Innovative Project Feature

Current Project Feature


CMAP MetroPulse - Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and The Chicago Community Trust partnered in 2007 on an effort to utilize emerging data to track implementation of the region's GOTO 2040 comprehensive regional plan. GOTO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies for the 284 communities that make up the region to address an anticipated population growth of more than 2 million residents by 2040.

MetroPulse is a tool designed for policy makers, community leaders, media and the general public to gather objective data that can inform their work. The tool filters out noise that too much data can provide and focus on select indicators to monitor GOTO 2040 implementation. These indicators include livability, human capital, efficient governance and regional mobility. MetroPulse includes narrative analyses and visuals for indicators that are of significance to a broad community of users and are aligned with the priorities of GO TO 2040 and The Chicago Community Trust. MetroPulse also provides tables, charts, maps, and "snapshot" data reports on the City of Chicago's 77 community areas and on municipalities across the 7-county Chicago Metropolitan Area. To close the gap on user data needs, the site will provide categorized links to data from trusted sources selected by CMAP and The Chicago Community Trust.

MetroPulse can be accessed at:
Merrimack Valley Priority Growth Strategy The "Merrimack Valley Priority Growth Strategy" (PGS), a roadmap for the future of the 270 square mile area, is the first Master Plan to be developed for the region in over 30 years. The Plan discusses the common challenges of the region such as traffic congestion, bridge and roadway conditions, and the need for affordable housing for our children and young families. Another major challenge is the loss of control over municipal financing and the need to encourage growth to finance municipal services, but growth that does not harm the quality of life.

Like a traditional regional Master Plan, the PGS identifies areas most suitable for development, and conversely, areas best left as open space and conservation.  Unlike most regional Master Plans, it is built on the input of local planners and community development officials who have identified these areas through a "bottom up" approach that reflects each community's development and conservation priorities. Not only were city and town planners and economic development directors interviewed through an active public outreach process, but all local plans and available studies were reviewed to provide further guidance. These areas were then reviewed and evaluated using 15 measures related to Smart Growth development. 

Over 50 Concentrated Development Centers (CDC), areas of existing concentrated development or areas suitable for future high density development are identified.  CDC's have been classified as Smart Growth Centers, Centers of Commerce, Business Centers, or Village Centers based on several criteria including density, allowed uses, and highway and public transportation access. 

The Strategy also suggests areas that should not be developed in order to preserve the character of the region and to protect environmental resources. It also evaluates the suitability of the regional transportation network to serve the different land-use patterns and recommends smart mobility improvements that will best serve present and future generations. The Plan embraces the principles of smart growth and sustainability. It articulates a regional vision of promoting growth in the right place, those areas best able to accommodate it and at the same time protect our region's most critical natural resources.

For More Information Contact:
Anthony Komornick, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
(978) 374-0519,
Crowd-Sourcing the System Map - Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority With the help of 17,045 online voters and more than 30 map designers, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has a new system map. In the spring of 2013, the MBTA held a contest inviting graphic designers around the world to help it redesign its system map, which is displayed in transit stations, on vehicles, in print media and online. The initial entries were narrowed down to six after review by the MBTA, academics, planners and cartographers. The finalist maps were then released for public voting for two weeks in September 2013, the winner announced shortly thereafter.

For more information about the TPCB program, please email

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