Imagine Flint – A Master Plan for a Sustainable Flint has received 2 prestigious planning awards: the Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan by the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association; and, the Macinac Prize by the Michigan Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism. Comments from Juror Leslie Creane, AICP are below. Additional information about Imagine Flint, including additional images can be found on our portfolio page.
The Master Plan for Flint is a vision – in more ways than one. The document is a graphic work of art that gives enough “air” around each subtopic to keep the reader engaged. Each chapter keeps the same 7 items up front: Imagine, Social Equity + Sustainability, Quality of Life, Youth, Reshaping the Economy, Adapting to Change, and Civic Life. The use of colored circles to code each Objective, showing which principles have been considered is brilliant. It is the equivalent to a restaurant rating and, at first blush, gives the reader an idea of which Objective serves the widest need.
Much of the focus of the Flint Master Plan is on shrinking the geography of infrastructure investment. The concentration of city amenities and services is a crucial first step. Although regulating plans are not a part of this document, the Flint Plan does and exceptional job of laying out the principles that create great places. There is discussion of the residential, commercial and public realm aspects of neighborhoods. The traffic calming section shows an understanding of the street/sidewalk areas as a dedicated public realm. The section on ‘commercial corridors’ as linear connections is followed by the section on the ‘downtown’, which is clearly shown as a neighborhood. The character descriptions of each type of area are clear and articulate New Urbanist principles without the jargon.
The innovative use of a “Land Use Wheel” takes the linear New Urbanist transect and creates a circular continuum. There are nuances to this wheel that deserve further study. Each chapter has an aesthetically pleasing matrix that lists strategies, time frames for achievement, public cost estimate, lead agency and “progress indicators”. This is the most innovative and well executed Master Plan I have seen. The level of public input, the consistency of message, the graphics, the commitment to each aspect covered is truly inspiring. The team(s) that created this Plan should be incredibly proud. They have created a cutting edge document that others are sure to emulate.
Leslie Creane, AICP
Juror, New England CNU
Planning Director, Hamden CT
Creane + Company, LLC