The Planning Puzzle


In our first blog post, we gave some information on the East San Gabriel Area. To recap, the East San Gabriel Valley is a planning area located in the San Gabriel Valley, and is located south of the Angeles National Forest, west of San Bernardino County, North of Orange County, and generally east of the Interstate-605 and the San Gabriel River.

Let’s take a step back and go over what planning is, and why you are already an expert on it. Yes, you are. Trust me, I’ll explain later.

So what’s planning anyway?

You will get many different definitions of planning, depending on who you talk to, but the basic premise is that planning is the process of organizing and administering the use of land. Have you ever walked down a vibrant main street, bustling with people? From where you live, are you able to walk to a park, school, or corner store? These are just a couple of examples of the types of places and activities that planners aim to help create. All types of places, from homes, main streets and parks, to roads, hospitals and factories, fit together like a puzzle. Some of these puzzle pieces usually don’t fit together well, like a house and a factory. Other puzzle pieces fit together quite nicely, like schools and parks. A great community is created when the puzzle pieces come together in just the right way. These communities then become great places to live, work, and enjoy.

In order to make sure that the puzzle pieces fit just right, planners meet and work with communities to understand challenges and opportunities in the area. They take this information and develop policies (or, “courses of action”) and guidelines that will help the community grow and develop over time. These policies and guidelines, when put together in one document, is called  a “plan.” A plan can cover a wide variety of topics, from housing and transportation, to industry and open space. In other words, a plan allows for community members, as well as the government, help solve the puzzle!

You are already an expert in recognizing places that are well-planned. Pleasant streets, convenient places to shop, amenities that are close by; these are all examples of good planning. The role of planners is to help figure out how a community or an area wants to look and feel like. This process is sometimes referred to as “visioning.” After the visioning process, where planners work with community members to envision the future of their community, our Department develops the tools to help make that vision a reality. The process takes time, and sometimes the community may have different visions for their future, which is why it’s important to hear from everyone that lives, works, and enjoys the community. Individuals such as residents, property owners, and businesses, all have perspectives, or “stakes” in their community. Sometimes we refer to community members as “stakeholders,” and they each have different parts of the directions to help solve the planning puzzle. When you put all of these directions together, the solution to the puzzle becomes much clearer. It’s that simple.

Through this blog, we hope to take you inside the planning process, and share some interesting information about the East San Gabriel Valley along the way. There will be many occasions to provide input on how you envision your community and the East San Gabriel Valley Area. You hold the answers to help solve the puzzle, after all!

Do you have questions about the planning process, or the East San Gabriel Valley Area Plan? Our team, Community Studies East, is here to answer them!

You can reach us via email at this address:

Or, you can give us a call: (213) 974-6425

Until next time!


Photo of puzzle pieces by:

Jared Tarell