Planning and Broadband (PAS 569)

Infrastructure, Policy, and Sustainability

By Kathleen McMahon, AICP, Ronald Thomas, FAICP, Charles Kaylor

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Modeling smart growth. Tracking climate conditions. Building the local economy. All rely on a backbone of broadband infrastructure. Yet few communities plan for this critical component of a sustainable future.

In the digital age, local planners must make broadband infrastructure as commonplace as water, sewerage, and power systems, this report argues. Giving concrete examples, it shows how h...

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July 1, 2012
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

Kathleen McMahon
Kathleen McMahon has 30 years of community planning experience and has been consulting since 1994. Her consulting practice has focused on comprehensive planning, community development and land use planning. She has worked on Growth Policies in Montana and has also completed housing needs assessments, broadband plans, park plans and comprehensive economic development strategies. She is currently co-chair of the American Planning Association Smart City Task Force. She has written numerous articles on planning, economic development and rural broadband including a PAS report on broadband planning. Ms. McMahon has a Bachelors Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from George Washington University. She is a member of the Montana Association of Planners, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and Montana Economic Development Association.

Ronald Thomas
Ron Thomas, FAICP is on the faculty of the Planning Program at the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design. He is the former executive director of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC 2000-2008) where he refocused the NIPC mission on providing assistance to local communities supporting diverse planning, development, and environmental issues. He launched NIPC’s award-winning Common Ground regional plan. This and other programs set new standards for public engagement in regional affairs. He was founding director of Sustainable Racine, 1997-1999 and then served as executive director of AmericaSpeaks in 1999-2000. Recent consulting has produced award-winning regional plans for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIPRC), and the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester (BCDCOG) Our Regional Our Plan both in 2012. His career work includes a range of topics such as land use, environment, housing, transportation (especially context sensitive design), economic development and many urban design plans from his Washington, DC base, 1970-1990. Drawing from his Peace Corps experience, he has pioneered applied community-based neighborhood projects (Roanoke Neighborhood Partnership 1979-1990) and published on approaches to visioning and strategic planning using communication technology for community-based planning including heading the local planning of the Paris-Lexington-Pike reconstruction as a principal with Jones & Jones in Seattle 1991-1997, Imagine Houston, 1994 and Savannah Vision 20/20, 1990. Currently he currently Chairs the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission in Athens, GA. He holds a professional-level degree in architecture from the University of Oklahoma, graduate degree in management from Antioch University-Seattle, and completed post-graduate course work in communications at Syracuse University. Publication examples include Design for Low Income Neighborhoods, 1980; Cities by Design, 1982; Taking Charge: How Communities Are Planning Their Futures (1987); Teleplanning: a Casebook (APA), 1997; "Tools for Planning at the Speed of Change," chapter Sprawl: A Comprehensive Guide, 2006; Planning and Broadband Infrastructure PAS Report, 2012. He served as editor of the APA Regional and Intergovernmental Division, e.Journal, he created, 2006-2014

Charles Kaylor