You are browsing the archive for land use.

An Initiative A Day 2.3: Implement a Tiered Approach to Local Parking Requirements

January 28, 2014 in Vibrant NEO 2040, Vision

On February 25, the NEOSCC Board will be voting on the the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Action Products.  With just under 40 days to the vote and 41 initiatives in the vision, we thought it would be good to create a countdown to the vote.  Everyday over the next 5 weeks,  we will be sharing an “Initiative A Day” with you so you can gent a better understanding of the vision and framework!  If you would like to read all of the Initiatives, you can download them here Vibrant NEO_Recs&Init_010114.

Show your support for Vibrant NEO 2040 by adding your name to our Champions of Vibrant NEO 2040 list here!

These recommendations, initiatives, and products, are not one-size-fits all and some aspects of the initiatives won’t be applicable everywhere in the 12-county region.  The Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products are intended inspire and guide decision-making at the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Council of Government, and local levels to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their processes. Ultimately, the implementation of Vibrant NEO 2040 is up to Northeast Ohio’s communities and residents. But regardless of the applicability of each initiative to any particular part of the region, the goal for each community within the Vision is the same: stability, prosperity, and a high quality of life for all of its residents.

Recommendation 2: Develop a robust network of regional job centers connected by multimodal transportation corridors within and between counties

Initiative 2.3: Implement a tiered approach to local parking requirements.

WHAT THIS MEANS. Parking is a fundamental need in modern urban areas, but when oversupplied, it can easily overwhelm the special qualities of a place and even have adverse economic impacts. The provision and management of parking play an enormous role in the look and feel of streets, travel choice, and congestion levels. Parking spaces are a valuable commodity; like any commodity, they are subject to the laws of supply and demand. Typically, however, parking has been supplied without much thought to actual travel demand — or demand for any form of parking other than free parking — resulting in swathes of real estate being reduced to asphalt that sits largely empty for much of the day.

Conceptual Diagram: Cycle of automobile dependency (from Todd Litman, 2009)

Typical parking requirements in the United States today are a result of a virtuous circle of good intentions gone wrong. At its center area series of zoning code practices that have had unintended negative impacts on city centers. Conventional zoning codes, emerging in the early 20th century, quickly evolved beyond an idea with unquestionable merit — keeping noxious land uses away from residences — to so strictly isolate residential, industrial, and commercial land uses that it made motorized travel a near-necessity for most trips. Parking requirements were then added to address the spike in driving that these new standards created and ensure that parking demand for retail businesses, places of employment and other major destinations did not ‘spill over’ into residential neighborhoods and exhaust much-needed on-street parking supply. The minimum parking requirements in many zoning codes are based on the maximum demand observed on any day, so that the actual parking supply provided is never filled and most days provides much more than is needed.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT. Parking management strategies that focus on reducing the minimum required parking introduce a greater range of choice in communities—both to development markets that may be able to realize lower costs by providing less parking in places where it is not in heavy demand, and also to businesses and residents interested in finding the lower-cost space and housing that could result.

Reducing or eliminating minimum parking requirements selectively would also allow development to better respond to true market demand and, in places where less parking is actually needed than what zoning-based parking minimums specify, to provide that amount and thus reduce development costs.

GETTING IT DONE. As a form of land use regulation, parking policies are a powerful regulatory tool that local jurisdictions hold in influencing development. Northeast Ohio municipalities should consider adopting a tiered approach to parking regulation that is more responsive to the complete picture of mobility options and their accessibility. This would suggest:

  • Implementing parking maximums in walkable districts with high-frequency transit running throughout the day, i.e. districts that have 10-minute or better frequencies of bus and/or rail service;
  • Removing all reference to maximums or minimums in walkable districts with significant transit service;
  • Relaxing parking minimums in areas with some transit service; and
  • Retaining existing parking minimum requirements in areas without transit service, or modestly adjusting parking minimum requirements based on observed demand.

