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The PlanIt Podcast is the new part of the 2017 PlanIt Training Program on Comprehensive Plan Updates. This series will feature monthly episodes on a variety of topics that are not required elements of a comprehensive plan through conversations with planning experts and professionals outside of the Metropolitan Council.

The PlanIt Podcast is the new part of the 2017 PlanIt Training Program on Comprehensive Plan Updates. This series will feature monthly episodes on a variety of topics that are not required elements of a comprehensive plan through conversations with planning experts and professionals outside of the Metropolitan Council.
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The PlanIt Podcast is the new part of the 2017 PlanIt Training Program on Comprehensive Plan Updates. This series will feature monthly episodes on a variety of topics that are not required elements of a comprehensive plan through conversations with planning experts and professionals outside of the Metropolitan Council.




Episode 28: Economic Development in Kenya – Hamed Ehsani

Following Episode 26 of our podcast about planning in Scotland, we continued exploring planning topics in another part of the world. In this episode we had a conversation about economic development and private investments in Nairobi, Kenya; specifically the Village Market development complex. Hamed Ehsani, Managing Director of Green Hills Investments talked about the process, opportunities, and challenges of developments in Kenya.


Episode 27: Equitable Economic Growth – Tawanna Black

As the population of the Twin Cities metro area grows, the economy has become more prosperous. However, the impacts and positive outcomes of the growth in the economy are not distributed equitably in the region. Some geographic areas or populations have been excluded from the prospects of a strong economy. In this episode, Tawanna Black, from the Center for Economic Inclusion talks about the role of planning and local governments in advancing equity in economic growth.


Episode 26: Planning in Scotland – Alan Brown

Have you ever thought about how urban planning in other countries around the world is similar or different from the US? Are planning issues, priorities, and processes different from one place to another? How can we learn from each other and employ best planning practices across the globe? In this episode, we explored planning in Scotland, since it is similar in size to the state of Minnesota. Alan Brown, Planning Officer with Dundee City Council talks about planning in Scotland and how...


Episode 25: Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) - Marcus Bush

When we consider planning for local wastewater infrastructure, we hear a lot about inflow and infiltration. What is inflow and infiltration? Why does it matter and how can we plan for it over the long-term? This podcast explores the intricacies of this topic and provides insight into this important planning consideration and how to best reduce inflow and infiltration through collaboration and use of data.


Episode 24: Arterial BRT – Katie Roth

By 2040, the population of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is forecasted to increase by more than 500,000 people. As the region grows and additional households move into denser areas, the need for a sustainable public transportation system becomes even more evident. Twin Cities transit system has been expanding and providing a variety of options for users. One of the newer system expansions are Arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines. In this episode, Katie Roth, Manager of Arterial BRT...


Episode 23: Environmental Reviews - Kristin Mroz

We often hear about projects that have to go through an environmental review process, such as a stadium or light-rail projects. However, environmental reviews encompass much more than high profile projects. Many housing developments, highway improvements and stream realignments are also subject to environmental review. In this episode, Kristin Mroz from the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) discusses different types of environmental reviews, the requirements, and the steps needed to...


Episode 22: Renewable Resources - Brian Ross

While planning for Solar access is a requirement of comprehensive planning in the metro area, other renewable resources can be a great source of energy and economic stability. Brian Ross, Program Director at Great Plains Institute (GPI) walks us through the importance of incorporating planning for renewable resources in long-range and everyday planning efforts.


Episode 21: Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) – Eric Wojchik

In the recent years, we have seen changes in the climate, resulting in many issues around the country, such as flooding, fire, health impacts, hot summers, and rainy winters. While a changing climate encompasses a wide range of disciplines, planners are in a unique situation to prepare and plan for a better future. In this episode, Eric Wojchik, Senior Planner at the Metropolitan Council, will talk about the regional Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) project, and resources for...


Episode 20: Shoreland and Floodplain Planning – Matt Bauman

Minnesota is well known for the extensive number of lakes and waterbodies that exist within the state. These natural resources are invaluable assets that should be protected from negative impacts of development around them, mainly in the more urbanized area. In this episode, Matt Bauman (651-259-5710), Floodplain and Shoreland Planner with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), explains standards and measures for better protection of shoreland and floodplain areas at the...


