It is essential that there be a close partnership with a "learing/design"
center. This would become a sort of "new town hall" -- a physical place
that can demonstrate the principles of sustainable development, convene the process,
and provide institutional memory. The centers would support the sustainable development
process by providing a meeting place, a source for information and technical assistance
and access to design and decision support tools like geographic information systems
and planning simulation and indicators software. Creation of Community Design Center
will be enhanced by forming partnership will seek local, regional, and national
entities who share our vision and who are interested in collaborating with resources
2. Identify Assets of the Community
Often local government led efforts often start with a "needs assessments".
Funding priorities are then based on the identified "needs". A better
way is to create coherent strategies around a communities assets. Needs based planning
leads to increased dependency and not development.
So called "poor" communities often have significant assets. These include
the skills of residents, public transportation, land available for assembly, undervalued
market potential, home ownership, job access, rail freight, and rights-of-way, a
sense of place, knowledge of the community, and location efficiency.
There must be an effort to pull together a comprehensive "inventory" of
community assets. A good sustainable development planning effort requires an understanding
about "what's here now and how does that work". The Collaborative program's
first task is gathering information and data about the present state of a community
in four system layers - natural, built, economic and social. Computer mapping tools
(GIS) are used to help people better see and understand the data. Inventory efforts
can be done, in part, through close partnerships with regional planning agencies
and universities but the central data warehouse is always readily available to the
Collaboration's management in an easily usable form. This database will have a Geographic
Information System (GIS) interface showing the current and potential land uses.
GIS mapping of the economic and business layout of the area. GIS permits the spatial
mapping of a wide variety of data including Employment statistics, land use patterns,
zoning, tax assessments, eligibility for Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Zone incentives,
properties and space available for acquisition or rent. Land Use Database: The Collaboration
will create a data base of key properties, with as much information about them as
can be identified from the public record. The database will include information
Water and sewer access
other information which would influence development decisions
3. Next, Vision the a Future
Successful collaborative planning efforts must start with a visioning process. Stakeholders
must first envision the future that they want and then build that vision project
First, identify the broad values to be achieved. Typically a community will be envisioned
as economically and socially viable places to work and live where there is stable,
affordable housing, a continuum of care of assistance to homeless families and individuals,
safe streets and public spaces, access to intermodal transportation systems, provision
of quality education, opportunities for people to find good jobs and employers to
find good workers, and the renewal of "civic culture" and public responsibility.
The goal is to transform the community from a fragmented set of residential, commercial,
and industrial sites with a reputation as being dangerous and undesirable into a
cohesive neighborhood conscious of its tangible and intangible assets and directing
The visioning and planning process will determine what the community wants to achieve,
supported by an information system that will identify measures of success and reports
back to the community periodically on progress to date. Visioning and planning needs
to engage large numbers of people in the community in a process that breaks out
of "taken-for-granted" mind sets and defines a new and better future.
This type of planning assumes that a comprehensive sustainable development strategy
will identify efficiencies and synergies that will make large-scale development
less expensive and more feasible than small scale, incremental improvements. Information
is the feedback loop that tells the community whether it is achieving the goals
outlined in the Plan. Feedback of this sort requires that the community first come
to consensus on its goals and priorities; then those goals and priorities have to
be translated into measurable objectives. Once this has been accomplished, it is
then possible periodically to issue a scorecard on the redevelopment process. How
are we doing? Are we on track? Do we need to adjust our plans to adapt to changing
The goals identified in visioning process and incorporated into the Redevelopment
Plan and turned into a scorecard or "instrument panel" that will permit
every community resident to track the project's progress. Periodic reporting on
these progress indicators will enhance the ability of community residents to participate
in the development process.
4. Next, Create the Sustainable Development Plan:
Strategy to Achieve the Vision - Exploit Community Assets - Harness Market Forces. The visioning process will result in a Sustainable Development Plan that will integrate all of the elements - from land use to green infrastructure to jobs - into a coherent plan, with projections of capital and organizational requirements. Components include:
Infrastructure Upgrade Strategy: An analysis needs to done of the current
status of the Community's infrastructure. Many of Miami-Dade County's low income
neighborhoods are serviced by septic systems, inadequate sanitary sewers, and inadequate
stormwater drainage. Inadequate infrastructure is an major impediment to housing,
commercial, and industrial development. This lack is an opportunity to create new
lower cost, appropriately-scaled infrastructure which works with, rather than against
the environment, and provides other benefits, such as open space and trees. Green
infrastructure can also include: micro climate cooling to reduce energy costs and
co2; add to the definition of the neighborhood edge; improve value of property;
reduce impacts of hurricanes and flooding; recharge potable water supply; and provide
neighborhood centers etc.
