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A share of the stake

by Robin LeBlanc | Jan 03rd, 2017 | Leave a comment

a blog by John Lavey at Community Builders,  “reprinted” with permission.   An interesting look at our use of the word “stakeholders” when we discuss community planning and development,   John has determined another term that, he believes, captures a truer essence of who those folks are …    Go here for full text

Revitalizing New England’s strip development

by Robin LeBlanc | Dec 08th, 2016 | Leave a comment



by guest Bill Flynn, Arnett Development Group (ADG) This first appeared in the December

New England consists mainly of a vast network of small rural towns connected by a web of two-lane state highways and back roads – a dispersed settlement pattern rooted deeply in an agricultural heritage. Historically, a town’s civic, cultural, and economic activities were concentrated in village centers, which in some cases, evolved into small downtown areas clustered around thriving factories and mills. It was a stable and for the most part, prosperous arrangement.

With the decline of New England’s textile industry along with rising energy and labor costs in the 1960s and 1970s, New England’s position as a major manufacturing and industrial center was undercut. By the end of the twentieth century, New England’s once bustling downtowns were deteriorating.

During the past few decades, we have made modest progress in stabilizing our failing downtowns, and now face a new challenge, the decline of the commercial strip, one of the culprits that helped contribute to the demise of downtowns, that is now itself threatened.  It is imperative that we look at restructuring the commercial strip in order to help stabilize and preserve the economic gains that have been made.

The Emergence of the Strip

While it can be argued that the emergence of strip development lead to the demise of downtowns, the root cause for the decline is a great deal more complicated. It takes a profound shift in social, cultural, and economic factors to change prevailing development patterns. This occurred following WWII, when the United States experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity. Programs like the federal home mortgage program and the development of the interstate highway system, helped stimulate a mass exodus from cities to surrounding suburbs. Congress also created massive subsidies for suburban commercial development by modifying the tax code, allowing owners to depreciate new commercial buildings in seven years, in place of the long-standing 40-year requirement. This coupled with cheap land prices stimulated a frenzy of development in suburbia. Towns quickly adopted zoning regulations, encouraging commercial development in a linear arrangement along major transportation corridors, thus giving rise to the “strip,” but ultimately harming downtowns.

Winds of Change 

Dominance of strip development began to erode in the late 1980s and 1990s with the development of suburban malls that thrived on the interstate system. Malls were able to accommodate nearly a hundred stores within a closed, climate-controlled environment. Growing environmental concerns and a subtle shift in lifestyle preferences have recently refocused attitudes toward suburban development. People are moving back to the cities, with urban gentrification bringing new life and economic vitality into exhausted city neighborhoods.

The Internet may be the biggest change that alters the development patterns of the 21st century. A recent survey of online shoppers reported that they now make 51% of their purchases online, up from 48% in 2015. Amazon’s e-commerce revenue rose 15.8% in the last 12 months alone, roughly the same as Walmart. However, Amazon posted $82.7 billion in sales, compared with $12.5 billion for Walmart, and that chasm keeps getting wider. Retail development, still a critical component of strip development, is undergoing  profound change.

Restructuring Versus Revitalizing
Revitalization efforts are slowly beginning to bring new life into many village centers and historic downtowns. Well-built abandoned mills and storefronts provide a viable framework to work with, which is not the case with the commercial strip. The challenge may not be the revitalization of the strip, but its complete restructuring. It will be up to local governments, property owners, and informed citizens to work together to redefine the role of the commercial corridor within their communities.

The Challenges

One of the first challenges to address is the linear arrangement of the commercial corridor. In many cases the corridor is relatively narrow, 200-400 feet in depth, with parcels encompassing one to ten acres, limiting configuration of new buildings. In order to break this mold, communities might consider adjacent land uses. This could offer opportunities to widen or entirely reconfigure the commercial corridor.

The character and quality of the building stock is the second challenge. Very few strip buildings inspire or stir nostalgic emotions, and were not built to last. The vast majority will need to come down, significantly impacting redevelopment costs.

