Community planners should take note of the progress New Hampshire is making in “retrofitting” its infrastructure to promote walkability and health. A practical update to the 2004 New Hampshire Livable Walkable Communities (NHLWC) Toolkit, the 2012 Toolkit was commissioned by the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and builds on its predecessor’s concepts, guidelines, and action steps to include local rural, suburban, and urban planning.
The toolkit provides practical steps on coalition building, policy guidelines/community principles, and planning guidelines. The 2012 toolkit should be used in tandem with the 2004 Toolkit, which provides foundational action steps and guidelines, particularly in building coalitions and partnerships (page 15).
Other toolkit highlights include:
- Examples of best practices for integrating walkability into historical city centers, rural areas, and suburban settings. Success stories include Keene, Littleton, Portsmouth, Meredith and Exeter (page 16-28).
- Of particular help is the matrix guide tool (page 32-37), which provides policy guides/community principles for three geographical areas: rural, suburban and urban. Moreover, the tool identifies which policy guides are best for which audience, namely planners, municipalities, coalitions and individuals. This helps in determining land use and development, as well as transportation planning for walkable communities (page 29-30).
- The toolkit’s four-step planning process includes: 1) developing a community coalition, 2) conducting meetings and workshops, 3) conducting community assessments, and 4) developing action plans (page 15). Practical steps for community planners to follow are found in both the 2004 and 2012 toolkits. The New Hampshire organizations and departments who collaborated to update the 2012 toolkit are listed on page 9, providing local planners some ideas about who to include when developing walkable communities.
How to Use
The 2012 NHLWC Toolkit can be used by local planners anywhere who want to design walkable communities. Community planners will find it to be an excellent supplement to the 2004 Toolkit. Progress and participation so far, along with the goals to include all nine New Hampshire regional planners, bodes well for the economic health and well-being of New Hampshire.
View full report: New Hampshire Livable Walkable Communities Toolkit – 2012 (PDF – 1.5 MB)