Tyler Kent, Valparaiso Planning Director, and Jamie Greene, AIA, FAICP, Principal at Planning Next, presented at the American Planning Association’s National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on April 2-5, 2016. The session, titled Unintimidated: Small Towns, Big Results, highlights the award winning planning effort behind ValpoNEXT and One City, One Vision Strategic Plan (Anniston, Alabama). The work behind these plans certainly does not end when the document is printed.
The panelists discussed how small communities can tackle great odds to manage outstanding planning processes through strong leadership, a focus on quality of place, and innovative approaches to engagement that generate emotional attachment. The presentation described how the City of Valparaiso is confronted with obstacles and challenges, communities can go with the trends and accept the status quo or take action to inspire change. The choice to be proactive has led to outstanding planning processes, surpassing expectations and resulting in significant implementation and high returns on investment.
Tyler and Jamie spoke to several hundred fellow planners about the ValpoNEXT process which included a nurturing and strong leadership to facilitate a bold vision, emphasis on creating quality of place to attract investment, and public emotional attachment through innovative approaches to public engagement. The City persevered and built momentum throughout the process, challenging the perceived limits of what smaller communities can do to take charge of their futures.