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Planning Department
Prepared by Rod Garrett, City Designer

The Planning Department works directly with all divisions of the Burning Man organization; however, it works most closely with the Department of Public Works, of which it is an organizational part. Planners must address a multitude of interlinked responsibilities each year beyond the more visible work of producing the overall site plan of Black Rock City.

The Planning Department develops extensive maps, plans, and operating data required by the various branches of the Burning Man Project. Some of this work can be quite creative. For instance, the theme for 2001, the Seven Ages, introduced fascinating possibilities. In 2000, the Man had been dwarfed by ever more ambitious artworks and structures on the promenade. Working in collaboration with Larry Harvey, we addressed this concern by designing the Temple of Enlightenment, almost 40 feet high, which also served as a lofty pedestal for the Man, and as its pyre during the event's finale.

Additionally, along with the usual annual refinements to the city plan, we created an improved design for the gate and worked with staff to improve traffic flow at the Greeter station. A successful new scheme for the portable toilet layout improved access, and a new system for plotting the assignment of theme camps was initiated. We refined and supervised the re-construction of the 35,000-square-foot café structure, building on work done the previous year. The Planning Department generated numerous AutoCad drawings specifically addressing the requirements of the various departments previous to the event, with continuing development work on-site as needed.

This review is a small example of planning activities, since the details required to plan the annual emergence and disappearance of Black Rock City are far too numerous to mention here. This work begins as soon as the event ends, and the department welcomes the ever-changing challenges as this adventure continues to define us.