What do you do when you’re an urban planner who loves comics? If you’re Todd Vanadilok, AICP, you create your own planning-themed comic series. The small-business owner launched an online comic this spring that explores issues of social justice through a planning lens. His central characters — Emie, an egret, and Ollie, an ox — come from his firm’s name, Egret+Ox Planning. The two animals spoke to Todd because of their symbiotic relationship — one that resembles the ideal planning process, wherein seemingly disparate groups or individuals work together to achieve a common goal.
Todd and Courtney Kashima, AICP, take a detailed look at Todd’s background: He majored in engineering at Northwestern University but decided that he wanted to study urban planning, so he attended graduate school at the University of Michigan. After 16 years working at Teska Associates in Evanston, Illinois, he and his family moved to Colorado, where the communities he plans for are as unique as the ones he knew in and around Chicago. Courtney and Todd discuss how planning processes cannot be “one size fits all” but must be well-tailored to the specific community — urban or rural — a planner is working in. They talk about giving back to the profession and even the legacy of Roberto Clemente, the late baseball legend who also made strides in the realm of social justice.
About the Podcast: Hosted by Courtney Kashima, AICP, APA’s People Behind the Plans podcast series features conversations between planners on work, life, ideas, and problem-solving in a variety of communities.