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City to celebrate ‘Community Planning Month’

October 17, 2013

City of DeKalb mural at First Street and Lincoln HighwayFrom where people live to how they commute, community planning plays a major role in daily life – often more than people might realize.

This October, celebrate local communities and the many individuals who help make their neighborhoods special during National Community Planning Month.

This year’s theme for Community Planning Month, “People and Places,” highlights the key role planners play in envisioning the future and addressing the needs of people and communities.

Designated by the American Planning Association (APA), the month-long celebration honors the process and the individuals involved in creating communities that are desirable places to work, live and recreate. Planning plays a vital role in the day-to-day happenings of citizens in every community from getting to work or school to where citizens live and shop.

“Planning is how we manage and control change that we know will happen over time. Recognizing this change and that it will happen and that it can and should be managed is one of the main points of celebrating National Community Planning Month,” said Derek Hiland, the City of DeKalb’s principal planner.

Planning is a process of envisioning, mapping or otherwise conceiving how a community will look, grow and define itself – its characteristics, attributes and identity. Planning is comprehensive and community-focused, and enables greater choices for residents (senior citizens, workers, children, disabled, business owners, students and elected officials) to consider what is best for the whole community.

As communities continue to change and grow, planners play an important role in ensuring that new developments are designed and built in harmony with existing surroundings.

National Community Planning Month logoPlanners must carefully balance the needs and desires of residents against the challenges presented by growth and change. Planners do not just focus on where to locate (or site) a building, but also consider how that decision impacts the safety of the community and the existing character of the community, how it impacts the environmental balance and if the decision encourages social and economic diversity.

Planning also strives to give residents choices.

From the type of home an individual lives in, such as a condominium, apartment, town home or single family, to how an individual gets around, whether taking mass transit, walking, bicycling or driving, planning helps ensure communities address the needs of everyone.

To reach those goals, residents, community leaders and staff have and will continue to join forces to update the community’s vision, the communiversity’s mission and the city’s comprehensive plan. City leaders hope these efforts will set development and redevelopment into motion.

One of the first things businesses ask when considering locating or expanding in DeKalb is “Where can I build?” The city’s comprehensive plan helps answer that question. If a community can answer these types of basic questions quickly it helps companies make decisions that can in turn benefit the community.

Lastly, to honor and celebrate National Community Planning Month and this year’s theme “People and Places” in DeKalb, the City of DeKalb’s Planning and Development Division will be hosting a National Community Planning Month Photo Contest.

“People and Places in DeKalb” will be represented by favorite places in DeKalb and/or people of the City of DeKalb that displays the greatest artistic and technical quality while connecting to the People and Places theme. This is your chance to share and showcase your talent.

Photo of a cameraContest photos will be divided into six categories with two winners from each age group:

  • Children through Grade 5
  • Grades 6 to 8
  • Grades 9 to 12
  • NIU students
  • Adults
  • Seniors 60 and older

The 12 winning photographs will be selected and featured monthly on the city’s website and Facebook page and displayed in City Hall.

The contest period continues through Friday, Nov. 15. Those eligible must feature people or places in DeKalb. The entry form is available online.

For more information, call (815) 748-2060.