Another challenge communities will face is the connectivity between the restructured strip and the rest of the community. Contemporary planning practices place a premium on walkability and intermodal connections. Maintaining sidewalks, bike trails, and shared-use paths connecting community social, civic, and recreational spaces will be vital.

The most important challenge may be igniting community leadership and nurturing effective partnerships between the local government, property owners, concerned citizens, and local businesses. Preserving downtowns, along with restructuring our strips, is key to saving New England’s economic future.

The Role Natural Capital Plays in Keeping our Villages Vibrant

by Guest Blogger | Sep 26th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Written by Guest Blogger Shannon H. Rogers, Ph.D. Assistant Professor/Ecological Economist at Plymouth State University.

Harken back to your Economics 101 class and you may recall the concepts of built capital and financial capital as major pieces of the basic economic equation for producing goods and services.  Others may be familiar with human capital and even the concept of social capital (one of my favorites especially when looking at the connection between social capital and walkability –  but that may be another blog post!).  All of these types of capital are key to thriving communities across the Globe.   In this post, I’d like to discuss one type of capital that isn’t always considered but arguably provides many of the benefits we enjoy in New Hampshire’s vibrant villages—that is Natural Capital.

New Castle

A quick definition of natural capital is:  the assets, such as ecosystems, that humans rely upon for many of our needs, including clean water, food, and carbon capture.   These assets provide a flow of goods and services for all of us called ecosystem services.

Many of us in the field of ecological economics study how we use and value our natural capital.  Ecological economics is still developing, but it has already shown its potential for helping us think about solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing society.  Have you ever come in from a wonderful day at the ocean or the lake or in the mountains and said, “wow, I really benefitted from New Hampshire’s natural capital today?”  If you haven’t, don’t worry, you are not alone. Natural capital is often hidden or taken for granted in the background, and because there haven’t been many ways to value it and incorporate it into decision making, it hasn’t always been considered in our decision making.

We are fortunate to be awash in natural capital here in New Hampshire, and it is arguably part of the New Hampshire advantage.  Some of us are studying how we use natural capital in the region and how we can better incorporate it into our environmental decision making.  My research group at Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment has been looking at this very question in partnership with colleagues at UNH and Dartmouth with support from the National Science Foundation through New Hampshire’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NH EPSCoR).  One new study we just published looked at the value of conservation land in removing pollutants, such as Nitrogen, before it reaches the impaired Great Bay Estuary.  Yes, you read that correctly, our natural capital (that is forests and watersheds) can help remove some pollutants as part of natural ecosystem functions and may help us save some money compared to building up engineered methods for purifying water and other services.

Mirror Lake

Flood mitigation is another benefit from natural capital we might have in our communities.  You may have heard of the valuable things wetlands can do for humans:  holding back floodwater is one of those.  For instance, a 1-acre wetland, 1-foot-deep can hold approximately 330,000 gallons of water (see Purdue Extension) and is often more cost effective than building a large flood control dam.  This is not to mention the habitat and water purification services wetlands also provide as well as the copious recreational benefits our natural landscapes can provide, something we would call co-benefits and have tried to understand in another, recent paper.

All of these services contribute to the vibrancy of our villages, so the next time you are thinking about a planning decision in one of our wonderful villages, I suggest taking a second to ask about the natural capital implications.  You’ll probably be happy you did –  because not only will you save money  but there likely will be many co-benefits for you and your fellow citizens to enjoy.   Let me know how it goes!

Caution: Outrageous views in Gilmanton.










All photos by S. Rogers.

Shannon H. Rogers, Ph.D
Assistant Professor/Ecological Economist
Center for the Environment
Plymouth State University
[email protected]


Thank you Shannon!

Have a blog You would like to share? Share it with us! [email protected]

Walkability: 101.3

by Michelle McDonald | Mar 15th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Welcome back! As you know, walkability has a lot of moving parts.