TOOL: The City of Cleveland passed a zoning overlay district created to preserve the pedestrian-oriented character of their unique shopping districts, accomplished through regulatory tools addressing building placement, use, reduced parking requirements, etc. (see Chapter 343.33). http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/cpc.html

http://www.amlegal.com/library/oh/cleveland.shtml  (Cleveland Ohio, Code of Ordinances; see Chapter 343.23)

Lead

Municipalities, Townships; Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Target Community

Strategic investment areas, asset risk areas, cost risk areas

Implementation Complexity

Moderate

An Initiative A Day 1.6: Understanding Land Value within Local and Regional Market

January 25, 2014 in Vibrant NEO 2040, Vision

On February 25, the NEOSCC Board will be voting on the the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Action Products.  With just under 40 days to the vote and 41 initiatives in the vision, we thought it would be good to create a countdown to the vote.  Everyday over the next 5 weeks,  we will be sharing an “Initiative A Day” with you so you can gent a better understanding of the vision and framework!  If you would like to read all of the Initiatives, you can download them here Vibrant NEO_Recs&Init_010114.  

Show your support for Vibrant NEO 2040 by adding your name to our Champions of Vibrant NEO 2040 list here

These recommendations, initiatives, and products, are not one-size-fits all and some aspects of the initiatives won’t be applicable everywhere in the 12-county region.  The Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products are intended inspire and guide decision-making at the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Council of Government, and local levels to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their processes. Ultimately, the implementation of Vibrant NEO 2040 is up to Northeast Ohio’s communities and residents. But regardless of the applicability of each initiative to any particular part of the region, the goal for each community within the Vision is the same: stability, prosperity, and a high quality of life for all of its residents.

 

Recommendation 1: FOCUS NEW RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON SITES WITHIN ESTABLISHED COMMUNITIES

Initiative 1.6: Consider instituting a land value tax to replace existing improvement-based property assessment and taxation methods.

WHAT THIS MEANS. Land value tax is a method of property taxation that is gaining traction in policy circles, though relatively few places have implemented it to date. Most counties and municipalities in the United States in fact employ a method that assesses the improvement value of land, which has the unintended effect of “punishing” more valuable buildings with higher rates of tax. Moving to a land value tax would reverse this, assessing land based on its value within a local and regional market for land, and thus making less productive uses and practices more expensive to maintain from a tax perspective.

The case of a downtown surface parking lot is a good example with which to illustrate the proposition. In such an instance, the owner invests minimally in improvements to a property – merely paving it (which has its own external costs through burdens placed on the stormwater management system, contribution to the urban heat island effect, and so forth) and perhaps constructing a small structure at the point of ingress and egress. The owner earns impressive revenues from the use, owing to the high demand for parking near clusters of employment and leisure destinations, but the only tax he pays is on what the jurisdiction assesses for the paving and the control structure. This incentivizes more entrants into the market for parking, which consumes valuable land and returns ever-lower tax revenues for the jurisdiction. The same principle applies to land speculators, who hold on to land in anticipation of a future appreciation in value, and have no disincentive to prevent a property from falling into disuse and disrepair. For such reasons, even Milton Friedman, the free-market economist who was otherwise deeply skeptical of taxation, once acknowledged that a tax based on the unimproved value of land was the “least bad” to a local economy (Citation: Lincoln Land Institute, Assessing the Theory and Practice of Land Value Taxation, https://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/dl/1760_983_Assessing%20the%20Theory%20and%20Practice%20of%20Land%20Value%20Taxation.pdf).

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT. Land value taxes align incentives in a manner that encourages better market outcomes and thus benefits municipalities financially in the long run. The case of Pittsburgh stands as the best example of this practice in a major metropolitan area. From 1913 until the city-county consolidation of the property assessment function in 2001, Pittsburgh employed a two-tiered property tax system. Land was assessed at a higher rate than the improvement (by nearly five times), which incentivized more intensive development in higher-value quarters of the city and kept at bay the speculative financial practices that led to foreclosure crises and perpetually vacant land in many other American cities. This, more than any other public policy factor, is responsible for the stabilization and modernization of the Pittsburgh region’s core, especially in the critical decades spanning the transition to a postindustrial economy (Citation: Oates, Wallace E. and Schwab, Robert M. “The impact of urban land taxation: the Pittsburgh experience.” 50 National Tax Journal 1-21 (March 1997)).

