Author Archives: TomoPlan

Healthy Choices Made Easy

My college degree was in Community Health Education and I spent most of my career working in the field of health promotion. The words education and promotion sound reasonable enough to describe what needs to be done to tackle the … Continue reading

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Central Iowa’s Catalyst: Local Talent and Small Businesses

Catalyst: an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.    Many newly formed and established local small businesses are in survival mode.  Fierce competition, economic factors, and perceptions of limited capacity and capabilities are factors that limit the … Continue reading

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Get Ready, Here Comes Tomorrow

Tomorrow is only a day away. Perhaps it’s cliché, but today’s decisions shape our region’s future. Every road, every development, every contract leads to what our region has become and what it will become for our kids and our grandkids. … Continue reading

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Here Comes Tomorrow

The Tomorrow Team is getting ready for a series of public meetings to review the draft plan. Six meetings are scheduled, each from 5-7 p.m., in communities across the region. Dates and open house locations are as follows: Tuesday, January … Continue reading

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Local Government Strength Lies in Collaboration

It is the long history of humankind . . . those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.  ~Charles Darwin One of the underappreciated aspirations of The Tomorrow Plan is that local governments will collaborate. One reason … Continue reading

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Brownfields in One Word

I am willing to bet that most urbanites have heard the term “Brownfields” before.  But what does it mean to you?  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined it as: “Real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may … Continue reading

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A Passion for Beauty: Learning through the Arts

While many people pass through the city of Des Moines via Interstates 235 and 80 daily, few realize the hidden gem of an arts community the city contains. Of course, the Des Moines Arts Center and Pappajohn Sculpture Park are … Continue reading

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New Intergenerational Mentorship Program Kicks Off in January

Leaders of Capital Crossroads five-year regional vision plan have developed an inter-generational mentorship program as part of the Social Capital component of the plan. Community Connect: Mentors Inspiring Success sustains and expands leadership throughout the region by inspiring future leaders … Continue reading

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Sustainability Champions

Take a look around the nation, and you’ll come across some truly incredible places. They are places that pull you in with their uniqueness, that invite you to stay a little longer, and that you want to have in your … Continue reading

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Streets for People

When my wife and I first moved to Des Moines, I went to my local credit union to discuss home loan options.  The woman I spoke with had a slight accent and an eastern-European sounding name.  Being curious about people … Continue reading

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Transit is “growing up” in Greater Des Moines

This is a watershed year for the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART). The new DART Central Station opened up in downtown Des Moines this month at the same time that a redesigned bus network was implemented for the … Continue reading

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Strengthening Iowa’s Food System

This week, on Friday, November 16th, the Iowa Food Systems Council (IFSC) is partnering with the Iowa Public Health Association (IPHA), Iowa League of RC&D’s, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Valley Continuing Education, Iowa Primary Association, and the Healthy Farms, … Continue reading

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COSC Sustain-A-Ball

Sustaining our world is a big task, however, that is the ambition of Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC). With a new name and new look, COSC’s upcoming Sustain-A-Ball benefit concert illustrates the nonprofit’s mission of promoting ecologically sustainable practices by … Continue reading

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2012 Iowa APA Conference

The American Planning Association’s Iowa Chapter holds a conference each fall where 200 people get together to exchange ideas and hear about new projects and developments.  This week, the Chapter will host the 2012 event in Ames with a theme … Continue reading

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Tree Des Moines Workshop on October 25

A free and informative workshop on how communities are invigorated by strong tree-planting and protection efforts will be held Thursday, October 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 at the Des Moines Botanical Center, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive. Refreshments will … Continue reading

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New WOW! Wonder of Words Festival Launches October 17

DOWNTOWN DES MOINES – The Downtown Community Alliance and Des Moines Public Library are excited to announce a new event for the Greater Des Moines community called WOW! Wonder of Words Festival (WOW!).  This new festival will connect readers, writers, … Continue reading

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Workforce Housing Demand that the Recent State of Iowa Employment Forecast Would Stimulate

The ability of a region to attract new and retain the workers needed to sustain regional economic growth depends critically on the availability of sufficient competitively priced housing of the types and in locations workers prefer and can afford. As … Continue reading

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Listen up!

