As part of an ongoing effort to promote economic development and coordination between transportation and land-use planning, the Virginia General Assembly has continued to provide funding assistance for professional consulting assistance to local governments and regional entities to establish Urban Development Areas (UDAs). The UDAs protect established residential neighborhoods and rural areas from incompatible development and allow for the maximization of infrastructure efficiency to create unique and exciting destinations, achieved through downtown redevelopment, the addition of pedestrian plazas and extension of the regional bicycle network.
Michael Baker’s Urban Design Studio provided technical assistance to advise on the implementation of smart growth techniques through urban design, comprehensive planning, zoning, public outreach and code-writing to create sustainable communities that accommodate future growth and support the economy and environment.
The largest UDA grants focused on two redevelopment projects in the Wards Corner and Military Circle areas of Norfolk, Virginia, with the planned revitalization of aged shopping centers, improved connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods, and creation of parks and open space, supported by the possible extension of light rail through both study areas. Based on input received from the public, our team developed vision plans for both areas that included proposed future land uses and light rail transit alignment traversing a series of urban street blocks and open spaces to create a series of walkable neighborhoods anchored by the new transit and station areas. Military Circle was adopted into the city's policy documents in January 2017 and Wards Corner is scheduled for adoption in October 2018. Both plans serve as a guide for future public and private investments.
“We take pride in helping communities shape their vision for the future to accommodate growth, foster economic development and improve quality of life by creating healthy, engaging spaces for residents to enjoy.”
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