Northeast Ohio communities would do well to consider a land value-based tax, particularly to encourage developers to deliver projects that make the highest and best use of urban land, and to set up the stage to capture back some of the value appreciation due to investments in transit infrastructure and public realm improvements.

GETTING IT DONE. This initiative relies on taxing entities understanding and coming to agreement on the fact that a tax on land value constitutes a suitable and beneficial basis for property assessment and taxation, seeking clarification from and advocating for change if necessary in state law; and having the will to retrain or retool assessment departments as needed. Municipalities, townships, and counties will ultimately need to lead this process. Taxing power ultimately rests with them and they have the most to gain in encouraging better development outcomes. NEOSCC and regional planning partners could help to catalyze the process by studying the proposition further and convening a regional discussion roundtable of local government partners to deliberate on the feasibility of its implementation. Local universities with public policy and economic development research institutes may also be a technical and organizational resource on this initiative.

Lead

Municipalities, Townships, Counties

Target Community

Strategic investment areas, asset risk areas, cost risk areas

Implementation Complexity

High

 

NEOSCC Board approves release of Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products

December 18, 2013 in Products, Scenario Planning, Tool, Toolkiit, Vibrant NEO 2040

NEOSCC Board approves release of Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products

Member organizations to now consider Vision for approval

The Board of Directors of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) yesterday voted to release the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Products and Framework documents to NEOSCC member organizations for review, consideration and potential vote of approval.  The NEOSCC Board will take a final vote on approval of the Vision at its February 25, 2014 meeting.  You can review the board meeting presentation above.

 “Over the course of the last year, NEOSCC has engaged residents, elected officials, and experts throughout our 12-county region in a rigorous scenario planning process to identify the choices we can make now to help create a Northeast Ohio that is more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable in the future,” said Hunter Morrison, NEOSCC Executive Director. “Based on input and feedback from residents and leaders, the overarching objectives of the Vibrant NEO 2040 Regional Vision seeks to pursue are:

  • Promote investment in Northeast Ohio’s established communities;
  • Protect our soil, water, air, and ecologically sensitive areas;
  • Improve our regional fiscal health;
  • Develop our regional economy with accessible employment opportunities;
  • Enhance our regional transportation network;
  • Cultivate and celebrate our local assets and places of public value;
  • Expand our parks and open-space network; and
  • Preserve and value our prime farmland as a regional economic asset.”

This fall, NEOSCC and the Vibrant NEO 2040 team presented the objectives and potential recommendations during a series of public meetings, seven subject matter caucuses and to its board. Utilizing the feedback received, nine recommendations and 41 initiatives emerged as the foundation for the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and Framework.

“We recognize the recommendations and initiatives are not “one size fits all” solutions,” added Mr. Morrison.  “We understand that some of initiatives will not be applicable to all parts of the 12-county region. Lastly, implementation of individual initiatives will be a decision at the local level. The intent of NEOSCC in developing the Vibrant NEO 2040 regional vision and framework is that its recommendations, development standards, indicator targets, and action products be available for implementation at the Metro and local levels at the option of their respective decision makers.”

The recommendation and initiatives, derived through a comprehensive development process over the course of 2013 and driven by the preferences and values of Northeast Ohio residents, are essentially steps and tools for realizing the Vision NEO 2040 Vision.

The nine Vision NEO 2040 Recommendations, and their related Initiatives, are:

Please note that NEOSCC recognizes that the recommendations and initiatives are not “one size fits all” solutions.  We understand that some of initiatives will not be applicable to all parts of the 12-county region. Lastly, implementation of individual initiatives will be a decision at the local level.  The intent of NEOSCC in developing the Vibrant NEO 2040 regional vision and framework is that its recommendations, development standards, indicator targets, and action products be available for implementation at the Metro and local levels at the option of their respective decision makers.

