Scenario Planning

Rather than focusing on a single future for the region, we use scenario planning to explore a range of possible futures. For each project, the team develops a series of alternative growth land use/transportation scenarios that incorporate workshop participant and stakeholder feedback.

We start with a base case scenario that shows how a place will look, function and feel if current trends in development, transportation, and population growth continue. The base case shows us the amount of land consumed by development, the number of people able to access transit, and how well the city or region’s housing supply meet demand are all indicators produced via scenario planning.

Using the base case scenario as a control, we can then develop alternative scenarios to illustrate how policy choices today could affect the city-parish in the future. The team looks at the market, fiscal, and environmental effects of each scenario. We compare the alternative growth scenarios against each other based on community values identified during the public involvement process. Then, our team uses surveys and videos to poll residents about their preferred vision for the future. This preferred vision ends up as the basis of the final plan.

Since the company's formation in 1998, Fregonese Associates has been at the forefront of using scenarios to help communities make informed decisions. Some of the firm's award-winning scenario planning work includes:

  • VibrantNEO 2040 – Cleveland-Akron-Youngstown, Ohio
  • Chicago Metropolis 2020 – Chicago, Illinois
  • Envision Utah – Wasatch Front, Utah
  • Metro 2040 Plan – Portland, Oregon

Envision Tomorrow Suite of Urban and Regional Planning Tools

Our unique approach to land use impact modeling utilizes Envision Tomorrow, our suite of cutting-edge open source planning tools. Envision Tomorrow puts powerful tools in planners’ hands to design and test land use and transportation decisions. The Envision Tomorrow ArcGIS-based software package can help your city or region examine possibilities at a range of scales. Whether considering how to maximize growth around transit or identify development and redevelopment priorities, Envision Tomorrow provides planners with an easy-to-use, analytical decision making tool.  Learn more.

Envision Tomorrow consists of two primary tools: the Prototype Builder and the Scenario Builder.  Each tool provides stand-alone capability. But together, they can create entire land use and transportation scenarios from the building site level on up to an entire region.

Prototype Builder:  The Prototype Builder can be used to model buildings and test the physical and financial feasibility of development. The tool allows you to examine land use regulations in relation to the current development market and consider the impact of parking, height requirements, construction costs, rents and subsidies. Use this tool to see what “pencils.” Use it to see how preferred forms of development, such as mixed-use retail with housing above, might become more financially feasible within your existing code.

Scenario Builder:  Scenario Builder adds scenario-building functionality to ArcGIS. First you design a library of buildings in Prototype Builder. Next you use Scenario Builder to create development types and “paint the landscape” by allocating different development types across your study area to create a land use scenario. Build as many scenarios as you would like and test them against each other. The tool allows real-time evaluation of each scenario’s impact on land use, housing, sustainability, transportation, and economic conditions. It also allows communities and regions to monitor progress over the short and long-term.

Analysis Modules:  In addition to the Prototype and Scenario Builder tools, Envision Tomorrow includes four additional stand-alone models.  These models allow users to explore a range of additional indicators including travel behavior, public health, and fiscal impact.

Training:  Envision Tomorrow is free and open source and we enjoy sharing the experience that we have gained around the country to help local planners examine their cities and regions. We have done web-based and in-person trainings for municipalities, regions, and universities across the country.  Depending on your needs, we can create a custom curriculum to build internal capacity for Envision Tomorrow within your organization.

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