A background in urban planning, environmental studies, and sociology informs Geneva’s research and writing in both academic and professional settings. She writes for EngagingCities as well as other publications, develops documents, and researches emerging engagement strategies. She holds a combined Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Environmental Studies from Whitman College and is an Urban and Regional Planning Master’s degree candidate at the University of Colorado Denver, where her focuses include urban design and environmental planning.
In an arena historically dominated by city hall meetings, how can planners engage the imagination of the public and capture unique perspectives? Metroplan, central Arkansas's Council of Local Governments and Metropolitan Planning Organization, has recognized the necessity of including as many voices as possible in crafting a new transportation plan. The Imagine Central Arkansas project (ICA) gathers input from residents of a four-county region about a range of transportation-related issues that the region will face over the next thirty years. Imagine Central Arkansas showcases a variety of interactive participation methods that can be adopted in comprehensive plan-making.
Turning streams of data--demographic information, population projections, number etc.--into meaningful and easily visualized information can be challenging and time consuming for planners. Likewise, figuring out land use and population projections as well as economic and social conditions can be maddeningly difficult. Urban planners and designers can greatly benefit from three types of data visualization that have emerged over the past few years.
Urban planners can often find it difficult to assess the impact of sprawl in their municipalities. Calculating future infrastructure needs and the various fiscal impacts of different land use decisions can be challenging and time consuming. Enter New Hampshire’s new Cost of Sprawl tool (www.costofsprawl.org). The New Hampshire Cost of Sprawl (NHCOS) is an internet-based model to examine the impact of land uses and sprawl on municipalities in New Hampshire and allows planners to get a sense of the fiscal impact of certain land use patterns on municipalities. Created under the auspices of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NHOEP) and developed by RKG Associates, Placeways, and Urban Interactive Studio, this tool is geared toward town planners in New Hampshire.
Mobile technology is powerful; literally everyone seems to own a cell phone these days. When used in public settings, it has the potential to involve citizens in various stages of planning processes. A few projects have used mobile tools to help enfold citizens into community planning at the pedestrian level.
In 2005, passersby in the Albanian city of Tirana noticed something unusual: millions of white Lego blocks gracing neatly-arranged tables on a busy street. Everybody was fascinated with the unassuming white blocks. Parents with young children, elderly residents, teenagers, and every demographic imaginable intently built all sorts of structures from buildings to bridges and everything in between.
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