Articulate a vision for how the state should grow
To assure that citizens are given a voice in how their state grows and develops, state officials should launch a visioning process to help citizens articulate what they want their state to look like in the future. Successful implementation of smarter growth practices and policies requires a place-based vision and broad public support. Without such a vision, it is difficult for a state to achieve significant results despite strong state leadership, investment, incentives, and partnerships. A vision can help create consensus and build new partnerships in support of a governor's growth agenda. The creation of such a vision may be what enables a state to move beyond incremental improvements to growth and development toward a change in the very nature of growth.
The state government should partner with the non-profit and private sectors to conduct a statewide visioning process, or a visioning process concentrated on key regional or metropolitan centers in the state. The administration should reach out to private sector partners from the business, education, and non-profit sectors and encourage them to initiate or participate in a visioning process. These interests can bring capital and visibility to a visioning effort. Their involvement also can help counter concerns that state involvement in community visioning threatens local control of land use decisions. Organizing these business and community interests around a visioning effort can lead the creation of a permanent non-governmental entity or alliance of organizations that can coordinate the continued advocacy regarding development in the state or key regions within the state.
Alternatively, the state's transportation or planning department could provide grants to metropolitan planning organizations or other regional planning organizations in the state to fund regional visioning efforts. Such a program could engage regional planning entities, provide flexibility in addressing regional variations, and potentially lead to the creation of a number of models that could be disseminated among regions in the state.
However it is done, the visioning effort should incorporate a discussion of how the vision is to be implemented to achieve a set of specific, measurable goals.
- Envision Utah
State business leaders who felt that protecting Utah's high quality of life required coordinated development and implementation strategies initiated the Envision Utah effort. The Quality Growth Strategy was developed in 1999, following two years of citizen involvement and education. Getting local communities to focus on implementation has been important to Envision Utah's success. The state provided technical support to the effort. Envision Utah has been instrumental in changing the overall understanding and readiness of the private sector as well as public agencies to embrace quality growth concepts. Envision Utah continues to educate various municipalities and communities while the Wasatch Front Regional Council, a voluntarily formed regional association of five counties and their municipalities, has been promoting the quality growth principles to local municipalities for incorporation into their comprehensive and transportation plans.
— Envision Utah
- The California Blueprint Planning Program
Administered by the California Department of Transportation, the California Blueprint Planning Program has provided approximately $15 million in federal transportation funds to metropolitan planning organizations over two years as seed money for regional visioning efforts since 2005. Grant recipients were required to contribute at least 20 percent match from non-federal funds. This is a competitive grant program that seeks to support efforts by metropolitan planning organizations to create a consensus among local planning agencies and stakeholders on a preferred growth scenario for the next twenty years.
— The California Blueprint Planning Program
- The Urban Land Institute's Reality Check
District councils of the Urban Land Institute have joined forces with other partners in various metropolitan regions around the country, such as Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; Fredericksburg, Virginia; and four separate regions in Maryland to conduct growth visioning exercises that generally go under the title of "Reality Check." Using table-top regional maps and blocks or chips to represent projected growth in housing and jobs, a cross section of citizens are asked to determine where the growth projected to come to their region over the coming decades should be located. The exercises have been valuable in raising public awareness of the growth pressures and choices facing a region.
— Urban Land Institute Reality Check Guide
— Maryland Reality Check
- Louisiana Speaks
The Louisiana Recovery Authority, a state agency, adopted the Louisiana Speaks Recovery Plan in 2007. This plan was the culmination of an 18-month public process in which more than 27,000 residents of the state articulated a post-hurricane development vision for Southern Louisiana. The state has initiated implementation of many key components of the plan, including the development of model smart growth codes for local governments, planning for a passenger rail system between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and an effort to create a new State Office of Planning that can coordinate the roles and funding of state, regional, and local agencies and jurisdictions.
— Louisiana Speaks