A big part of planning regionally is listening to people from all corners of the study area.  Public meetings provide one forum for this—click here to see what we heard at the Future Fair in early August—and more and more, … Continue reading

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The Big Inversion: Understanding the impact that generational shifts have on housing demand

Across the country large demographic shifts are currently taking place that will significantly affect future housing demand.  These trends are well documented, much discussed, and certain to have an impact on housing choices throughout the United States, including the Des … Continue reading

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How does disability fit in with The Tomorrow Plan and sustainability for our community?

To begin with, let’s define the word “disability.” According to the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as restored in 2008), a disability is any long-term mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life … Continue reading

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A Strong Core Leads to a Healthy Region

The human body’s core muscle group is arguably the most important in the body; they help to stabilize and balance the body, which leads to good posture, makes physical activity of all kinds easier, and generally helps lead to better … Continue reading

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Enjoying the multiple benefits of sustainability

Right now, the Iowa Environmental Council is putting together our annual conference, which this year is called Finding Iowa’s Way:  Economic Solutions for a Healthier Environment.  (Here’s a convenient registration link, right in the first paragraph, so I’m being good at my … Continue reading

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Walking and Bicycling Provide Alternative Transportation That Merits Support

A primary goal of The Tomorrow Plan is supporting alternatives to single occupancy cars in the metro region. Walking and bicycling are transportation alternatives that provides multiple benefits: personal fitness and health; saves money; avoids fossil fuels, air emissions, and … Continue reading

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PUBLIC INPUT Choose Tomorrow – August 2, 2012

Open house visitors were asked to respond to three questions for each of the topics presented: 1. What have you learned about this topic from the scenarios? 2. Based on what you learned, how important is this topic in your … Continue reading

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Parking Garages Make Great Souvenirs

As you find yourself jetting off to exotic (and not-so-exotic) locales this summer, take a second to put your vacation to work for our community.  Instead of just snapping a few pictures, see if you can snag a few ideas … Continue reading

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Realizing Our Potential

A couple of years ago, I read an article on lessons from planning school. To this day, one of those lessons still resonates deeply with me: “City planners are optimists… We want cities and regions to realize their potential. And … Continue reading

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Results of Design My DSM

Design My DSM Results from thetomorrowplan Click on the icon above to view presentation in full screen.

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Looking to the Past for the Future

Lately when friends or relatives ask me what I’m up to at work, I usually tell them about The Tomorrow Plan.  The conversation usually goes like this: Them:  “What’s The Tomorrow Plan?” Me:  “It’s a regional sustainability plan for the … Continue reading

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Designing my Design My DSM Data

One of the ideas for the TPX blog is to show the process behind our work, like we did in this early post about the development of Design My DSM. Design My DSM went live on the web in April, … Continue reading

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Choose Tomorrow

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Speaker Series 6

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eCORNomics 101

In case you were too busy outside enjoying all the beautiful weather to notice, the price of corn is rising. The typical concerns over summer floods in Iowa have gradually transitioned this year to worry over drought conditions that are … Continue reading

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TEDxDesMoines Conference Set for July 15th

There are so many interesting conversations happening in the Greater Des Moines community – during tech events, at art openings, on our college campuses, at the library – the list could go on. It’s hard to get around to all … Continue reading

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State of Our Plate

It’s not the State of the State, or the State of the Union, but the state of something near and dear to each of us – our food!  We all have it in common, and we each make decisions about … Continue reading

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Everything’s Sustainable, Nothing’s Sustainable, and Everywhere in Between

Name one sustainable community.  Just one.  Any one.  Guess what?  It doesn’t exist. You’d never know it from looking at the marketing campaigns, slogans, and ads of the last few years.  Everyone’s in on the game: Green cars!  Sustainable planes!  … Continue reading

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Calling All Young People

Greater Des Moines may have been one of my first true loves. When I decided six year ago to attend Drake University, it was as much for the city as for the school itself. There was that almost indescribable, uniquely … Continue reading

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Speaker Series 4

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Natural Playscapes – a new but critical link to the great outdoors

Blogger’s Note: Just last week the Polk County Conservation Board (PCCB) celebrated the grand opening of its Bison-Elk Plaza and observation deck – a natural outgrowth of the adjacent natural playscape referenced below. Congratulations to The Tomorrow Plan partner PCCB … Continue reading