In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time author Jeff Speck urges us to reconsider how we interact with the street. Instead of defaulting to the car-crowded, congested strip malls, we can create safe and interactive streetscapes where the pedestrian fits – and fits comfortably. Speck notes, evolutionary psychologists tell us how all animals seek two things: prospect and refuge.1 Increasing comfort and finding the balance between open and enclosed space of a street, shapes sense of place, community identify and the local economy. In what ways can your community get comfy?

Concord 017
image source: Art Concord

Think Main Street| Communities across the country have been investing in “Main Street” programs that revitalize downtown arteries. Sidewalks or crosswalks, pocket parts or community squares, street-side shopping or outdoor dining: there are many options that can bring people together and ensure investment pay-off. According to a PlaceEconomics study on the Main Street Iowa Program, local governments in Iowa gained $10.8 million in revenue every year in property taxes from their Main Street rehabilitation efforts. Check out the Main Street initiatives in New Hampshire like those in Rochester, Ossippee and Concord.

Celebrate History| In New England, we often see colonial architecture and enchanting covered bridges. Why preserve those structures? Historic preservation can attract tourists, create jobs, provide tax incentives and be a great way to relish in your community’s uniqueness. Visit sources like NH Preservation Alliance and NH Division of Historical Resources to discover how your community can support its historic resources for both tourists and locals to enjoy. These active agencies (and Plan NH members!) provide information about grants, historic district tax credits, registering historic districts and more.

bs2bgPlant Trees| Like we mentioned in Walkability 101.2, more street activity means more cautious drivers. Street trees are additional objects that alert drivers and create a buffer for pedestrians. Trees provide a variety of other benefits. Economically, they increase property value. They reduce traffic noise and provide invaluable natural services by reducing air and water pollutants. In fact 1 tree can absorb 48 lbs of CO2 per year, and for every 5% tree cover added to a community, storm water is reduced by 2%. And, BONUS: trees provide psychological benefits by reducing stress and evoking feelings of happiness.

Next time you’re walking at home or visiting another community, notice your place within the built environment. What buildings, sidewalks, trees or opportunities are or aren’t present? Reflect.

Do you feel comfortable?

Stay tuned for the last session Walkability 101. Until then here are additional resources…

Project for public spaces

Main Street Preservation

1 Speck, 213.

Interview with Plan NH Member: The City of Dover

by Michelle McDonald | Feb 26th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Member Highlight- Interview with The City of Dover| Chris Parker is in his 19th year of working for the City of Dover. After working in various roles he was named City Planner in 2007 and serves as Assistant Manager now. But, Chris doesn’t think of Dover as is work place, it’s his home. 

Plan NH: What’s been happening in town? What’s changed over your time here? Dover_mural

CP: I have lived here for a long time. I don’t think about what has changed since 97, while working, but I look at what’s changed since I’ve been a kid. The community volunteerism and engagement have been the same [in a good way]. But, there is more opportunity and more diversity now–diverse community in economics and homes. We have the Liberty Mutuals as well as the Mom & Pop shops. We have the “McMansions” and unique apartments in the mill. And, over the past 5 years, people have embraced multi-family housing, and have embraced that housing being on top of coffee shops and businesses.

Dover has been leveraging the market and bridging the gaps, and has made decisions that took hold in 2007 chapter master plan, to embrace the downtown. We recognize the historical assets and reinforce that downtown is the way and where to build. We promote the idea that if you provide opportunity for people to live downtown, you will provide a lot of opportunity.

Some odd stats, Dover has more mass transit opportunities than anywhere in the state. Before they completed the Downeaster between Portland and Boston, Dover was the only station directly downtown surrounded by full services and attractions. I’m glad my predecessors fought for the station.

We encourage citizen leadership and civic engagement on regional and state level. We do a local engagement series in the fall to involve people with the municipality and on an economic level.

We don’t want to be Portsmouth or other neighboring communities, but looked at what they have and thought about what could happen in Dover.

Plan NH: What else makes your community dynamic and vibrant?