Land Assembly Strategy: A strategy will need to be devised to enable the
Collaboration to proactively engage in a land assembly effort. Parcels will have
to be acquired and combined in order to facilitate the construction of the new housing,
retail, and industrial facilities
Commercial Development: The Sustainable Development Plan will provide direction
for the commercial revitalization of the community. It will identify business and
job opportunities and will involve new construction, application of new technologies,
expansion of retail opportunities, etc. This process itself will be carried out
in a way that it optimizes the job and economic benefits for residents.
Jobs Strategy Development: Urban decay has resulted in a lack of new investment
and new jobs. There are not enough good jobs for residents. Welfare reform has compounded
the problem by increasing the competition for the already inadequate number of jobs
available. The vast majority of new jobs are being created far away in the distant
suburban areas to the west. The development of the jobs strategy will be closely
linked to the visioning process and the business development strategy. The Strategy
will be based on information gather in the following studies
Employment Analysis: an analysis of current employment by category, unemployment,
skills, potential to develop existing micro- businesses.
Analysis of job creation potential: Employment in construction, retail, new
business development, and other additions to the neighborhood.
Housing Strategy Development: Housing development should done in partnership
between the private sector (both nonprofit and for profit) and the public sector.
All development will be compatible with the broader overall "vision" of
the Collaboration's Sustainable Development Strategy, To be successful the Collaboration's
housing strategy must address specific barriers that inhibit market driven housing
development activities. The goal is to give developers access to developable parcels
with clear title and adequate infrastructure.
Business Strategy Development: The goal of the any such strategy will be
to work with the owners of existing commercial and industrial business to help them
to work cooperatively to find new ways to become more profitable. A further goal
is to institute a program to market available industrial and warehouse sites in
the community to businesses interested in taking advantage of the community's unique
opportunities. New businesses, of course, mean new jobs. The marketing effort will
be aided by the creation of two critical information data bases. The Land Assembly
Database can be used to help identify properties in the District suitable for sale
or rent to businesses moving into the District or expanding existing operations.
Human Services: A good smart growth comprehesive community planning effort
will need strong schools, health centers and social service institutions. The community
collaboration structure will encourage and support the development of a comprehensive
strategic planning process around education and human services to complement the
jobs and economic development focus of the core project. This effort will explore
the current and potential connections between human services delivery and economic
development. Schools and health centers represent a significant component of the
community economy; they hire staff and purchase goods and services. Leaders of this
strategic planning process are proposed to come from the Community Advisory Committee.
The accomplish these goals the following actions will be taken
Inventory the Organizations and Institutions in Target Area: This inventory
will present a comprehensive picture of the social networks that hold this community
together and the many and varied routes by which residents can become engaged in
Assess the Availability and Quality of Schools, Health, and Human Services:
This assessment will determine where community residents receive their education,
health services and other human services, what services are unavailable, and how
community residents judge the quality of these services.
Develop a Schools, Health, and Human Services Strategy: Based the information
from Actions 29 and 30, a schools, health, and human services strategy will be developed
which will be incorporated into the Sustainable Development Plan.
Transportation: Intra-community Mobility Strategy. The challenge is intra-community
mobility. Some residents, particularly seniors and youth, cannot drive, so such
a community-centered transportation strategy is essential. For others, efficient
intra-community mobility could make the difference in being able to live a full
life without owning a car. The Collaborative project management will inventory existing
intra-community transportation assets and identify barriers to mobility; then explore
and evaluate a range of options to enhance intra-community mobility. There are at
least three elements of a community mobility strategy:
Sidewalks: Good quality sidewalks throughout the community,
Strong pedestrian linkages: A community design which encourages and enhances pedestrian access to jobs and amenities, and
Jitneys: An intra-community transportation system that links with public
transit, shopping, etc.
Culture and Tourism: Culture is both a value in itself, as an expression
of the identity and aspirations of community residents, and a "destination"
for people outside the community, including potentially tourists. What are the existing
cultural assets in the target area? How can the Sustainable Development Strategy
enhance their stability and outreach? To answer these questions the project management
team will develop a cultural and tourism strategy. As part of this task the project
management team will inventory existing cultural institutions and resources in the
community and surrounding area. They will explore a range of options for strengthening
the cultural life of the community.