Houseal Lavigne Associates provides professional expertise and experience ranging from detailed economic analysis to long-term community visioning and strategic planning; from smaller site planning and design projects to larger regional studies; from creating exciting new transit-oriented development plans to revitalizing historic downtowns and creating context sensitive zoning regulations, Houseal Lavigne Associates provides the expertise necessary to improve the relationship between people and their environment.
A Comprehensive Plan serves as a community’s official guide for land use, growth, physical improvement, and development. It provides a foundation for decision-making and sets forth a framework for achieving community goals and objectives. To be effective, a comprehensive plan should be based on community consensus, community vision, and an understanding of existing conditions and future potentials. The plan should address both the built and natural environment.
Neighborhoods & Subareas
Within each community, unique geographic areas exist that embody the essence of a community and a true “sense of place.” These unique areas also bring with them a specific set of issues and opportunities that must be addressed and accommodated in a targeted and detailed manner. We believe that effective planning at this level requires a solid understanding of, and attention to, the many distinct elements which make up these areas. It also requires an insight into existing conditions, community aspirations, and future potentials.
Community Visioning & Engagement
From traditional face-to-face outreach, such as neighborhood workshops, design charrettes, and interviews, to cutting-edge use of interactive websites and multimedia, such as on-line community issues mapping, community questionnaires, keypad polling, and web-based visual preference surveys, Houseal Lavigne Associates’ award-winning and innovative outreach tools and facilitation will vastly improve any planning process and outcome. By casting a wide net and engaging every level of stakeholder, planning can be more responsive, more insightful, and more effective.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is characterized by compact, mixed-use development within walking distance of public transportation. If done correctly, TOD can be a key element of a livable and sustainable community, fostering a convenient and affordable lifestyle where housing, jobs, restaurants, and entertainment are all in convenient proximity.
Not all communities can sustain a full-time planning staff, but every community should have professional planning services available to them when needed. Houseal Lavigne Associates has experience with providing on-going planning expertise and assistance to communities of all sizes.
Downtowns represent the symbolic “heart” of a community. Downtowns, whether historic or contemporary, large or small, should provide a vibrant and exciting mix of uses within the framework of an attractive pedestrian-oriented environment. A downtown plan should integrate targeted infill development, architectural interest, façade and signage improvement, streetscaping, and effective way-finding in a coordinated manner, all focusing on establishing and strengthening the downtown’s “sense of place.”
Market & Demographic Analysis
As a community considers its future, it is imperative to understand where it is now and where it is heading. Houseal Lavigne Associates offers analysis of demographic trends and projections including population, age, and income data. This is a key factor in mid and long range planning, and in quantifying the current development potential of a specific location. Our customized analysis provides the basis of understanding a site or region’s competitive position within the market area.
Fiscal/Economic Impact Analysis
Economic analysis includes but is not limited to measuring direct, indirect and induced impacts of a project or development. Houseal Lavigne Associates supports clients through enumeration and planning for impacts including quantifying job creation and new expenditures within a local or regional economy.
Park, Trails & Recreation Master Planning
As a community planning and urban design firm, Houseal Lavigne Associates provides the distinctive style, expertise, and knowledge that results in superior plans for parks, both active and passive, recreational facilities, open space and trails. Our plans are comprised of the appropriate balance of site specific recommendations, validated through a comprehensive community analysis and inclusive community visioning and public participation methodology.
Good development regulations not only control land use, but also prevent land use conflict and allow growth to occur in a balanced and desirable manner. As communities examine the effectiveness of their regulations to appropriately guide new development and preserve their principles and local character, we can assist with analysis, amendments, and the drafting of new codes, including form-based codes, hybrid codes, and traditional/Euclidian codes.
Houseal Lavigne Associates has prepared corridor plans for strategic regional arterials, as well as local arterials and collector streets. Some corridors remain local mixed-use destinations while others are firmly established as regional shopping and entertainment destinations. Although corridors typically remain auto-oriented, they should be designed to be pedestrian-friendly. Through effective, creative, and experienced planning, Houseal Lavigne Associates focuses on strengthening the appearance, character, circulation, access, and economic viability of these important community assets.
Land Planning & Site Design
Our experience ranges from small individual parcels in built-out communities to environmentally complex sites of more than 1,500 acres. No matter the size of the property or the design challenges it presents, we are skilled in identifying and addressing the unique issues while maximizing the potential of a site in a responsible and creative manner.
Our comprehensive approach includes the analysis of zoning, development capacity, design, environmental features, sustainability, fiscal and economic impact, and market and demographic trends. We also employ the latest technology for visualizing the possibilities and conducting detailed analysis to ensure sound development economics. This analysis extends to identifying potential or necessary public subsidies for facilitating desired development.