Chapter 4 Communicating Livability Themes: A Strategic Approach

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1 Chapter 4 Communicating Livability Themes: A Strategic Approach Los Angeles, California Commuter Express Photo Credit: Southern California Association of Governments City of Lauderdale Lakes Welcome Sign Photo Credit: South Florida Regional Planning Council Figure 4.1. One example of a communication model. Communicating the value of livability is as important to the successful implementation of livable communities as planning. As policy officials, planners and builders of the nation s cities, counties and regions, communicating with a variety of interested parties is a cornerstone of practice. As the Literature Review in this report outlined the most popular ways that livability is understood, the communication section includes different ways to communicate these popular livability themes. Chapter Organization This section walks practitioners through the process to create an effective message that supports their livability work and provides an example of how others have communicated these themes. It also provides tips and suggestions for local officials, planners and implementers on ways to reach interested parties on livability. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 36

2 Smart Growth Smart growth is an urban planning strategy that supports livability by targeting and concentrating development and growth in existing communities to preserve open space and natural resources. Smart growth means to develop compact, mixed-use, affordable housing choices that are walkable, bikeable and have an ease of access to transit. Target and concentrate development in existing communities to preserve open space and natural resources Promote city code changes to support smart growth in 4 communities over 1 year. Engage small and local businesses to occupy retail spaces in targeted areas. Promote awareness of businesses along transit corridors and near housing. Elected officials City/county managers Schools/universities Business community/chamber Citizen action groups Minority groups Traffic/transportation professionals/planners Transit agency Developers/homebuilders Environmental community Affordable housing advocates Bicycling community EJ community Housing agencies Photo Credit: Creative Commons Sample Message: My small business needs high foot traffic and customers that I can build a relationship and repeat business with; smart growth gives me the economic opportunity I need to succeed. Successful Example: Connections 2040 Choices and Voices Develop support for smart growth style growth and development patterns. Objective: Promote awareness of the choices the region can make and how it will impact future growth. Audience: community and business groups Strategy: web-based interactive game, neutral colors, real-time dash board updates Figure 4.2. DVRPC Smart Growth Interactive Website. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 37

3 Complete Streets Complete Streets support livability by providing access to safe, reliable and economic mobility options for a wide range of mobility needs and may utilize tactics like adding sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, crosswalks or other features. The ultimate goal of Complete Streets are to make streets safer for all types of users (pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders) regardless of age and ability. Make your streets safer for all types of users. Support expansion of bicycle lanes by X percentage over X years. Integrate intelligent transportation solutions to inform motorists driving decisions. Engage bicycle and pedestrian community to promote helmet use. Elected officials School districts Healthcare sector Traffic/transportation engineers and planners Community Developers Environmental justice community Environmental community Water/sewage Arts Merchant groups Photo Credit: Valerie Hermanson Sample Message: The way people are getting around is changing with walking, biking and transit use growing in popularity. We need to design our streets to better serve all users. Successful Example: New York Department of Transportation s Curbside Haiku Key Qualities: Print-based ad campaign (with web option) Create safer cyclist and Figure 4.3. New York City DOT Curbside Haiku Marketing Promotion pedestrian behavior in line with the NYC bike lane expansions. Objective: Decrease incidents of human and automobile accidents in targeted areas. Audience: drivers, cyclists and pedestrians Strategy: visually appealing, unexpected use of poetry in a public space, uses social media to further conversation National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 38

4 Lifelong Communities Lifelong communities support livability by allowing people to live and remain active in a community throughout their life, regardless of age or income level. Features of lifelong communities include affordable housing, safe and accessible transportation options, and easy access to services. Smart growth, new urbanism, transit-oriented development and complete streets are the most often employed tactics to achieve a lifelong community. Ensure all residents the opportunity to live and remain active in a community throughout their life, regardless of age or income. Connect with five housing developers to promote the goals of the lifelong community in new or infil developments. Educate senior on safe and accessible transportation options. Align city, county or regional services to promote easy access. Elected officials Citizen action groups Healthcare sector Traffic/transportation professionals Minority community Homebuilders /senior services Transit agency Housing agencies Churches Photo Credit: Dan Burden, Walkable & Livable Communities Institute, via AARP Sample Message: It is important to me to live in a community that supports my needs but also my children and my parents alike. Successful Example: Atlanta Regional Commission s Advertising llc/atlanta_magazine-final.pdf Key Qualities: Print-based communication Rent apartments to older individuals Objective: Promote the product as part of a full and active lifestyle Audience: seniors Strategy: uses complementary imagery, ad placement in targeted magazine, clear call to action Figure 4.4. Lifelong Communities Advertising Placement. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 39

5 Safe Routes to School Safe Routes to School (SRTS) support livability by creating more safe transportation options for children to travel to school and support the existing community. Often, these programs promote and encourage walking and biking to school and involve parents, schools and local leaders as primary coordinators for the SRTS effort. Create safe transportation options for children to travel to and from school Promote walking school buses at 10 elementary schools within 1 year. Reach 10% of your city/county/region s mommy bloggers to promote existing SRTS programs. Institute an awards program for area schoolchildren that rewards good safety practice. Schools/universities Parent groups Local elected officials Citizen action groups Healthcare/hospitals Traffic/transportation professionals Media Merchant groups/chamber Environmental Justice Communities Youth Photo Credit: Strategies: Ask how you will connect the audiences you have selected with your objectives. Tactics: Ask what kind of activities can you engage in to execute your strategies. Sample Message: Children should have safe and active ways to get to and from school each day. Successful Example: Safe Routes to School Key Qualities: Print-based communication Increases rates of biking and walking to school among children. Objective: Create awareness of safe commuting options for children. Audience: children and parents Strategy: colorful imagery, simple message, clear call to action Figure 4.5. Safe Routes to School Advertisement National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 40