1.       Focus new residential and commercial development on sites within established communities

  • Initiative 1.1: Encourage infill and redevelopment through the use of tax credits and other direct and indirect public incentives.
  • Initiative 1.2: Fix it first: continue to privilege projects that maintain the existing road network in a state of good repair, rather than building additional capacity.
  • Initiative 1.3: Improve the ability of municipalities and townships to analyze the long-term impacts of new development and better manage their own development.
  • Initiative 1.4: Continue development throughout the region in accordance with local zoning requirements and preferences, but prioritize public subsidies to projects within the region’s established communities.
  • Initiative 1.5: Require the users of new sewer extensions that serve previously unsewered areas to pay the full cost of service.
  • Initiative 1.6: Consider instituting a land value tax to replace existing improvement-based property assessment and taxation methods.

2.       Develop a robust network of regional job centers connected by multimodal transportation corridors within and between counties

  • Initiative 2.1: Strengthen regional job centers—and the corridors that connect them—by diversifying and intensifying land uses and investing in strategic local economic development within them.
  • Initiative 2.2: Use transit oriented development (TOD) to create stronger, more accessible, regional job centers.
  • Initiative 2.3: Implement a tiered approach to local parking requirements.

3.       Pursue the remediation, assembly, marketing, and redevelopment of abandoned properties at both the local and regional levels

  • Initiative 3.1: Develop and maintain a regional vacant industrial and commercial properties database and criteria for determining the most appropriate successive use, whether for redevelopment, green infrastructure, food production, or parks, or natural areas.
  • Initiative 3.2: Expedite permitting and remove barriers for adaptive reuse of abandoned buildings and empty lots.
  • Initiative 3.3: Expand and coordinate existing land bank efforts to acquire, assemble, manage, and dispose of vacant properties throughout the region.
  • Initiative 3.4: Identify, evaluate, and—where appropriate—pursue the reuse of vacant and abandoned industrial sites endowed with significant preexisting infrastructure that could provide unique opportunities for regional economic development. Advocate for a brownfield redevelopment fund and promote these sites through a large-scale marketing campaign.

4.       Encourage a higher frequency of mixed-use development and a range of diverse, affordable housing options

  • Initiative 4.1: Include mixed-use designations and/or planned unit overlay districts in zoning codes throughout the region.
  • Initiative 4.2: Include traditional small-lot, compact single-family and townhouse residential designations in zoning codes throughout the region.
  • Initiative 4.3: Offer financial incentives to developers that incorporate affordable housing units into their projects and implement inclusionary zoning in markets with widespread affordability gaps.
  • Initiative 4.4: Offer financial literacy and housing education programs for tenants and homeowners. Focus on areas in established communities where investments in housing are underway.

5.       Enhance and coordinate the region’s rail and bus services

  • Initiative 5.1: Invest in a regional network of bi-directional public transit connections between Northeast Ohio’s major job centers.
  • Initiative 5.2: Create a network of high-frequency express and local transit routes connecting the region’s job centers. Prioritize infill development in the corridors served by these routes. In the short and medium terms, upgrade high-performing existing bus routes and create new bus routes in designated corridors. In the long term, upgrade the highest-demand routes into commuter rail service.
  • Initiative 5.3: Coordinate the region’s transit systems for joint marketing, information technology, and fare media, including information regarding private transit resources such as university/health system shuttles, private bus services, airport transportation, etc.
  • Initiative 5.4: Evaluate the condition of all existing rail trackage and rail crossings to determine what investments would be necessary to bring substandard infrastructure up to standard for freight and passenger service.

6.       Enhance walking and cycling as transportation options to increase regional mobility and improve public health

  • Initiative 6.1: Expand the existing bicycle lane and trail system and connect it to regional transit hubs via on-and-off street facilities.
  • Initiative 6.2: Repair existing sidewalks and crosswalks and add new ones as needed wherever a fixed-route bus service is in operation.
  • Initiative 6.3: Promote “Complete Streets” through regional policy and the identification of local champions.
  • Initiative 6.4: Collaborate with school districts and local communities to further develop safe routes to school, encouraging walking and biking, and site new schools in walkable locations.

