Planning is the art of helping communities define and realize a vision of the future that anticipates community needs but does not unduly constrain future generations from successfully addressing needs and aspirations we can't foresee today. Planning is all about reaching community consensus about the character, quality, design, and location of new development and redevelopment and the conservation of valued environmental and cultural resources. It is also about fostering social and economic equity and local access to public services and amenities. It is about making communities better places to live, work, visit, and invest in.
This is from an interview with the Director of Planning for Oklahoma City. They face many of the same issues that we face.
We would highlight the comment "Planning is all about reaching community consensus...", something we have struggled with recently.
The interview is well worth reading.