E-alert 27: Regional Poll Reveals...  

Louisiana Speaks Administration

Regional Poll Reveals Citizens Want More Transit, Housing Options and Greater Investments in Coastal Protection, Education

Ninety-three percent of citizens participating in the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision Poll support funding and implementation of the state's proposed coastal protection and restoration plan.

The poll also found, 81% of respondents want to focus future development in existing cities and towns and modify current development patterns to create new housing choices and new transit options.

"A tremendous degree of consensus exists in the planning region around key planning strategies," said Robin Rather, CEO of Collective Strength, the research consulting firm that collected and analyzed the survey results. "While the region is highly diverse in many ways--geographically, culturally and politically--in terms of long term recovery and growth planning, there is a mandate for key goals."

The poll also found that most citizens want to consider new options for risk management in unprotected flood-prone areas, with only 11% of respondents reporting their preference for emphasizing individual property rights over community risk.

"This tells us that Louisianians across the region want more from the future than we will achieve if current trends continue," said Donna Fraiche, Chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority's Long Term Community Planning Task Force. "They want more housing choices, more transit options, and they are willing to consider policies, limitations and regulatory changes that will help us collectively reduce risk and create safer communities. Citizens have raised their expectations of what Louisiana can become over the next 50 years, and now it's up to us all to deliver."

Complete survey results are available online at www.louisianaspeaks.org.

The responses generated from this unprecedented, privately-funded outreach campaign will be combinedA team of national experts and local planners are now using this data, along with previous citizen input to create a consensus-based vision for South Louisiana that will be released in May 2007.

"The regional vision will serve as a road map for the future and move Louisiana forward by coordinating businesses, government and citizens around a common set of goals," said world renowned planner and lead consultant for Louisiana Speaks, Peter Calthorpe.

Louisiana Speaks, recently concluded an extensive public outreach campaign to engage citizens in regional planning. From January 22 through February 10, citizens had an opportunity to weigh-in through paper "ballots," an online poll, or phone survey to indicate their preferences on 5 key planning questions - spanning economic development, coastal recovery, growth/land use patterns and property rights.

This campaign represents the largest and most inclusive regional planning outreach initiative ever conducted in the United States, generating 23,260 responses, including 1,300 ballots from displaced residents living in 32 different states. This response rate far exceeds similar efforts conducted in other parts of the U.S., including the long-term planning outreach initiative conducted in New York after September 11th.

"The Regional Vision now has the momentum it will need to move forward successfully," said said Elizabeth "Boo" Thomas, President of the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX). "Never before have so many public, private, civic and faith-based organizations come together in support of planning South Louisiana's future, and never before have so many citizens been engaged in the process."

Louisiana Speaks is a long-term planning initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) that is supported with private funds provided through the LRA Support Foundation. CPEX, which was created to serve as a resource for residents, community organizations, developers and elected officials to provide information on best practices for planning and urban design, also provides support and management for the Louisiana Speaks initiative.

Collective Strength is a consulting firm based in Austin, Texas that specializes in research and planning. Collective Strength provided overall project management for the 2006 Recovery Survey and continues to provide support and consulting services to for www.louisianaspeaks.org.

Spanning parishes from the Texas to Mississippi border (including the Houma/ Thibodaux, New Orleans, North Shore, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles metro areas), the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision will provide the framework for local and parish plans to thrive in and serve as a guide for South Louisiana's long-term recovery and future growth . The Regional Vision will address the range of challenges and opportunities facing South Louisiana as the state recovers and grows over the next 50 years. It will include a vision, as well as strategies and concrete actions that address comprehensive risk management, land use, transportation and infrastructure investments, economic development, and restoration and protection challenges.

Planning for www.louisianaspeaks.org is led by a team of top local and national professional which includes: Calthorpe Associates, FregoneseCalthorpe Associates, Urban Design Associates, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., ABMB Engineers, Inc., Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, brown+danos landdesign, inc., Collective Strength, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., PolicyLink, and Dr. Robert R. Twilley, of LSU Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Assesment and Restoration (CLEAR).

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Louisiana Speaks is a long-term planning initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) that is supported with private funds provided through the LRA Support Foundation. In the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Speaks initiative works toward the development of a sustainable, long-term vision for South Louisiana. This work combines the efforts of local, state and federal partners along with many experts, stakeholders and citizens into a comprehensive approach that will guide recovery and growth over the next 50 years.
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