California photo essay

By Charlotte Wilson

When I travel, I’m always on the lookout for examples of good planning. While visiting in Davis, CA I spotted an innovative low-impact development drain and a parklet created by three businesses in parking spaces they licensed from the city. (Click on images to enlarge them).


Aging in Places


Access Management


This illustration is from our 61-page glossary, a free benefit for Carlisle|Wortman clients.

Are you using all the benefits of your APA and MAP membership?

By Ben Carlisle and Paul Montagno

3 past MAP presidents -- DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto, with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

3 past MAP presidents — DIck Carlisle, Paul Montagno and Dave Scurto — with MAP executive director Andrea Brown.

Many of our readers are members of the American Planning Association (APA) and its state chapter, the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). Carlisle/Wortman Associates’ commitment to these two organizations runs deep. We have three former MAP presidents on our staff * and Ben Carlisle is an elected member of the national AICP Commission, which oversees the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Naturally, then, we encourage you to join or maintain your memberships in both organizations. But don’t just take our word for it – the benefits are real and speak for themselves.

As planners, we’re keenly interested in new ideas and fresh approaches. APA delivers with its valuable monthly magazine, Planning, and 21 divisions which you can join, offering themes as diverse as hazard mitigation, regional planning, housing and new urbanism. APA has a library of reference papers and books and offer free photos taken by planners that you can use in presentations, proposals and publications. Check out their communications training guide.

Certification through APA has tangible benefits. The most recent APA/AICP survey shows that certified planners earn more than noncertified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. Certification also puts planners on equal footing with the architects, engineers, and other credentialed professionals with whom they work and compete.

If you’re a professional planner and a member of APA, you automatically belong to MAP. MAP also offers communities group memberships for their planning commissioners and elected officials. Anyone can join MAP for $60 per year.

Do your planning commissioners or zoning board members know what they need to know to keep your community out of trouble? MAP brings the training to you. MAP also has a planning library, publishes a regular newsletter and an e-newsletter. Learn at the annual conference in Kalamazoo, October 26-29, both in the conference sessions and a generous set of peer to peer networking opportunities. AICPs can earn continuing education credits at MAP conference sessions.

You can enhance the long-term benefits of membership if you give back a little to your profession. Teaching children about planning today will give tomorrow’s planners a supportive, knowledgeable constituency.

Join APA’s planners advocacy network or legislative action center to learn to influence federal and state officials and agencies.

Association membership is like a gym membership. It only works if you use it. Both APA and MAP offer an array of benefits you can use to improve yourself and your community.

Vacant Detroit land could reduce stormwater run-off

Here’s an article giving more details about the Detroit green infrastructure our Chris Nordstrom wrote about a couple days ago.

Parks and urban land could solve stormwater challenges

Chris Nordstrom, PLA, ASLA

For the 14th consecutive month, the monthly global temperature record has been broken. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), June’s combined average temperature was 1.62 degrees above the 20th century average. Only two spots on the globe had lower than average temperatures; no land areas experienced record cold readings for the month. It has been 40 years since the planet averaged below normal temperatures.

Whether you feel climate change is man-made or just a natural cycle, there is little debate that it’s happening. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments Program (GLISA) report that average temperatures in Michigan have increased, with the increases most noticeable during the winter seasons. This summer’s drought aside, precipitation has also increased across most of lower Michigan, primarily during the winter and fall months. Michigan experienced an increase in annual precipitation of 4.5% during the 1981-2010 period, although there was significant variability across the state; southeast Michigan saw an increase of 9.5 percent, while the Upper Peninsula fell 2.8 percent. The average number of extreme weather events, where precipitation exceeded one inch in a 24 hour period, increased by over 13 percent.

These increases in precipitation pose serious problems for developed areas around the world. Extreme weather events can overwhelm stormwater systems, causing flooding, sewage overflows, and erosion-related damage. Cities with crumbling infrastructures are facing escalating costs and dwindling budgets as they attempt to find cost-effective solutions to addressing these challenges.

Might parks and open spaces compliment if not outright replace existing stormwater treatment systems and facilities? The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently released a report presenting several case studies where park facilities were used as stormwater management facilities. In some cases, the parks spurred hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in the surrounding area. Closer to home, the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources launched a program to study the use of vacant lots in Detroit to create bioretention gardens help retain and clean stormwater.

At a time when park and municipal utility department find themselves fighting for precious funding, these innovative solutions could form the basis of a mutually beneficial partnership.




CWA planners will present to Cleveland APA chapter

Carlisle/Wortman’s John Enos will present a session on Roles and Responsibilities and Open Meetings/Sunshine Laws  at the 28th annual APA Cleveland Planning and Zoning Workshop November 4. The session will provide participants a wide overview of the many different players in the planning process and the tools necessary to develop working and reliable master plans and zoning ordinances as well providing direction on running a successful meeting.