Vote for the Steadman People's Choice Award for Best Feature Article Published in 2017

Vote for the Steadman People's Choice Award for Best Feature Article Published in 2017

Over the course of 2017, we’ve had outstanding articles that bring real-world planning issues in the West to your doorstep. While we think all of our material is noteworthy, there are those feature articles that stand out and deserve a second read. Please vote for your favorite feature article that was published in 2017. The voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on July 20.

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Top 5 creative efforts to drive meaningful connections

Top 5 creative efforts to drive meaningful connections

The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada  has initiated several novel and creative outreach efforts to obtain community input and promote the RTC’s various messages and plans in memorable and engaging ways. In a city as exciting and energetic as Las Vegas, competing for the public’s time and attention to secure input on mobility, transit and transportation is no small feat. So thinking outside the box is not just important, it’s critical. by Angela Castro, Senior Director Government Affairs, Media Relations & Marketing of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada

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Planning a Neighborhood Square

Planning a Neighborhood Square

Unlike a city’s main square that, from time to time, brings together representatives from all over the city for major festivals, concerts, and special events, a neighborhood square has certain unique social functions: it is frequented every day of the year by those who live in the neighborhood; it helps to strengthen social networks; and it builds community. Designing a neighborhood square to fulfill these social functions is not so simple. One of the biggest challenges is to get the proportions of the square right. by Dr. Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

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Scenario Planning to Evaluate Cost and Revenue Implication of Different Growth Patterns, Billings, Montana

Scenario Planning to Evaluate Cost and Revenue Implication of Different Growth Patterns, Billings, Montana

A Growth Policy is inherently comprehensive and should support orderly growth.  Neither of these objectives, however, considered the fiscal implications of growth and what pattern of growth is most cost-effective.  To accomplish this, the City of Billings planners employed scenario planning to evaluate the cost and revenue effect of different residential growth patterns. by Candis Millar, AICP

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Revitalizing the Ramshackle: INDentrification via Placemaking

Revitalizing the Ramshackle: INDentrification via Placemaking

The gentrification of industrial areas, which could be considered “INDentrification,” has created an opportunity for reclaiming and repurposing the public realm of streets and rail corridors as pedestrian thoroughfares.  The transformation of contaminated buildings through brownfield revitalization is driving the installation of civic promenades in many communities, which is helping to foster placemaking benefits in forgotten remnants of cities. by Matt Ashby, AICP CUD

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Mining Cell Phone Data to Create a Multimodal Transportation Plan for Lake Tahoe

Mining Cell Phone Data to Create a Multimodal Transportation Plan for Lake Tahoe

To create the Linking Tahoe: Multimodal Transportation Management Plan on behalf of the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD), Stantec analyzed cell phone data from an enormously large geographic area. We gained unprecedented insights into the magnitude of visitors and their travel patterns.  This article highlights a few of our findings and some lessons learned.  Cell phone data enabled us to develop an innovative transportation management plan using the newest information technology and sophisticated ArcGIS tools to visualize the results. by Cynthia J. Albright, AICP-CUD, GISP

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Grand Forks pilots parklets from concept to implementation

Grand Forks pilots parklets from concept to implementation

Recently, Grand Forks’ Planning and Community Development Department began using a small installation that has been popping up in cities all over the world - the parklet. We see this as another way to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians and enhance downtown life. Focusing on people through human-scale design ensures that cities really are great places to visit, live, work, and play. by Stephanie Erickson

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Planning for Schools and Community

School location decisions impact so much more than education. Where we place schools affects health, transportation, safety, social equity, and community finances for decades, if not centuries to come.  School location influences where we build infrastructure and housing, as well as a myriad of other cascading decisions around growth. If your community is considering any change in school facilities, decision makers should be encouraged to begin the journey down the road to collaboration. by Kathleen Aragon

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Dark Skies A Sign of The Times