 7.       Preserve our natural areas for future generations, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and develop a regional approach to protecting air, water, and soil quality

  • Initiative 7.1: Expand and connect the existing network of parks, trails, rivers, lakes, and natural areas through continued partnerships with private land owners, land conservancies, land trusts, community members, and local governments.
  • Initiative 7.2: Support and expand green infrastructure options for flood control and general water management, both at the local level with projects like green alleys and bioswales, and at the regional level with a network of large, upstream water retention areas.
  • Initiative 7.3: Improve regional quality of life and health by focusing on the interface between natural and human systems in the areas of flood mitigation, storm water run-off, and clean beaches and the water quality of our lakes, rivers, and streams.
  • Initiative 7.4: Strengthen and expand watershed partnerships that foster communication and collaboration between upstream and downstream communities across all 15 Northeast Ohio watershed geographies.
  • Initiative 7.5: Expand collaboration between existing natural resource districts and consider the creation of new districts where appropriate.
  • Initiative 7.6: Develop and maintain a natural resources inventory of the region.

 8.       Support sustainable agriculture and the local food system in Northeast Ohio

  • Initiative 8.1: Support the expansion of community supported agriculture (CSAs), farmer cooperatives, farm-to-school programs, and other existing mechanisms that support sustainable agriculture and enhance food access.
  • Initiative 8.2: Partner with individual landowners, the food processing industry, and local organizations to protect agriculturally valuable land for future generations.
  • Initiative 8.3: Review and amend local ordinances to allow for small- and moderate-scale urban farming on occupied and vacant parcels that are environmentally safe for growing food.
  • Initiative 8.4: Support the work of local food initiatives to share best practices and identify policies of regional significance.

 9.       Increase collaboration among the region’s government agencies to expand information sharing and find more cost-effective means of providing essential services

  • Initiative 9.1: Study privatization and public-private partnerships as means to fund critical infrastructure projects that cannot be funded solely through public dollars.
  • Initiative 9.2: Utilize joint procurement strategies and the sharing of facilities, staff, and other resources wherever possible to save money on the provision of public services.
  • Initiative 9.3: Identify one or more organizations that will host and maintain the technical resources created by NEOSCC so that they will remain current, accurate, and available for future regional visioning and planning.
  • Initiative 9.4: Align MPO/COG/ODOT transportation model inputs and continue to collaborate, share information, and align policy objectives across the multiple regional planning agencies of Northeast Ohio.
  • Initiative 9.5: Foster greater engagement between MPOs/COGs and organizations/initiatives that address natural resources, parks, sewer, public health, housing, education, private business investment, and economic development.
  • Initiative 9.6: Sustain the momentum of NEOSCC by continuing to convene stakeholders to identify and address regional issues and to advance the region’s collaborative capacity.

In addition to the Vision, the Board also reviewed and approved the Action products, developed by NEOSCC to encourage, equip, and support Northeast Ohioans to learn, share, create, and act together to build a more vibrant future this year.  The Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and these products are meant to inspire and guide decision-making at the MPO, COG, and local level to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their processes

The Action Product are:

  1.  Dashboard: a visualization tool that communicates a set of indicators and metrics, against which progress toward the Vibrant NEO 2040 vision will be measured.
  2. Tool Kit & Best Practices: implementation tools and techniques to realize the regional preferred vision developed through Vibrant NEO 2040.
  3. Policy Recommendations: a framework for analyzing the effects existing policies have on the region and determining what may be needed to create desired change.
  4. Pilots: emerging best practices that show promise in moving the region towards the Vibrant NEO 2040 preferred vision.

The Action Products are aligned with final Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision themes, recommendations & initiatives. The Dashboard & Policy Recommendations are higher-level and aligned with recommendations.  The Tools, Best Practices & Pilots are aligned by initiative.

