Community Design

Promoting Better Design in Cities

The Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development seeks to improve the design, operation, efficiency, and livability of neighborhoods, cities, and regions by examining the direct impacts and implications of the way investments and decisions are made that affect the built environment. We promote awareness of sustainable, efficient, and health-supportive design of the built environment through the development of context-sensitive solutions. 

Related Project: Estimating the Safety Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)
Sponsor: Georgia Department of Transportation
Timeframe: January 2011 - December 2011

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to provide transportation facilities that fit both the human and environmental setting. This study identifies the state of practice of CSS, its benefits, and ways for GDOT to use CSS in its projects. CSS provides economic benefits, system-wide transportation performance improvements, and improves public trust. These benefits include:

  • Improved project scoping and budgeting, more predictable project delivery, and reduced liability and risk
  • Better prioritization and allocation of scarce transportation funds
  • Reduced crash frequency and severity for all road users
  • Improved mobility for vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and transit
  • Improved long-term decisions and investment
  • Increased stakeholder participation and consensus-based decision-making
  • Minimized impacts to human and natural environments.
  • Solving the right problem by broadening the definition of “the problem”

CQGRD conducted case studies from around the country and expert interviews with officials from four states that have a long history of using CSS techniques. CQGRD then used 36 metrics, organized into four categories (interdisciplinary teams, community and stakeholder focus, environmental sensitivity, and design flexibility) to evaluate the Georgia Department of Transportation's level of CSS integration. Results suggest there are opportunities to further integrate the use of CSS in Georgia by creating a CSS internal training program, engaging stakeholders earlier during projects, forming multidisciplinary teams, and updating the Georgia Design Policy Manual.

Additional Projects

Title: Troup County, GA Strategic Plan
Sponsor: Troup County GA and its cities
Timeframe: May 1, 2007-June 1, 2009