Dark Skies A Sign of The Times

The residents in and around the City of Sierra Vista, Arizona value their dark skies and the ability to observe celestial phenomena, so much so that this area has attracted numerous amateur astronomers from all over the country. When a local business owner requested a code amendment to allow Electronic Message Center (EMC) signs, which had been prohibited, the city created a sign task force to develop Sign and Outdoor Light Control amendments. Carefully crafted ordinances go a long way to protecting this important regional asset. by Jeff Pregler, AICP

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Bismarck Takes on Infill Challenge

Bismarck Takes on Infill Challenge

As the City of Bismarck looks to manage orderly, outward expansion, a key strategy is to guide some city growth inward.  Recently, the city adopted an Infill and Redevelopment Plan in its continuing effort to guide development within the existing footprint of the city, a key growth strategy advocated by Mayor Mike Seminary in his “footprint initiative.” The purpose of the plan is to facilitate high-quality infill and redevelopment that enhances quality of life, economic vitality, and fiscal responsibility.  by Will Hutchings

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Williston overhauls sign regulations

Williston overhauls sign regulations

The City of Williston, North Dakota needed a larger overhaul of sign regulations that truly took into account the wide variety of development types occurring in Williston as well as modernizing regulations. Education was a huge component of the ordinance effort. In the end, the city ended up with an ordinance that allows for more permanent signage for most properties, allows for more temporary signage, creates allowances for non-residential residentially zoned properties such as churches, creates flexibility for large commercial and campus-style properties, and represents and accommodates the needs of stakeholders. by Rachel Laqua

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Main Street Initiative well underway in North Dakota

Main Street Initiative well underway in North Dakota

The details of North Dakota’s newly elected Governor Doug Burgum's Main Street Initiative are still in process. However, it has become clear that the initiative is, in many ways, about the conversation itself, about elevating the issues of fiscally-responsible infrastructure, workforce development in a contemporary economy, and the creation of vibrant communities. In this respect, the Main Street Initiative is already well underway in North Dakota. by Daniel Nairn, AICP

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PLANNING FOR HAZARDS: LAND USE SOLUTIONS FOR COLORADO

PLANNING FOR HAZARDS: LAND USE SOLUTIONS FOR COLORADO

Tailored to land use planners, Planning for Hazards: Land Use Solutions for Colorado provides detailed information about assessing a community’s risk level to hazards and describes how to implement numerous land use planning tools and strategies in a manner that reduces risk. While the guide’s examples and data sources are largely Colorado-specific, the description of tools and sample land use code language provide a good starting point for any municipality or county in the West or across the country. by Logan Sand, Recovery and Resilience Planner, Colorado Department of Local Affairs

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Code Compliance: Difficulties and Ideas for Small Towns

Code Compliance: Difficulties and Ideas for Small Towns

Small towns face enormous hurdles in enforcing code. This article highlights the importance of small towns having strategies that work for their unique situation.  Although this article is directed to small-town leaders, the principles inherent in code enforcement strategies can benefit leaders, planners, and code enforcement officers in any community. by Kyle Slaughter

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ACHIEVING TARGETED, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE AREA SECTOR ANALYSIS PROCESS (ASAP)

ACHIEVING TARGETED, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE AREA SECTOR ANALYSIS PROCESS (ASAP)

There is much that communities can do to address their economies and to achieve the goals described above.  Specifically, many rural communities have initiated or strengthened their economic development activities through a strategic planning process. To assist communities to achieve targeted, sustainable economic development, a team of community development specialists from throughout the Western United States created the Area Sector Analysis Process (ASAP) as a strategic planning process. by Dr. Don E. Albrecht

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DO TINY HOUSES FIT INTO YOUR COMMUNITY?

DO TINY HOUSES FIT INTO YOUR COMMUNITY?

Nothing in the current housing discussion has created the same stir like the tiny house movement and Spearfish, South Dakota has wrestled with trying to understand where this option fits into the menu of choices for housing in the city. The bottom line is that although they are not for everyone, the people who seek the tiny house lifestyle need the same amount of help and assistance to realize their dream as those who are building traditionally constructed homes. by Jayna Watson, AICP

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