must understand that they are making judgments that should reflect the values of their community. Whether those values are based upon the ideas of a single culture or on the community's cultural diversity will, ultimately, be the responsibility of each individual member of the commission.
The next century poses a unique challenge to America's democracy: "Can we live in a truly multicultural society?" The nation's history is replete with admirable episodes during which society expanded to create political opportunity, fought to assure equal rights, and promoted religious and cultural tolerance. The conflicts that will arise as a result of the changing cultural dynamics in our society will certainly test America's ability to continue to call itself a democracy. Nowhere will change be as necessary as in its political institutions and, because of its close fundamental community decision-making role, nowhere will the conflict be more personal than in the local planning commission. It is in the local community that Americans must begin now to prepare themselves and their collective society for a multicultural future.
The authors would particularly like to acknowledge the assistance of Colleen K. O'Toole, Ph.D. for her editing and valuable critique of this chapter.
Allor David J. "Toward a Longer View and Higher Duty for Local Planning Commissions". Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 60, no. 4, Autumn 1994:437-43.
Allor David J. "Concensus and Dissensus in Decision-Making By Urban Planning Commissions: Some Reflections on a Sociology of Rationality". Paper presented at the North Central Sociological Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 1984.