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses

July 29, 2013 in ACT, News, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses where we will look at Alternative Scenarios - different potential futures for Northeast Ohio - that could result from different choices.
These are critically important discussions.  The entire Vibrant NEO process is an attempt to help the residents of Northeast Ohio define what we want for the future, and then determine what choices we need to make in order to get to the future. 
The first round of workshops in early May helped to define a baseline for discussion – i.e. what will Northeast Ohio look like in 2040 is we continue our currents trends.  (You can learn more about these findings here.)
We gathered input from residents at those workshops, and later through ImagineMyNEO, our online planning tool which is still open for use.  That input has helped us create Alternative Scenarios that you can view and discuss at our Open Houses.  These scenarios help us see what can happen in the future if we make different choices now.  You can learn more in this comprehensive article from Steve Litt on Cleveland.com today.   
We hope you can join us at one of our Open Houses – the first one is tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 PM at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Here is the schedule for the next two weeks.

Housing: Strategies to respond to residents’ needs and values

April 26, 2013 in Housing

Housing choice connects with transportation options, public health & improved access to opportunities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a publication outlining various strategies communities can use to ensure redevelopment plans respond to the needs of existing residents and reflect their values.  The strategies are grouped under seven common elements that connect environmental justice, smart growth, and equitable development:

  • Facilitate Meaningful Community Engagement in Planning and Land Use Decisions
  • Promote Public Health and a Clean and Safe Environment
  • Strengthen Existing Communities
  • Provide Housing Choices
  • Provide Transportation Options
  • Improve Access to Opportunities and Daily Necessities
  • Preserve and Build on the Features That Make a Community Distinctive

Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities was developed jointly by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

For complimentary hard copies of the report (including free shipping), email nscep@bps-lmit.com or call 800-490-9198 and request product code: EPA 231-K-10-005.  You can download a pdf of the report here:  EPA Creating Sustainable Communities report. Feb 2013.

What future do You want for Northeast Ohio?

April 12, 2013 in ACT, Engagement, Scenario Planning

Interested in learning more about the Vibrant NEO process and the schedule for the rest of the year?  Download our new overview piece, What future do YOU want for Northeast Ohio?

 

Keep Akron Beautiful Initiative

April 9, 2013 in ACT, Quality Connected Places

Keep Akron Beautiful is encouraging all area residents to get involved in the 2013 Great American Cleanup™, by participating in the 32nd annual Clean Up Akron Month during April 2013. This year, we are cleaning up for an entire month, with the culmination event taking place on SUPER SATURDAY, April 27, 2013 at the Akron Zoological Park. We look forward to cleaning up with you, your civic groups and your families in April.

For 32 years Keep Akron Beautiful has been working to recruit thousands of civic-minded volunteers to adopt a public parcel of land to clean during Clean Up Akr
on Week. This year, Akron volunteers will be joined by volunteers from 1,200 affiliates of Keep America Beautiful around the country to participate in the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program that harnesses 4 million volunteers to build vibrant communities. Each year, we engage volunteers to take action in our community through programs that deliver positive and lasting impact through events focused on waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening

Policies and Strategies in Shrinking Cities

April 4, 2013 in Mahoning, Planning and Zoning, Quality Connected Places

On Thursday, March 28, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany (TUD), and German Marshall Fund (GMF) hosted a workshop in Youngstown titled: Policies and Strategies in Shrinking Cities: The Case of Youngstown, Ohio. The event was attended by more than 60 people including: stakeholders from throughout Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and representatives from the cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Akron.

The invitation only workshop included a site visit of abandoned industrial sites with potential for reuse, an expert panel discussion, and presentation of redevelopment ideas from urban planning students from the Technical University of Dortmund.

The expert panel discussion included Alan Mallach, Brookings Institution; Lavea Brachman, Greater Ohio Policy Center; Professor Thorsten Wiechmann, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany, and Ian Beniston, YNDC. The students’ redevelopment ideas included opportunities to reconnect Youngstown to its riverfront and industrial heritage and integrated best practice ideas from the Ruhr Valley in Germany. A final plan based on their work will be released this summer.

To view the presentation visit YNDC.

To learn more please contact the YNDC via phone at 330.480.0423 or via email info@yndc.org!

Imagine MyNEO!

