Future-Focused Communities: Tregoning’s Strategies for Navigating Growth

Groundwork’s FutureIsNow Speaker Series hosts the Executive Director of the New Urban Mobility Alliance Harriet Tregoning for a question-and-answer webinar. Tregoning discusses key qualities and strategies she considers vital for effective community planning.

What is a the role of the planner within a municipality?

Tregoning, recognized for her expertise in urban planning, characterizes a great planner as someone who is open-minded and constantly searching for ways to improve communities. She asserts that potential solutions may manifest in unexpected ways, and planners must be receptive to unconventional approaches.

Describing planners as futurists, Tregoning stresses their role in shaping the future of communities and ensuring long-term sustainability. She adds that garnering support from elected leaders and the public is crucial for success.

Tregoning advises planners to encourage public communication and equally engage with supporters and adversaries. She suggests that planners find out what parts of the community the public values and what locations the public wants to remain preserved. This information should be taken into account while creating plans for the community.

Highlighting the rapidly increasing population in NWA, Tregoning explains the importance of preparing communities for more growth. She explores the relationship between housing and transportation, proposing a reassessment to better accommodate growth.

Tregoning asks communities to challenge the widely held expectation that every person owns and operates a car. She suggests exploring walkable communities which create accessibility for those who don’t own vehicles and can lower transportation costs and increase the car longevity for those who do own cars.

Tregoning suggests that walkable town squares or main streets be the focal point of future NWA development. She proposes mixed-use developments as a way to reduce dependency on transportation and boost market flexibility by combining residential and commercial areas.

Tregoning elaborates on growth preparation by pointing out that Arkansas and a few other states do not have state-level planning agencies. She suggests that charitable groups that receive funding from the government or other sources are important in helping these states with their planning efforts.

Northwest Arkansas's housing and transportation obstacles require creative thinking and strong community involvement. Tregoning requests that city planners explore new approaches, potential collaborations, and encourage community engagement. Together NWA can develop a thriving and sustainable community for coming generations.

Written by: Ava Gatewood