A Resource Empowering Your Community to Execute its Strategic Projects
The Research: Sustainable Communities are Healthier and Accelerate Economic Growth
Recent research by the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis found a strong correlation between community walkability and the attraction and retention of an educated workforce in Pennsylvania’s communities. These findings are consistent with what Bruce Katz identified as the changing spatial geography of innovation – one in which walkable communities with multiple modes of transportation are favored by companies in high growth sectors. Positioning Pennsylvania’s communities to attract talent, while providing opportunity for and remaining affordable to long-time residents, will require an intentional strategy that utilizes public private partnerships to improve our communities.
Walkable communities, in addition to being economic engines, promote health and encourage healthy lifestyles. Our work focuses on the role of quality community design in promoting both community health and economic opportunity for all.
The Challenge: Many Communities Have the Necessary Assets to Promote Walkability but Lack Capacity, Technical & Financial Resources
Many of Pennsylvania’s older downtown areas and traditional neighborhoods have access to quality building stock, anchor institutions, and public transit service. The challenge that these areas often have is their lack of access to technical capacity and financial resources to leverage these assets in a coordinated and thoughtful way.
Our Approach: Link a Multi-Disciplinary Team with Local Leadership to Plan & Execute Strategic Projects
The Community Action Team brings together a team of experts — both technical assistance providers and practitioners — to work with local leadership on strategic projects. The Team’s work focuses on the entire process, from community engagement to measuring the results of completed projects. The Team’s composition will depend on the particular needs of each community and the projects the community prioritizes, with relevant technical assistance provided throughout a period of sustained and intensive community engagement.
Our Services: Tailored to the Specific Needs of a Community
· Convene, educate, and facilitate dialogue among community stakeholders on the impact of community design on residents’ health and economic growth.
· Facilitate a community visioning process to develop a vision and strategy to make neighborhoods more walkable. Assist community in prioritizing projects.
· Conduct a community assessment identifying key physical assets and needs.
· Utilize various tools to benchmark existing conditions including a Walkability Inventory and Asset Inventory Matrix.
· Develop a plan to strategically execute the priority projects identified; each plan will include at least one community transportation or strategic public infrastructure project.
· Conduct initial research, feasibility studies, and preliminary cost estimation.
· Evaluate potential sites for redevelopment and create project phasing strategy.
· Identify opportunities to access public-sector grants, loans and tax credits.
Implementation and Development
· Assist community in managing and executing the development process.
· Assist with site control and site preparation tasks.
· Prepare budgets, pro formas and structure financing for projects.
· Assist with the solicitation, evaluation, and selection of private real estate developers, and the structure of resultant public-private partnerships.
· Assist with public program applications as appropriate.
Complete post project data-driven assessment; evaluate data to determine program effectiveness and incorporate lessons learned.
Eligible Project Types:
Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing
Blight Removal Strategies
Community Greenspace - Parks, Playgrounds, Trails
Public Infrastructure / Green Infrastructure
Main Street Development - Office and Retail Space
Multi-Modal Transportation Improvements
Expanded Access to Fresh & Healthy Foods
Shared Transportation & Other Public Services
Historic Preservation & Adaptive Re-Use
Public Art & Artist/Cultural Districts
Neighborhood School Preservation or Re-Use
Inclusionary Land Use & Complete Streets Programs