April 2, 2013 in Communications, Engagement, News, Sustainability

In May, NEOSCC will be launching an on-line engagement tool entitled Imagine MyNEO! Based on an open source software called Crowd Gauge, Imagine MyNEO! will allow the entire region to share their priorities with the Vibrant NEO process.
As an introduction to the new tool, we have included an article by Sarah Madden of Sasaki Associates (our Scenario Planning consultant).  It includes background about the creation of the tool and some examples of its previous use.

Gauge the values, priorities and preferences of the crowd.

by Sarah Madden, Sasaki Associates

Web-based technology can help planners promote literacy about planning issues and increase public engagement. We already deploy sophisticated data analysis and modeling tools, but many of these tools are more suitable for back-of-house number crunching than for interactive public engagement. This divide between tools for technicians and tools for engagement is significant:  despite all of the public- and client-facing communication work we do, few of today’s data modeling or scenario planning tools were built to be inviting to lay audiences. We need to apply our technological design prowess to facilitating interaction and better engaging the very people our work supports.

Faced with the challenge of engaging people across a spread-out region, Sasaki, PlaceMatters, and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (DMAMPO) partnered to build a new tool—called CrowdGauge—to help communities achieve better public participation and understanding of trade-offs. CrowdGauge is an open-source framework for creating educational online games. It first asks users to rank a set of priorities, then demonstrates how a series of actions and policies might impact those priorities. The third part of the sequence gives users a limited number of coins, asking them to put that money towards the actions they support most.

We first developed the platform in partnership with the Des Moines Area MPO (DMAMPO) as part of The Tomorrow Plan, a regional plan for sustainable development in the Central Iowa region. The original game, named DesignMyDSM, can be played at designmydsm.thetomorrowplan.com. The study region included 480,000 residents, 17 cities, approximately 540 square miles, and parts of four counties—requiring an outreach strategy that went beyond in-person open houses and workshops. DesignMyDSM captured over 1000 unique users in the region, and was especially effective in the under-40 demographics who typically would not have participated in a traditional community engagement process.

CrowdGauge is entirely open-source and available under the permissive MIT license. Currently, Sasaki is preparing to apply the CrowdGauge platform to the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium Initiative (NEOSCC) in spring 2013, and Denver-based PlaceMatters is beta testing the software for use on other HUD-funded regional planning projects.

As web-based technologies grow in both functionality and beauty, planners have the opportunity to create new places for people to enjoy expressing ideas, solving problems, and realizing goals. Most importantly for planners, web technologies offer the opportunity to help ask interesting questions and confront tradeoffs. Visual design, information architecture, and usability are increasingly important to match the strength of our technical muscle with the complexity of the human experience—which means designing with clarity and user experience in mind.

In the spirit of open source, we are pleased to share this front-end tool with the planning community. We are excited to see the clever applications and brilliant new iterations we will all build next.

 

Credits for information and photo/graphics: 
Sarah Madden, Sasaki
smadden@sasaki.com
crowdgauge.org
designmydsm.thetomorrowplan.com

 

Interested in looking at how we currently are using land in Northeast Ohio?

March 26, 2013 in Planning and Zoning, Tool

As part of the Vibrant NEO 2040 initiative, NEOSCC has completed the first-ever existing land use map for the 12-county region. This parcel-based map was built on detailed real estate information provided by the region’s 12 County Auditors and County Fiscal Officers. This map can be scaled to the size of individual communities and counties and can be filtered to show in clear detail the location specific land uses, such as industrial, commercial and park land.  Because it is based on current real estate data, this map provides a real-time picture of vacant urbanized land throughout the region.

Zoning Map

NEOSCC has also created a parcel-based zoning map for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region from the most current information supplied by each of the 393 jurisdictions in the region. This map can be scaled to the size of individual communities and counties and can be filtered to show in clear detail the location of specific zoning classifications, such as residential, industrial, commercial, and agriculture.  The GIS data behind the maps is included by county and each file contains the local zoning, local land use, NEOSCC zoning and NEOSCC land use codes.

To download pdf’s of these two maps visit our Tools and Resources page.