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The Planners Guide to CommunityViz

The Essential Tool for a New Generation of Planning

By Doug Walker, Tom Daniels

Here is an authoritative and accessible guide to a tool to let planners and citizens "see" the future impacts of a plan or development.

Published by APA Planners Press and the Orton Family Foundation, 2011

Format: Paperback, 304 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-932364-93-4

Quick order code: A64934

Available now

What does the future look like? Planners wrestle with this question daily as they strive to bring a community's vision of itself to life, in all its complexity. Here is an authoritative and accessible guide to a tool that combines 3-D visualization, data analysis and scenario building to let planners and citizens "see" the future impacts of a plan or development.

The Planners Guide to CommunityViz is the first book to explain how to support planning projects with CommunityViz, GIS-based software that planners around the world are using to help decision-makers, professionals, and the public visualize, analyze, and communicate about development proposals, future growth patterns, and the outcome of particular plans or developments. It shows the planner which tools and techniques to use and how to use them for maximum effectiveness on planning projects large and small.

Full of practical examples and case studies, the book shows how CommunityViz can enliven the comprehensive planning process-from visioning, to public participation, to values mapping, to build-out analysis. Chapters show how to use CommunityViz to analyze zoning regulations, calculate the costs of community services, and evaluate development proposals requiring design review. In addition, it is applicable to transportation planning, natural-resource planning, land-development suitability assessment, and urban economic development analysis.

About the Authors

Doug WalkerDoug Walker is president and principal of Placeways, LLC, and is recognized nationally for his work as a developer of and practitioner with decision-support and visualization software programs. He has more than 25 years of experience including having been a senior executive for two major U.S. technology corporations. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in physics from Carleton College and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.

Tom DanielsTom Daniels is a professor and associate chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written or co-authored five other books about environmental, small town and rural planning. He has a doctorate in agricultural and resource economics from Oregon State University.

A Q&A with the Authors

Briefly, what is your book is about? What are its benefits to readers?
"Advances in computer technology and software are creating an exciting new generation of planning practice [and] helping drive this transformation is CommunityViz. Our book is the first to explain how to support planning projects with CommunityViz. It is full of practical examples and case studies. There are also chapters on everyday planning applications such as analyzing zoning regulations, cost of community services, and development proposals requiring design review."

Is there a particular segment of the planning profession or any nonplanning professional groups that might be especially interested in your book?
"It will appeal to any reader participating in planning projects that are supported, or could be supported, by CommunityViz. Readers do not need to be hands-on CommunityViz users to benefit from the book's insights on how to make best use of the tool, yet the book also contains valuable guidance for CommunityViz analysts."

Are there any non-planning professional groups that might be interested in the book?
"Besides professional planners, the book is designed to speak to planning students and educators; members of the public who want to engage more actively in their community's planning process; developers, architects, and landscape architects; natural resource management professionals; and GIS professionals."

Does the book have potential for classroom use, and if so, what type of classes?
"It has ample classroom potential, particularly for graduate planning courses on GIS and visualization. There is no other textbook on CommunityViz, and the range of planning applications that CommunityViz offers. The book [also] could be used in an  upper-level undergraduate GIS course, and graduate courses in geography, GIS, and environmental studies."

What would convince people to buy your book?
"If someone is interested in promoting public engagement and innovative planning processes and philosphies, this book should capture their attention. There's also the book's eye-catching color illustrations and practical applications of CommunityViz, which address real planning problems."

Table of Contents