The suite of tools that Livability Solutions has to offer addresses a wide range of Placemaking, livability, and sustainability goals. Most tools are deployed individually or in combination via charrettes, workshops, and other onsite assistance; some are online tools, freely available to you, that can be used independently or in conjunction with on-site trainings.
For more information on our tools and how they can help further sustainability goals in your community, view a presentation or a webinar created for our work through the EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities technical assistance program.
The Active Community Schools (ACS) Workbook (NCBW) is a guidebook for people working to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians around and near schools and increasing rates of walking and biking to school. The ACS supports users step-by-step as they think through and plan for all stages of schools-area program development and implementation for the component(s) they choose to address. This tool is particularly useful for groups at an early stage of defining the problem(s) and planning a strategy or desired outcome.
The Bicycle Master Plan Roadmap (NCBW) guides communities through the three phases of Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) development: (1) developing stakeholder buy-in, goals, and staff capacity; (2) developing the plan; and (3) implementing and evaluating the plan.
Civic Engagement for Walkable, Livable Communities (WALC) is a training course and guidebook to assist communities in the creation of civic engagement plans to involve the public in meaningful ways in town-making efforts. Included in the training is the Communications Planning & Civic Engagement Guide, a short but detailed graphically rich guide that includes a resource appendix with best practices for planning, conducting, and evaluating effective civic engagement processes; a walkability checklist; and an evaluation toolbox.
Community Image Survey (CIS) (LGC) The Community Image Survey (CIS) is a tool for educating and involving community members in land use planning and urban design by using images rather than words to describe planning and community design alternatives.
Design Mini-Charrette (LGC or NCI) is an interactive, intensive version of the National Charrette Institute Charrette SystemTM Charrette. A collaborative design workshop harnesses the talents and energies of interested parties to begin to create and support a feasible plan for transformative community change. It is a public engagement process through which a 3-4 person Design Team works with local residents to craft a Smart Growth/Sustainable Development vision for the future of the community along with illustrative specific recommendations for a town center or neighborhood.
The Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Training (CNU) is based on the Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual, a joint project of CNU, the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE), the Federal Highway Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The manual and training advance the successful use of context-sensitive solutions (CSS) in the planning and design of major urban thoroughfares for walkable communities. They also demonstrate how context-sensitive design principles and techniques can be applied where community objectives support New Urbanism and smart growth: walkable, connected neighborhoods, mixed land uses, and easy access for pedestrians and bicyclists. The training can be customized to a city or region, addressing specific challenges and identifying thoroughfares in need of redesign for improved walkability.
Form Based Code Tool (NCRC), deployed as a workshop, provides training in the basic principles of Form Based Codes (FBC) or Place Based Codes (PBC) and their use as smart growth strategies to encourage compact, incremental growth patterns and create dynamic/healthy public and civic realms. Emphasis is placed on the public realm, places, and connectivity. Generally an FBC/PBC will regulate through building envelope form (rather than use), street typologies, and public space standards.
Green Infrastructure Valuation Guide (CNT) distills key considerations involved in assessing the economic merits of green infrastructure (GI) practices. It assists decision-makers in evaluating options for water management and deciding how, where, and when to incorporate GI in development and redevelopment.
Green Values® National Stormwater Management Calculator (CNT) is a valuable stand-alone or companion tool to the Green Infrastructure Valuation Guide that allows users to quickly compare the performance, costs, and benefits of GI to conventional stormwater practices. It takes users through a step-by-step process ending in selection of a stormwater runoff volume reduction goal, outlines a range of GI Best Management Practices (BMPs), and demonstrates in layperson terms the performance results and planning level cost estimates of GI versus conventional solutions.
The Housing and Transportation Affordability Index (CNT) is the only affordability index that models the estimates of transportation costs on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. The typical American household spends 50 cents out of every dollar on housing and transportation, but until recently communities lacked the tools to make data-driven decisions about both issues at a neighborhood scale. By bridging gaps in federal data, the HTAI brings an increased level of transparency to housing transactions that did not previously exist and allows for a holistic approach to transportation and land use planning.
The Mixed-Income/Equitable TOD Action Guide (RA) is an online tool for local jurisdictions working to foster mixed-income transit-oriented development (MITOD) around planned transit stations. The guide helps practitioners identify the most appropriate and effective planning tools for achieving MITOD in their station area, and to facilitate the development of mixed-income communities across the system. The training will evaluate the affordable housing and community development strategies to leverage the revitalization potential of transportation investments, without displacing low-income workers.
The National Transit-Oriented Development Database (CNT/RA) helps developers, investors, and city officials make planning decisions that take advantage of development opportunities around transit nodes. Spanning Honolulu to Portland, it is the only national data clearinghouse for the density, demographics, occupation, and transportation habits of households within walking distance of the 4,160 existing and proposed fixed-guideway transit stations, from commuter rail and streetcars to light rail and ferries. Its targeted reports can be used to attract investors, gauge retail market strength, and evaluate policy options that encourage TOD.
The Place Audit and Street Audit (PPS) are interactive exercises for working with the public or groups of agencies where citizens, in facilitated groups, observe a place or street and use the place evaluation form to diagnose its performance based on four key attributes of successful public spaces: uses and activities, access and linkages, comfort and image, and sociability.
The Power of Ten Exercise (PPS) is a spatial self diagnostic tool for a community to assess what and where its assets and liabilities are, and what is missing and needed to help make it a better place to live in and visit.
The PlaceMap (PPS) is a new form of community engagement through open online community mapping which extends the reach and transparency of the Power of 10 exercise. Using PlaceMap, local stakeholders can be engaged prior to and after onsite collaboration. The PlaceMap was recently used in San Antonio.
The Project Start-up Intensive (NCI) The project start-up intensive assembles the key project partners (sponsoring organization, local planning agency, NGO’s, etc.) to create a shared understanding and approach to the project. A common critical project flaw is conflicting values and approach on the part of the partners. The purpose of the Intensive is to establish a collaborative team approach that will carry the project through the myriad of challenges toward implementation.
Safe Routes to School Workshop (NCBW, LGC) provides flexible and comprehensive technical assistance to elementary and middle schools to improve the safety and desirability of walking and bicycling. A typical workshop includes: (1) a walking audit of the site, with observation of student arrival/dismissal; (2) stakeholder interviews; and (3) a community workshop. Students are an integral part of the process.
TransopolySM (CNT) and the associated Neighborhood TransopolySM and E-TransopolySM are public engagement board games that help community members prioritize long-term transportation investment decisions with a limited amount of public resources. Participants collaborate with one another to purchase improvements that range from improved sidewalks to new transit and road projects. Because it is as straightforward and fun as a board game, Transopoly builds community consensus around long-range transportation planning with limited public resources.
Transit-Oriented District Implementation Decision-Making Tool (RA) helps guide cities, transit agencies, and MPOs in prioritizing different neighborhoods for pedestrian, bicycle, development, and affordable housing investments. The data-driven tool takes the politics out of these decisions by measuring the ability of different neighborhoods to benefit from these investments. The tool looks at urban form, market strength, and demographic conditions to help make these decisions. Based on neighborhood characteristics, the tool makes recommendations about policies and strategies that are grounded in real life best practices.
Walk Audit / Streets and Intersections Audit (WALC, NCBW, LGC, PPS) are used by WALC, NCBW, LGC, and PPS to assess the walkability of a street, neighborhood, or entire community. Walk audits engage participants in inventorying and measuring the quality and effectiveness of the built environment for people on foot, bike or other mode of active transport. Read about a recent walk audit by WALC in St. Louis here or here.