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Shaping Rochester's future: it's as easy as playing a game

Shaping Rochester's future: it's as easy as playing a game

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - Rochester planners have taken a creative approach to getting more people involved in the designing of the city's next comprehensive plan.

The Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department has created an application on the website CrowdGauge that challenges people to lay out their vision for the city, while being cognizant of fiscal constraints. 

"The goal is really to get the pulse of the community," said Dave Dunn, the assistant planning director. "The [application] allows people to demonstrate visually what they hold important to them." 

Screenshot: CrowdGauge website

Screenshot: CrowdGauge website

The application starts off by asking participants to prioritize about a dozen options, from better public transportation to lower taxes. The next step is to "put your money where your mouse is" by voting on possible budget items and policies. 

In both situations, the participants are given "limited resources" to address "real priorities." The purpose is to put citizens in the position of planners or policymakers, who may be forced to choose between things like improving sidewalks or building new parks.

The accumulated data will then allow planners to compare the community's vision with recent trends.

"Having a guide to manage growth is extraordinarily important," Dunn said. "It will become even more significant as some of that growth accelerates."

The city's comprehensive plan, or "Planning 2 Succeed," will complement the Destination Medical Center development plan, which was released last month. However, P2P will focus more on the types of infrastructure investments needed to assist future development outside the downtown.

"The DMC funding is really going to be directed to the DMC district, so it really doesn't address new growth at the edges of the city," said Mitzi Baker, the planning director, in an October interview with the Med City Beat.

The department hopes to send a comprehensive plan to the city council this fall. It will be the first update to the plan in four decades.


    (Cover photo: The Med City Beat)

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