I have often used a Min-Mid-Max approach to area and district planning to help stakeholders envision different levels of revitalization and development. It involves alternative site plans, design character sketches, 3-D modeling and photographic examples of good and bad development.

This first level shows how minimal change could occur. In a downtown, for example, would new trees, better street lights, some building renovation and a “fresh coat of paint” meet the community’s planning goals and spark the interest of shoppers and visitors as well as developers and investors?

At a middle or medium level of change, planning options and design concepts show how more change could occur such as building out vacant lots, consolidating small sub-optimal properties for development and further enhancing open spaces and streetscapes.

To visualize what a fully developed district might look like, more extensive concepts show what it could yield regarding land use mix, street and parking modifications, building massing/density and expanded or new open spaces. A max level would show how deteriorated and obsolete properties could be renovated or possibly consolidated and made available for new development and public space.

The Min-Mid-Max approach is very useful in planning processes and consensus building as it helps people better understand and discuss what revitalization, redevelopment and change might mean, feel and look like.

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