On October 24th, regional business, development, community, government, environmental, academic and military leaders gathered at the Jones County Civic Center for EnvisionEAST-2050, an Urban Land Institute (ULI) Reality Check event. The 333 participants, drawn from the nine-county PlanIt EAST region, were assisted by 127 volunteer facilitators, scribes, analysts and other volunteers.
There were 31 different tables and each group envisioned where future growth should go: population, jobs, green space and the transportation infrastructure to connect them. Using LEGO bricks and yarn to represent jobs, housing, roads, railroad, mass transit, and preservation areas on a large map of the PlanIt EAST region, participants were tasked with determining where a million more people might live and work in the year 2050.
Preliminary results of the exercise were compiled during the lunch hour and presented to the participants in the afternoon. There was a strong consensus among all the tables that the most important guiding principle for the future of the region was to protect/promote the region’s economic drivers – agriculture, the military and tourism.
Many tables had combination development patterns but the alternative scenarios generally fell into four categories:
- Corridor Focus with new growth located along the existing and planned transportation corridors
- Multiple Town Centers with growth focused on existing cities, towns and new locations. Tables focused growth in various locations
- Dispersed Growth with low density development along roadways both inside and outside existing urban areas
- Compact Urban Development with most growth in existing urban areas, particularly the cities This pattern is also characterized by mixed use development, infill and redevelopment
More detailed analysis of the various table scenarios and their impacts on land used, impacts to wetlands, farms, forests and military training routes is underway. The results will be compiled into a final report to be published on the PlanIt EAST website. The report will also be shared with the region’s local governments.
ULI’s Reality Check is not a new concept. Since 2005, twelve regions including Tampa Bay, Washington DC, the Uplands Region of South Carolina, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham, Jacksonville Florida, Hampton Roads and the state of Maryland, have staged Reality Checks.
- PlanItEAST and EnvisionEAST-2050 archives at www.PlanItEAST.org
- Sub-Regional EnvisionEAST-2050 events are being scheduled for 2013.
- Presentations to community groups.
EnvisionEAST-2050 Steering Committee
J. Mac Daughety
Dr. Lawrence Rouse
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