Nashville wins an APA Daniel Burnham Award
“We got just tremendous response to MetroQuest … we had about 5,000 survey responses. We were very, very pleased with that. Certainly, it made a tremendous impact in being able to demonstrate that the plan we had responded to what the community wanted for the future of Nashville.” Greg Claxton, NashvilleNext Planner, Metro Nashville Planning Commission
About the Nashville Metro Planning Commission
Nashville’s Planning Department is responsible for engaging local communities to create land-use policies and transportation priorities in planning, making recommendations to the Nashville Metro Planning Commission on zoning, and providing urban design services and citywide transportation planning for sustainable development and complete streets.
CHALLENGE – Getting the public engaged in building a comprehensive plan.
When the Nashville Metro Planning Commission began a three-year comprehensive planning process to address challenges facing the southern city, they wanted to build a plan that would see the region thrive as its population grew rapidly over the next 25 years.
Metro Nashville and Davidson County needed a comprehensive plan that would address several key challenges, including:
- explosive growth, locally and regionally
- redevelopment of in-town neighborhoods
- suburbanization of poverty
- vast differences in community character
- outdated commercial corridors
- a transit system that did not meet community needs
“The Nashville region is growing by about one million people by 2040,” said Rick Bernhardt, Retired Executive Director for the Metro Nashville Planning Department. “We have one chance to get the plan right” (Source: APA).
With the stakes so high, the Metro Nashville Planning Commission sought to first engage the public, to guarantee that their plan would ultimately meet the desires and vision of Nashvillians, well into the future.
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SOLUTION – Engaging thousands online with MetroQuest!
In addition to hosting traditional public meetings and focus groups, the Metro Nashville Planning Department sought to reach more Nashvillians online. It chose MetroQuest for digital community engagement.
“NashvilleNext was our process to create a new general plan for Nashville. We went through multiple rounds of public engagement and used MetroQuest in two of them,” said Greg Claxton, NashvilleNext Planner with the Metro Nashville Planning Commission. “The first was a general view of how people wanted to grow and preserve the county over the next 25 years. Then once we had it narrowed down to three scenarios, we used MetroQuest to have people rate and assess those.”
MetroQuest enabled the Metro Nashville Planning Department to maximize participation and to collect informed public input that contributed to the ultimate success of the NashvilleNext plan.
“We got just tremendous response to MetroQuest to both phases. Probably combined, we had about 5,000 survey responses. We were very, very pleased with that.”
Greg Claxton continued, “part of that was not just the results on the scenarios themselves, but also asking demographic questions. So, we knew not only what we were hearing through MetroQuest, but who we were hearing from. One of the things we definitely heard from the public was how excited people were to have an interesting and different way of taking the survey.”
MetroQuest proved to be an effective platform to engage thousands, and at an average cost of $3 per participant, it was the most cost-effective way to involve Nashvillians:
MetroQuest helped Nashville assemble actionable results by engaging thousands of people and collecting quantifiable, trustworthy input to support their comprehensive plan for the region. “Certainly it made a tremendous impact in being able to demonstrate that the plan we had responded to what the community wanted for the future of Nashville,” Greg Claxton concluded.
Result – A Daniel Burnham award-winning plan!
On June 22, 2015, the Metro Planning Commission unanimously adopted NashvilleNext. A year later, the city was recognized with the 2016 National Planning Excellence Award, in particular, the Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan.
“It’s also been really, really gratifying to see the level of community support around implementing the plan. We have a new mayor, metro council, and multiple departments who are eager to work with us on making the plan’s vision a reality,” added Greg Claxton.
Nashville is a city that is growing fast, a city with a vision, a city with an award-winning plan that reflects key guiding principles – opportunity for all, accessibility, economic prosperity, strong neighborhoods, improving education, and championing the environment – all based on the desires of Nashvillians.
“NashvilleNext is a true community-driven plan to guide and grow Nashville in a way that benefits everyone,” said Doug Sloan, Executive Director of Nashville’s Metropolitan Planning Department. “Receiving this award is an honor for Nashville itself, as so many community members were involved in the planning and continue to work toward implementing our vision to become an even greater city” (Source: APA).
MetroQuest is optimized to give decision makers, like the new Mayor of Nashville, the confidence needed to make critical choices and to gain wide public support for important planning infinitives.
“NashvilleNext is a great example of what is possible when you engage the community in the process of governing,” shared Megan Barry, Mayor of Metro Nashville. “It has helped to establish critical priorities that will guide not just the planning department, but all of the metro departments and agencies, as we enact policies that will keep our city moving forward, while also managing the growth and challenges that will come with our success” (Source: APA).