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John Fregonese Helps Us See the Future

Acclaimed planner uses computers, community’s wisdom

August 30, 2007 | By Jim Dulzo
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

TRAVERSE CITY—Last week, when John Fregonese and Robert Grow came to town to meet and the community officials and civic leaders who hired them to conduct a regional transportation and land use study, they presented a slideshow about their work.

But those who know Fregonese Associates’ work say that, while the quick, explanatory slide show was nice, it’s miles away from the sophisticated, intensely localized and calibrated computer graphics that "stakeholders" will use in the upcoming Grand Traverse Area Transportation and Land Use Study—which has just been renamed Grand Visions.

The nationally known community planner and his company are highly successful for two reasons: First, Mr. Fregonese insists that planning a community is not brain surgery: When citizens can clearly see how today’s master plans affect tomorrow’s growth, they usually make very good decisions. And, second, his firm’s proprietary "visioning software" does exactly that and, as a bonus, gets people very excited about—and engaged in—the planning process.

While he was in town last Tuesday, Mr. Fregonese paused for an interview about his community-based, computer-enriched approach to helping citizens plan their own future.

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For more information about the Grand Visions study and how to sign up as a "stakeholder," click here.

Jim Dulzo is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s managing editor. Reach him at jimdulzo@mlui.org

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