Achieve Greater Livability through
Land Use and Housing
Wise local decisions about land use and housing make our communities, and our region as a whole, more livable for residents. When local decision makers consider the broader implications of their choices, we all benefit.
GO TO 2040 supports investment in existing communities to create opportunities for more compact, walkable, and mixed-use development, with a range of housing options. For example, growth that emphasizes access to transit and other transportation alternatives can reduce our reliance on cars, helping to reduce congestion and transportation costs for everyone.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The GO TO 2040 plan strives to balance the need for local autonomy and regional cooperation. It provides principles that municipalities and counties can apply when they decide how and where development should happen or which infrastructure investments to make in their communities. To support more compact development and redevelopment, the plan targets investment in existing communities, but even development in new areas can and should support livability.
Our region draws strength from the diversity of its communities. While development should fit the local context, community choices about land use and housing should also emphasize principles that improve livability, such as:
- Support for transit, walking, and bicycling
- A range of housing options
- Environmental protection
- Access to green space
- Design, aesthetics, and local historic character
The implementation of these principles will vary across our region's unique communities, each of which will have its own approach to compact development. For example, methods of providing a range of housing options must be carefully tailored to meet a particular community's needs.
Local Planning as a High Priority
Achieving livability will take proactive planning by local governments that recognize the potential regional impacts of even seemingly small local decisions. The public sector cannot create a market for redevelopment where none exists, but it can invest in infrastructure and institute regulatory changes to make redevelopment more viable.
One of GO TO 2040's highest priorities is to promote comprehensive planning in communities across our seven counties—including the development of comprehensive plans, consistent ordinances and regulations, and trained decision makers. The plan recommends supporting local planning through grant programs, infrastructure investments to implement plans, technical assistance, and collaboration between municipalities on shared priorities.
Promote Land Use that
Local land use decisions should focus on the interrelationship of transportation, land use, and housing, with an emphasis on development patterns that support the use of public transit and access to jobs. Improving public transit is an important element of the plan, and supportive land use planning is needed to make transit work well.
Within existing municipal boundaries, there are more than 100,000 acres of vacant or under-used land. GO TO 2040 promotes the redevelopment of this land with a mix of residential and non-residential uses, accommodating half of the region's growth — about 1.2 million people.
Provide Grants and Technical Assistance
Funding from several existing sources should be targeted to support local planning by communities, with particular emphasis on updating ordinances and other development regulations and linking transportation, land use, and housing. cmap and its partners should offer technical assistance — such as researching regulatory mechanisms or helping to identify appropriate housing strategies — to communities that seek to implement principles of livability.
Fund Infrastructure for Local Planning
A new, dedicated funding source should be created
for infrastructure investments that help implement
local plans. This funding should be directed to projects
that spring from the recommendations of local
comprehensive planning efforts. Current funding
sources should be redirected for this purpose in the
short term, and new programs should be established
in the long term.
Support Cooperation between Communities
Communities should collaborate with one another to build on lessons learned and to develop solutions for common problems, such as housing, transportation, economic development, water, or other issues. Counties and Councils of Government (COGs) should play a significant role in encouraging and facilitating collaboration between municipalities.