2018 National Planning Conference

Beyond the Black Box: User-Friendly Technology

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CDT

Location: 207

CM | 1.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188023


  • What role evidence plays in the planning process
  • How to prioritize and make the case for investments that meet multiple community goals
  • How to navigate tools that support transparent local decision-making


How can planners better integrate data and evidence into the planning process? Explore three technologies that make research accessible to the public and support informed decision-making. A new web-based tool, Streetsmart, illuminates the relationships between transportation strategies and community goals in a visually compelling way using the best evidence available. The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps provides a snapshot of how where we live, learn, work, and play influence health, along with a searchable menu of evidence-informed strategies that can serve as a starting point for local change. Finally, Alta has created an online interactive tool that allows the public to apply their own weights to multiple community goals and see in real-time how their input influences community-infrastructure investments. Representing nonprofit, private, and academic sectors, the panel will engage with the audience through a series of questions. What is evidence? What is its role in decision-making? How does performance-based planning change your work? The panel will raise issues such as whether to caveat research findings for decision-making and explore the tension between generalized findings and specific contexts. Come and provide feedback on how these tools could better serve the needs of planners.

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Session Speakers

Aliana Havrilla
Smithsburg, MD

Kelly C. Rodgers
Portland, OR

Jean C. Crowther, AICP
Alta Planning + Design
Portland, OR

Alison Bergum
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
Madison, WI

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