Stantec, a global leader in sustainable engineering and design, has won in the International category at the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence for its work on a transit-oriented community corridor plan in Cleveland, Ohio.
Hosted in London, UK, the RTPI Awards represent the best in urban design and responsible planning, celebrating people and projects that transform economies, environments, and communities for the better.
The 25Connects plan was delivered by Stantec and local engagement partners at Seventh Hill on behalf of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) with the aim of creating better access and opportunities for the communities along a transit-oriented corridor on Cleveland’s west side. The plan recommends creating vibrant transit station areas across several neighbourhoods, which enable multimodal mobility, increased safety, and promote equitable access to housing, jobs, healthcare as well places of culture and community.
“Transit-oriented community planning and design has the potential to bring enormous benefits to the communities we serve,” said Craig Sklenar, Stantec’s project director on 25Connects. “But those benefits will be lost if the community is not engaged and supportive. Making people part of the plan is critical to its success.”
The plan involved a high level of direct but nuanced community engagement and public outreach through an ambassador program, using insights and opinions from residents to influence final recommendations to GCRTA. A bilingual engagement program was part of the core engagement strategy, recognizing that 21% of households along the corridor are Spanish speaking. The plan is helping the corridor area reduce its car dependence, inherently cutting carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.
"25Connects set a new standard for GCRTA's engagement process that will be incorporated into how we plan our capital projects with the communities we serve," said GCRTA General Manager, Chief Executive Officer India Birdsong Terry. “This inclusive and active social engagement process has resulted in the creation of a strong collaboration that maximizes the project's benefits to not only improve local public transit options but to also create development projects that are focused on the needs of existing residents. 25Connects aims to strengthen the links between public transit, surrounding development, and the needs of all people.”
It is expected the plan will be used as a model influencing future projects of a similar scale and scope across the City of Cleveland and beyond.
In the judges’ summary, it was noted that: “25 Connects is an excellent example of how to work with an existing constraint and improve the lives of users and the community that must embrace living alongside of it.
They continued: “It is also a project that demonstrates transferable application to a UK context. It demonstrates the true value of how to apply planning principles through the lens of international development. Far reaching, and community-based, it provides a template for long-term positive change.”
“At Stantec, our purpose is to always design with communities in mind,” said Nancy MacDonald, director of Stantec’s Urban Places. “We see people-first transit-oriented community projects as a growing opportunity to leverage infrastructure investment towards multiple community outcomes around improved mobility, sustainable urban design and equity. This forward-thinking approach is gaining traction across North America, the UK, and in other countries around the world.
Barton Wilmore, now part of Stantec, was also commended by RTPI for two of its projects. The plan for St George’s Vicarage in Davenport was recognized for the team’s expertise in heritage matters. Phase 3 of the generation of the Pendleton neighbourhood in Salford was recognized for extensive and successful stakeholder engagement process.
Learn more about Stantec’s Urban Places.
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That's why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.
We care about the communities we serve, because they're our communities too. This allows us to assess what's needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what's never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate towards a shared success.
We're designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.
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Stantec’s Urban Places
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