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CNU32 Cincinnati Recap: Envisioning and Implementing Change Through Place Types

Tony Perez, Senior Associate at Opticos Design, led a Place Types exercise at CNU32 Cincinnati on May 15, 2024. The exercise followed presentations and discussion about best practices for using Place Types, led by Peter Park and Lisa Wise.

Workshop Summary

Participants chose 1 of 6 sites for the exercise and started by using a menu of Place Types to identify and map the existing Place Types on and abutting their site.

Next, participants either applied one of two recommended growth scenarios for their site or made their own. Upon determining their growth scenario, they identified their vision for the site and mapped their future Place Types. This was an iterative process where they discussed the Degree of Change necessary to implement their selected Place Types, ultimately coordinating their future Place Types with the desired Degree of Change for each area where they mapped a future Place Type. Three Degrees of Change were provided: Nurture (primarily public realm improvements, road diets), Sustain (infill development at existing scale and intensities), or Accelerate (transformative development of larger buildings with higher intensities).

Based on the vision being expressed through one map for future Place Types and one for the desired Degree of Change, participants then used a menu of pre-selected Form-Based Zones to regulate and deliver the places they envisioned.

Participants saw the clear connections between the 3 maps and liked the logical and physically- or form-based the process. Participants remarked on the huge differences between the typical Land Use Designation in Comprehensive Plans and the Place Type approach in form-based Comprehensive Plans. Among those differences and benefits that they talked about are clarity of the intended form/intensity which resulted in them more fully understanding the choices and decisions through the process.

Tony’s Observations, Insights, and Key Takeaways

  • The way we showed a yield-estimate for each Place Type helped participants work to achieve the new housing scenario for their site
  • Using the key characteristics – Form: building scale, attached/detached, stories, lot coverage, front setback
  • Form-based approach to Comp Planning
  • Coordinating choice of future Place Types to a Degree of Change (Opticos used the Memphis approach: Nurture, Sustain, Accelerate)
  • Saw the difference between typical Land Use Designation and Place Types

Attendees, mostly public sector planners, had very positive reactions to the exercise. We look forward to offering this workshop to other communities. If you’d like a workshop customized to your community or region, please contact Tony Perez at tony.perez@opticosdesign.com.