Episode 19: Open and Standardized GIS Data - Geoff Maas

Planners use geospatial data on a regular basis. Some use it to create simple maps, while others need data for nuanced projects. Ultimately, maps and data are visual tools that allow for better informed decision making. Geoff Maas, MetroGIS Coordinator at the Metropolitan Council, talks about his efforts in making GIS data in the Twin Cities region open and standardized, and how it benefits the planning profession.


Episode 18: Value and Future of Planning - Lyle Wray

We have covered different planning topics since the beginning of our PlanIt Podcast Series. But we didn’t start with what the value of long-range planning is, and what could the future of planning look like. What are some considerations to keep in mind when thinking long term? In this episode, Lyle Wray, the Executive Director of Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) in Connecticut, sat with us during a recent visit to the Twin Cities to talk about the value of long-range planning,...


Episode 17.5: Subscribe to Us!

PlanIt is a monthly (for the most part!) podcast on a variety of planning topics related to comprehensive plans. If you have an idea for a new episode, email us at Stay tuned for the next episode!


Episode 17: Economic Development – Dave Gontarek & Nora Riemenschneider

You most likely have heard the term ‘Economic Development’ a lot, but what does it really mean and how do different cities approach it? In this episode we talked with Dave Gontarek, Principal Project Manager, and Nora Riemenschneider, Economic Development Program Coordinator at the City of St. Paul about their experiences and ideas for successful economic development.


Episode 16: Green Zones - Kelly Muellman

Planning can at times create unintended consequences, mostly for lower income communities and communities of color. It's the job of planners and policy makers to address these inequitable outcomes. Green Zones Initiative in Minneapolis is a concept to ensure these efforts are intentional, organized, and timely. Another similar effort is EcoDistricts that focuses on sustainable communities. In this episode, Kelly Muellman, Sustainability Program Coordinator at the City of Minneapolis...


Episode 15: Housing Finance - James Lehnhoff

Planning for a community includes thinking about the population and their housing needs in the future. Local governments need to be mindful of the policies they adopt and resources they provide. In this episode, James Lehnhoff from Ehlers talks about housing, housing finance, tools and how to meet your community's future needs.


Episode 14: Relationship between Developers and Cities - Peter Brown

Change is inevitable. Communities are constantly changing and evolving due to new demands, technology, public spaces, and more. Private sector developers play an important role in shaping the future of the communities. So, what is their relationship like with Cities and planners? And how can this relationship be utilized to achieve positive outcomes for all parties? In this episode, Peter Brown who consults with both sides, explores ways to ensure best results.


Episode 13: Value of Neighborhood Groups in Planning - Tabitha Montgomery & Lisa Barajas

Neighborhood is a term loosely used when talking about any certain area of a community. But Neighborhood Groups exist in many communities across the Twin Cities region regardless of the exact terminology and size of the neighborhood. These group structures can be a valuable conduit in connecting with the residents. In this episode, we explore the value of collaboration between Neighborhood Groups and Cities in local planning processes and best practices. Our guests are Tabitha Montgomery,...


Episode 12: Placemaking and Community Engagement - Max Musicant

Space and place define our cities. According to Max Musicant, the Founder and Principal at The Musicant Group, place and space can be used for creative activities, or to foster community engagement with groups who may not normally be at the table. In this episode, we talk about placemaking and community engagement with underrepresented populations. We recorded this episode at the Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis, where the Musicant Group helped change the use of common spaces in the...


Episode 11: Equity in Transportation - Heidi Schallberg

Recently, communities are having more conversations about equity, engaging with the topic in a variety of ways, from human resources management to parks planning. However, there are other planning areas that have not clearly addressed equity. When we think of transportation planning, we often inherently think of it through an equity lens, but we don’t convey this or clearly identify equity in our transportation planning. Going forward, we will need to clearly link equity and transportation...


Episode 10: Partnering with Colleges & Universities - Mike Greco & Maria Dahmus

Agencies, local governments, and community groups frequently face challenges in their work due to limited resources. They may not be able to start/finish projects because of insufficient staff time, funds, or priorities. In these situations, academic institutions can be a great resource to build capacity and support good planning practices. Local schools, colleges, and universities provide a connection between students and communities. In this episode, we explore two of these programs, the...