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Second Life for the Shopping Mall

Sixty years ago the shopping mall emerged as an American institution.  Since then, in various permutations, it has become a component of nearly every community in the country.  Its form has changed in response to retail and population trends – … Continue reading

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A Choice: Why having options is an important component of The Tomorrow Plan

Choice. What does it mean, why is it important, and how does it fit within The Tomorrow Plan? The reality is that we all make choices every day. Some of these choices are flexible, such as the decision about where … Continue reading

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Be Awesome – Here’s Some Inspiration

If planning for a region is about ideas… and that region is Greater Des Moines… then the people of Greater Des Moines have to be totally awesome at two things: (1) shining a light on existing ideas, and (2) generating … Continue reading

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Living with wild things…and we’re not talking about your children

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” With these words, Aldo Leopold, the noted 20th century conservationist, threw down the gauntlet.  In his book, A Sand County Almanac and Essays from Round River, he … Continue reading

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Why I love where I work and where I live

When I think of sustainability a lot of things come to mind; stewardship of resources, health and wellness, reuse of materials, neighborhood revitalization. When I think about neighborhood revitalization I think about Rock the Block™.  Rock the Block™ is a … Continue reading

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Play an active role, and have fun, planning the future for Greater Des Moines

Today’s Des Moines Register included the following op-ed about The Tomorrow Plan and Design My DSM.   Read on or take a look at the Register article to learn more. If it were your job to manage the Des Moines … Continue reading

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Where we’ve been, where we’re going tomorrow

Next week, discussion on the development of The Tomorrow Plan will continue at three public input sessions throughout the metro area.  We want to know what you think Greater Des Moines should look like in the future, so join us … Continue reading

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Policies, prairie chickens, and parking

Sneak peek at the process of crafting a dynamic web tool for The Tomorrow Plan Ever wonder what goes into building an interactive engagement tool for planning? The secret is that it’s really, really fun. Here’s a peek into our … Continue reading

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There goes the neighborhood

When development in the Greater Des Moines metro region “took off” after the mid-1980s recession, the future of central city neighborhoods looked bleak.  Market forces were favoring development at the fringe of the metro area, while core neighborhoods saw decline … Continue reading

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Campaign for the future

During the first week of March, a team from The Tomorrow Plan traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to participate in the Smaller Places Summit for recipients of Sustainable Communities grants. The event was aimed at accelerating efforts to build more economically … Continue reading

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Press Release: Sustainability Experts Address Des Moines Region

PRESS RELEASE Sustainability Experts Address Des Moines Region March 19, 2012 – Des Moines, Iowa The Tomorrow Plan speaker series will host experts in New Urbanism and Sustainability from around the country at two upcoming events. Both events are free … Continue reading

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From Nebraska, with love

Right now, as I type, teams of undergraduate architecture and landscape architecture students at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) are creating elements of potential new futures for the City of Des Moines. UNL students visit Boston While this … Continue reading

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Save The Date

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Public transit: a vital ingredient to sustainability

Of all the things that go into creating a sustainable metropolitan area, this much we know: public transit is a vital ingredient. Public transit makes it possible to get around for people without cars, whether they can’t drive for physical … Continue reading

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Creating is learning

I sit on the steering committee for The Tomorrow Plan and I’m not an expert in sustainability. In fact, when I was asked to sit on the committee I couldn’t even define what sustainability means. I still can’t define it, … Continue reading

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Successful plans, real estate developments and economic development respond to the needs of society

Real estate developments and economic development respond to rather than shape the needs of society. Design and regulatory mandates will not induce successful plans or development unless they relate well to the needs and preferences of households and businesses.  The … Continue reading

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Make your own city…there’s an app for that

Perhaps I’m a traitor to my generation, but I just never got excited about smart phones…or Twitter…or any of the multitude of inexplicable new social media “apps” my friends keep telling me about.  I’m one of the last hold-outs among … Continue reading

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Sustainability Scan

The objective of this report is to survey the sustainability-related practices currently underway in the Greater Des Moines area, and to provide a comparison with national best practices relevant to the region. Section 1 first discusses the case for why … Continue reading

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Local action for sustainability

One of the challenges we encounter as we undertake The Tomorrow Plan is that the notion of “community sustainability” can seem theoretical, nebulous, or esoteric. It can seem as though community sustainability is a high-level aspiration that is difficult to … Continue reading

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What’s art got to do with it?

