Brian Cole’s Building Communities Planning Process Now Being Used for Rural Regional Sustainability Planning

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Brian Cole’s Building Communities economic development strategic planning approach provides a new, objective, comprehensive , and expeditious way for cities and counties to create jobs and improve their local quality of life. In 2011, Building Communities has broadened its approach, and is now developing conducting regional sustainability planning for cities, towns, and tribes in Northeast Arizona.

Regional sustainability planning should result in activities that diversify the economy, provide transportation choices, and offer affordable housing opportunities.

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, conventional planning and development decisions that result from inadequate coordination between housing and transportation entities has contributed to a number of societal ills, including race and income inequality, the decentralization of jobs, and inaccessibility to quality affordable housing. The spatial mismatch between housing and jobs—exacerbated by poor transportation planning—has resulted in the reliance on the automobile, translating to longer commutes and traffic congestion.

Building Communities, Inc., an economic development strategic planning company focusing on rural regions and communities, has developed a process to help communities and tribes to address this problem by proactively addressing economic, human, and environmental planning needs focused upon sustainability. The process is called regional sustainability planning.

The impact on the economic well being of American families due to poor planning is significant. According to numerous studies, the average American family now spends 34 percent of its total household income on housing-related expenses, and another 19 percent on transportation.

The negative externalities on society that result from fragmented, uncoordinated decisions raise additional concerns about public health, as evidence by noted studies that point to a number of health problems, such as asthma and other chronic illnesses that are caused by poor air and water quality.

Some studies suggest that sprawling patterns of development have contributed to the obesity epidemic in America and in other countries, which often leads to adult-onset diabetes, hypertension, among other diseases.

To address these challenges, communities—urban, suburban, and rural—are adopting strategies to:

  •     improve land use planning and growth management practices
  •     develop better, healthier, more sustainable community design standards that improve the built environment and conserve valuable land and natural resources
  •     lure private investments that generate jobs
  •     remove the barriers to affordable housing
  •     promote diverse, quality neighborhoods that are accessible to transit and other community amenities

According to economic development expert Brian Cole, sound economic development planning leads to broader sustainability planning related to transit, housing, livability, and the environment. Regional sustainability planning should result in activities that diversify the economy, provide transportation choices, and offer affordable housing opportunities.

The Livability Principles advanced by the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities form the foundation for regional sustainability planning.

Building Communities has augmented its 25-strategy methodology with a 26th Strategy, Sustainability-Focused Development, complete with all of the key success factors and essential action steps necessary to develop the Regional Sustainability Plan.

About Building Communities: Building Communities is an economic development strategic planning company assisting communities throughout the United States to envision and enact their future through unique, proprietary methods and software that expedites the ability of communities to select strategies that they can succeed with to create jobs and improve their overall quality of life. President, Author, and community and economic development expert Brian Cole brings 25 years of experience in planning and implementing successful projects, initiatives, and strategies. Find out more at the Building Communities website

About Brian Cole: Brian Cole has 25 years of experience in planning and implementing economic development projects, initiatives, and strategies as a local and state official, county commissioner, and as a private sector consultant and author.


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