It has taken longer than anticipated but we have finally completed the report from last month’s workshop. The main objective of the workshop was to finalize priorities for the project.
The top priority identified by the participants was communication. Participants agreed that it is imperative that all stakeholders be engaged in the use and application of the PlanYourPlace tools. By using the PlanYourPlace tools, users should learn about abstract planning concepts, how they are related, and what the implications of different planning approaches are. The tools should present alternatives to current practise, and help users to understand and visualize potential changes. The tool should ultimately inform better planning, development, and infrastructure decisions. The second tier of priorities focused on tool functionality and usability. The tools should ask questions about community issues, collect users opinions, and integrate robust models that address PlanIt Calgary and community objectives. The third set of priorities focused on project management, communication and sustainment issues. To this end we have included a number of appendices to this report, namely the project charter, the project organizational chart, and a high level timeline that identifies the major milestones. With regard to communication we are developing a web site at http://www.planyourplace.ca which will provide the public with access to all project publications. We have started a project blog at http://www.planyourplace.ca/pypblog where we will communicate our progress on an informal basis. We have also set up a twitter account,twitter.com/#planyourplace, where we will tweet general information relevant to the issues that we are encountering with the PlanYourPlace project.
The workshop concluded with the grouping of priorities with respect to each functional team. The planning team will develop approximately four topics that will investigate: ways to increase density; how to transition from single use to mixed use land use zones; how to redevelop specific land uses to address contemporary needs and objectives e.g. service station corners, strip malls, etc; and what options are available for modification of existing townscape types. Given that the success of planning sustainable communities relies on how policies and design elements affect peoples’ travel choices and behaviour, the transportation group will focus on developing analytical tools for evaluating the impacts of alternative transportation and land use policies on travel behaviour to aid in decision support for better planning of sustainable communities. The geomatics group will focus on the cyberinfrastructure, sketch tools, participation tools and methods, and crowd source web environment.