Meet some innovative open planning tools

For the first time ever, the Open Planning Tool Group (of which OpenPlans is a member) is shining a spotlight on tools that are making a difference to public engagement and scenario planning with two awards: the Innovative Tool Award and the Exemplary Implementation Award.

The winner of the Innovative Tool Award is Ecotrust’s Forest Planner, which allows land managers to visualize different forest management scenarios as well as compare the effects of these scenarios on different outputs such as carbon storage and timber yields. Forest Planner is free to use, and while its current models are applicable only to forests in Oregon and Washington, there are plans to expand to other states in the future.

scr-layers-graphicThe winner of the Exemplary Implementation Award is the Massachusetts Priority Mapping Protocol, from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The Protocol is a framework for using community engagement and data to identify priority areas for housing and economic development in Massachusetts, and was developed in conjunction with the State’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the South East Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). Read about how it’s been used in SPREDD’s Community Priority Area 5-Year Update in the 31 South Coast Rail communities as well as in MAPC’s North Suburban Planning Council Subregional Priority Mapping Project.

If you know of an open planning tool that should be recognized, keep an eye on the OPTG’s website for next year’s call for nominations.