While the S&P 500, commonly considered a bellwether for the American economy, was essentially flat for 2011, art showed a return of 10.2% as an asset class in 2011, according to the Mei Moses World All Art Index (MMAI).[1] Investing … Continue reading

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Sustainable, affordable housing

How does one talk about Affordable Housing in the community many publications deem the most affordable market in the country?  Do our demographics mean we can cross it off the list as “problem solved?”  Despite the glowing reports, what do … Continue reading

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What Will Tomorrow Look Like in Central Iowa? YouTube Video

William Fulton speaks on “What Will Tomorrow Look Like in Central Iowa?”. Introduction and interview by City of Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

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Presentation: What Will Tomorrow Look Like In Central Iowa?

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Do you have a bright idea?

Do you have ideas – large or small – that could help transform the Greater Des Moines region and make it a more sustainable community? Share them at ideas.thetomorrowplan.com. Ideas.thetomorrowplan.com allows residents, business people, students, and other interested stakeholders a … Continue reading

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Public Meetings on Jan 31, Feb 1, and Feb 2

Click image to enlarge.  

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PRESS RELEASE Public Looks at Changes Today for a Greener Tomorrow

January 10, 2012 – Des Moines, Iowa – The Tomorrow Plan – Greater Des Moines’ effort to create a vibrant and enduring future – seeks public feedback on the project’s first major outcome: A scenario that pictures the metro in … Continue reading

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Modeling: a great tool, not a crystal ball

“All models are wrong; some models are useful” –George Box, statistician How is the Greater Des Moines region supposed to plan 40 years into the future when so much can change?  Looking back forty years into the past, the US … Continue reading

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All You Can Eat Parking Isn’t a Great Deal

Imagine every time you go out to eat, dessert is included free of charge. How often would you turn it away? Rarely, right? Of course, because everyone appreciates a good deal. Let’s think about this though. If your restaurant is … Continue reading

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Save the Date

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The Tomorrow Plan Gift Guide, 2011 Edition

It is December 21st, and many people are scrambling to finish their shopping between the year-end work activities and the plethora of parties and gatherings. Who has time to think about the next two months let alone the next forty … Continue reading

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What Exactly Is Sustainability?

Defining sustainability is as hard as “ nailing Jello to a tree.” There are already countless definitions of the word out there. Around the U.S. and the world, groups define sustainability differently depending on their frame of reference. For instance, … Continue reading

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MPO Steering Committee

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Three important plans (The Tomorrow Plan, Capital Crossroads and DART Forward 2035) for the future of our Community

Understandably, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the efforts surrounding The Tomorrow Plan, Capital Crossroads, and DART Forward 2035. All three of these are regional plans for the future of Central Iowa. The projects have coordinated leadership … Continue reading

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Worried About the Weather? Just Dial Down the Flow

Are we afraid of the future? For sure, the economy’s got us all worried. But I’m talking about being just a little nervous about what’s going on with the weather. How much snow is going to fall this winter and … Continue reading

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A side order of sustainability?

After the launch of The Tomorrow Plan, we heard from the community that food needed to be included in the list of factors considered for how we measure sustainability across Central Iowa. Since Iowa is at the center of food … Continue reading

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Presentation: About The Tomorrow Plan

The Tomorrow Plan View more presentations from thetomorrowplan

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Feedback Tag Cloud

This tag cloud represents feedback from the Open House project launch. place live lots sense community people back businesses economy elder infrastructure support transportation love biking working done together means planning good efficient economic education future needs children best region … Continue reading

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What do you want tomorrow to be?

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In the News Links

Des Moines Register: Panel Focuses on Environment, Growth Sustainable City Network: Building a Sustainable Development Plan in Des Moines Metropolis Magazine: HUD Grants Show Post-Partisan Promise City Source Newsletter: A Greener Community Business Record: Plans Are in the Works for … Continue reading

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Sustainability Initiatives

The Interagency Partnership on Sustainable Communities (Partnership) is a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These entities joined together to offer the Sustainable Communities Regional … Continue reading

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Iowa Biz Business Record

A better Des Moines through 2050 article

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