Blueprint II Process

In any conversation about the development of our metro area, we always make reference to the "Metropolitan Development Blueprint".  The MDB was a visioning process conducted in the early 90's and adopted by GVMC in 1994. The study documented many important recommendations, strategies and overall visions for changing the growth patterns of our metro area. There was also adopted with that study a list of critical first steps upon which GVMC has been acting since its adoption. The list included:

  • Creating a Blueprint Commission
  • Creating a metro-wide network of open lands/green spaces
  • Designing a transit system based on Blueprint development concepts
  • Defining and predicting regional employment centers
  • Reviewing water/sewer utility services and the way they serve land use patterns
  • Devising ways to encourage compact/livable communities,
  • Encouraging sub regional planning alliances.

After establishing and staffing a Blueprint Committee, nearly all of the immediate strategies have been accomplished. Notable exceptions to GVMC's success include both open lands and transit design based upon Blueprint principles. In addition, the GVMC Blueprint Committee has established 3 additional goals at which we are now aimed.

Open Lands Network

In conjunction with Grand Valley State University (Water Resources Institute), West Michigan Environmental Action Council, and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, GVMC is anticipating a two-year program to identify, map and plan for important and regionally valued open lands for our metro area. Grand Rapids Foundation has sponsored a planning grant to determine the best public engagement and governance strategies, and the Frey Foundation, Steelcase Foundation and others have expressed interest in joining the project.

Designing Transit

It is difficult to say where transit design begins and ends and who all the players are or should be. But, after several years of study, the metro area now seems to be agreeing on a strategy to build the best functional system to serve our current growth projections. To this end, six adjacent metropolitan cities including the cities of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood, Walker, Grandville and East Grand Rapids, are coming together to form a 196 Authority for the purpose of designing and funding an improved transit system. Hopefully such a system will be convertible to fit our success at altering our inefficient growth patterns.

Additional Goals

In addition to these two critical elements previously called for in the Blueprint, there also remains work to be done in making coordinated regional planning a reality for our metro area. Staff is proposing three additional immediate goals to our Blueprint strategy and they include:

  • Producing a voluntary regional planning process that functions at the local level.
  • Promoting continued use and understanding of Blueprint "principles" within the local political process.
  • Equipping all metropolitan communities with effective tools for evaluating regional decision-making.

These three goals are collectively referred by staff as Blueprint II, and will more directly bring the vision of the Metropolitan Development Blueprint to all local jurisdictions throughout the metro region. If you wish to have any more information on the MDB, Blueprint II, Open Lands or other issues, feel free to contact Andy Bowman at GVMC.

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