If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, hell itself is planned by government functionaries (also with good intentions). Randal O’Toole offers a cool drink of water in his interview — of which the following is a sliver:
Well, I’ve often heard people say, “I’m not against planning, I’m just against bad government planning.” After 30 years of looking at government plans — forest plans, park plans, transportation plans, city plans, state plans, all kinds of plans — I’ve realized all government planning is bad. Government planning — that is to say, comprehensive, long-range planning that often tries to plan and control other people’s land and resources — always does more harm than good because the planners don’t have an incentive to make sure that their plans are the right plans. Cities, forests and so on are just too complicated to plan, so they oversimplify, and since they don’t pay the costs of their mistakes, they don’t have an incentive to try to get it right.
I’d add that there is no "right" to start with, as cities are composed of a million different people with different interests, values, and ends. The planner’s fallacy is that he knows what’s best for everyone else, or that he has the best compromise. But he is a victim of both special interest capture and a hubris that is in his job description.
The anti-planner’s interview is a good antidote to the urban planning fetish and all the armchair planners who feed it. Read the whole thing.