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The Importance of Cookies

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There are four enduring philosophical questions:

1. Where did we come from?
2. Why are we here?
3. Where are we going? and …
4. Where are the cookies?

Although not the most weighty of issues, the search for “cookies” is the one that occupies most of our thoughts and demands most of our efforts. What are these cookies? They are quite simply the little things that make life enjoyable: the mint on the pillow in a hotel room; the series of green lights in a long commute; the joke relieving a tedious speech; the illustrations in a technical document; and even actual cookies served at a meeting.

There are also cookies specific to planning. They include the water fountain in the park; the seating in the plaza; the kiosk on the street corner; and all public art anywhere and everywhere.

Yes, we must address the “enduring planning questions” of public health, safety, and welfare within the context of our comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances. These are important, and must be given our fullest attention and consideration. But I would suggest that we also consider asking “Where are the cookies?” Where are the small pleasures that make the urban environment a more exciting and enriching place? They are not to be found in the description of residential density or the ordinance on street standards.

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