6 Context Sensitive Solutions Context Sensitive Solutions/Design (CSS/D) support livability by improving existing conditions, but also preserving and enhancing the existing community. It is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach which involves all relevant stakeholders in the process. This approach seeks to develop a transportation facility that preserves the scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental attributes of a community, while maintaining safety and mobility. Improve existing transportation conditions, but also preserve and enhance the existing community. Increase regional beautification projects by 20% over the next two years. Enhance the aesthetic appeal of your community, while maintaining safety and mobility. Engage the local/regional historical society to promote the integration of historic assets into new transportation projects. Elected officials School districts Business community/chamber of commerce Traffic professionals Economic development districts Developers Media Environmental justice communities Photo Credit: Project for Public Spaces Image Collection Watershed and soil/conservation Landowners Technical advisory committee Water/sewer Sample Message: Our citizens increasingly want to live and raise families in places that respect our past and are rich in environmental and cultural opportunities. Context Sensitive Design helps get us there. Successful Example: CSS Champions Promote the adoption of CSS principles in transportation projects nationwide. Objective: Create an awards program to highlight positive examples of CSS implementation and promote the creation of other examples. Audience: cities, counties, transportation professionals Strategy: branded campaign, communicates value proposition clearly and succinctly, uses neutral colors Figure 4.6. CSS Champions Symbol. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 41

7 New Urbanism New Urbanism (NU) supports livability by creating more transportation, housing and job options in communities and neighborhoods. New Urbanism relies on an urban design development pattern to create development patterns that support walking and driving in a compact, mixed-use development. In addition to housing; new urbanist communities include schools, parks, stores and other destinations can be reached by driving, walking, biking or transit. Adopt compact, mixed-use development though the use of urban design and development principles. Educate key audiences on the transportation connections between jobs and housing. Connect top 5 employers in the city/county/ region on employee transit benefits. Work with housing developers to promote home options in new urbanist developments. School districts Business community/chamber/merchant groups Traffic/transportation professionals Transit agency Bicycling community Environmental justice community Developers Lenders Photo Credit: Housing agencies Civic organizations Environment (sewer and water) Land conservancies Sample Message: I want to live in a place with a lot of outdoor options that I can easily walk or drive to and aren t far from my house. Successful Example: Mueller Website Increase occupancy in Mueller s new urbanist commercial centers. Objective: Create awareness of the available commercial properties Audience: companies who identify these qualities as beneficial for their company Strategy: visuals support target new urbanist audience, text stresses total package appeal, clear call to actions Figure 4.7. Mueller New Urbanism Website Advertisement. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 42

8 Transit-Oriented Development Transit-oriented developments (TODs) support livability through increased transportation options and enhanced economic development opportunities for communities. TODs exist in more densely developed residential and commercial centers with access to affordable transportation options such as rail, bus or other choices. Traditionally, TODs have been created on a pedestrian scale, promoted transit use, walking and biking. Increase transportation options and enhance economic development opportunities for communities. Conduct an information campaign about the ease and reliability of your targeted transit system. Engage community transit activists to identify more desirable and efficient routes for transit expansion or to identify efficiency. Connect with targeted local merchants to identify advertising opportunities along key transit lines. Schools/universities Business community Healthcare/hospitals Chamber/merchant groups Traffic/transportation professionals Transit agency Minority community Environmental Justice Home builders Civic organizations Land conservancies Photo Credit: Creative Commons Sample Message: Many recent college graduates and young families are preferring to life a car-free lifestyle. Transit-oriented development is an opportunity for us to meet their need, support local businesses and protect the environment at the same time. Successful Example: DC Streetcar on H Street Create and sustain support for transitoriented developments along the revitalized H St corridor Objective: Promote awareness of businesses along this corridor. Audience: businesses, developers and potential residents Strategy: visually appealing, integrated twitter account, twitter account focused on businesses Figure 4.8. Transit-Oriented Development on H Street. National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 43

9 Placemaking Placemaking supports livability by valuing the unique characteristics in communities and engaging its residents to build social capital. Often, placemaking includes tactics that revitalize and retool existing civic spaces. Examples of placemaking could include utilizing an existing park with live music or other events, local art installations, or creating safe, enjoyable spaces for people to sit and relax. Value a community s unique characteristics and engage its residents to build social capital. Engage local colleges and universities to focus outreach activities in targeted revitalization areas. Connect with local business districts to promote a neighborhood ambassador program in 3 targeted areas within a year. Secure private sector donations in X amount to beautify the targeted neighborhoods. School districts/universities Business community/chamber/merchant groups Transportation providers (transit, vanpool, taxi) Media Civic organizations Arts partner Foundations Youth Photo Credit: Valerie Hermanson Strategies: Ask how you will connect your selected audiences with your objectives. Sample Message: Our citizens want to live and work in a place that celebrates art, sport and culture and can share these qualities with our city s/county s/region s visitors. Successful Example: ArtPrize 2013 Figure 4.9. ArtPrize Website as an Example of Placemaking. Promote ArtPrize as a creative, interactive art exhibit that supports the larger artist community. Objective: Drive artist attendance and submissions Audience: potential participants in the art community Strategy: black and white photography, streamlined messages, clearly located call to action National Association of Regional Councils Creating Livable Communities: An Implementation Guidebook 44

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