2019 National Planning Conference

Design-based Comprehensive Plans

Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198039

Location: 2004

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  • Differentiate how design-based comprehensive plans are different from traditional comprehensive plans, and how to use this innovative approach.
  • Identify the value that can be added by approaching the development of a comprehensive plan with a design-based methodology.
  • Recognize the multiple methodologies that can be used to promote community engagement and buy-in for a design-based comprehensive plan.


Explore the value of design-based comprehensive plans — why they are important, how they can work, what they can accomplish. Narratives are mandatory, of course, but the balance is shifting to fewer words and more graphics. Starting with an overview of how comprehensive plans are typically structured, this session describes how imagery can enhance a plan’s statements regarding cultural identity, desired scaling and proportionality, expectations for the public realm, and overall community character. Get insights on how community planning efforts can be structured for participatory engagement in identifying the design themes to be expressed. The final presentation focuses on an award-winning plan that used this design-based approach, with descriptions of how it was implemented and what it accomplished.

This course is approved to offer 1.25 PDH (ASLA).

This course is approved to offer 1.25 LU (AIA).

Session Speakers

Rodger H. Lentz, AICP
City of Wilson Planning Dept
Wilson, NC

Philip L. Walker, FAICP
The Walker Collaborative
Nashville, TN

Leigh Anne King, AICP
Clarion Associates of Colorado
Chapel Hill, NC

Roger S. Waldon, FAICP
Clarion Associates of Colorado
Chapel Hill, NC