanda Hamlin
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Planning, Design, and ConstructionMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Eli Broad College of BusinessMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Oakton CollegeDes PlainesUSA

Personalised recommendations