Rob Lane (LF ’09) is eager to share his recent efforts to place community planning into the hands of those who actually use urban spaces. He has just launched the Better Town Toolkit, a web-based community planning resource in the form of a design manual meant for citizen planners as well as for professionals, who can use it for training purposes.
This project actually dates to my Loeb year. Part of that year I spent studying the role of media in community based planning. At the time I was looking at the way digital planning support systems were being used as a supplement to the kind of real time, by-hand design work that has always been part of my process. This motivated me to take the paper version of this design manual that I had been working on and turn it into a web site. It also attempts to bridge the divide between design and planning by linking place-based strategies, design details and planners’ implementation tools.
It is being used as a reference by several constituencies. County Governments, especially in the Hudson Valley, are making part of their project referral process, sending project applicants to it for the kinds of best practices they expect to see incorporated. NGOs are using it to provide resources to their members and use as an advocacy tool, and institutions like the PACE University Land Use Law Center, where I also teach, are using it as part of their training for local officials and citizen planners.
The Guide is substantive and easy to use. Please spread it around!
Better Town Toolkit