CP: We are unique with high quality amenities. And, there is a very strong sense of community and pride of the downtown. People like how it works. There is diversity in types of business, and there could always be more and more that are different. People like using the downtown, where you can buy a hammer and milk. We have figured out a way to have a tourism draw and a vibrant restaurant scene. And, have a reality check that you can go to the grocery store while downtown.

Plan NH: We have heard from a lot of people, Dover is transforming in a positive way. What would you say helped Dover transform from the old to the new?

CP: There is a very thoughtful, progressive demographic here. One benefit in [Dover’s] planning community is we have an open-minded constituency. People aren’t afraid of density in downtown or Accessory Dwelling Units or electric vehicle charging stations.

Plan NH: We noticed recently you tweeted, calling for opinion of transportation options from community members. What feedback did you get?

CP: We got about 150 responses with cohesive answers. A lot of drivers deal with congestion downtown and congestion at exit 7. The most outstanding aspects of the survey were the very low response on who uses the bus, but the fact people applauded having the bus and are willing to pay for it.

Plan NH: What about the renovation of the mills? How has that impacted community? There are apartment buildings and restaurants. We even noticed Dell. What was the before and after like?Dover Mills

CP: The mill life-cycle is an interesting concept. In the 1820’s it was an economic engine of one sort. In 1943, the City took control of it until the 1980’s. We looked at it from a vibrancy perspective, and thought the only way to have vibrant downtown is to have people living downtown. We looked at density and decided working parameters were needed in the downtown. There is so much character there. The mills have commercial potential, but commercial spaces don’t tend to pay for themselves. If you are a commercial business owner, landlords subsidize it. Mill owner can keep Dell there by offsetting rent cost balance using the economies of scale.

Plan NH: What challenges are faced within the City?

CP: One of the biggest is demographic shift. People who grew up here, who want the past, have different expectations of the community. Also, we face the opioid challenge in the community, like state and federal.

One challenge of being the oldest community in the state is that we don’t have much undeveloped land left. Most parcels have been through development once and will be redeveloped. Pro or con, it’s a challenge.

Also it is challenging maintaining the diversity. We don’t want all mobile homes and we don’t want all Mom & Pop shops. We want diversity, but the market drives so much. We want Dover to remain attractive and affordable.

Plan NH: What advice could you offer to other NH mill towns?

CP: Keep in mind that the shell of the building is most important part. What you see is the active mill, what’s inside is economic. You should be encouraging the adaptive reuse of the mills. There are things that prevent adaptive reuse, like safety, but you need to keep an open mind and relax density requirements. It pays off by adding more people and lowering the development cost, and it gets the tax development increase.

You need to help provide affordable housing. Someone needs to be able to go through all of the “home-changes” in one community. A lot of people in the mills are not fresh out of college they are the adults who had a house and now have downsized.

Plan NH: Is Dover planning for change over the next decades? If yes how?

CP: The biggest way is to continually update and review the Master Plan and Strategic Plan. We constantly keep our longer plan in mind. Also, we try to keep a flat infrastructure budget, keeping our roads maintained and not having financial spikes as we put out fires. Financially, the exception right now is the plan for a new high school. Continually planning long-range helps the impact because the plan is constantly being reviewed.

Plan NH: What would you recommend if someone were to visit Dover? What cultural and social assets are there to visit?

CP: I would tell people to park and go downtown. I think you’ll be able to see something you like. I would tell them to go to William Pond outside of town. More diversity in Dover: there is plenty of rural. The conservation commission does a great job protecting resources. Their work reinforces the importance in concentrating development, much of the rural portion of the community has been persevered.

What does it mean to you to be a Plan NH member? I think Plan NH is a great envoy that the built environment impacts the natural and vice versa. It offers educational opportunities and advocacy opportunities for people to learn about the value of the built environment and mix uses in the “village.” Also, the people in the group are very accessible and happy to talk about issues at hand.

What would you like to continue to see for Plan NH? Plan needs to continue to broaden its appeal. I would like to see APA partnerships or with OEP, and form partnership with other organizations. I would like to continue to see [Plan NH] forge relationships with other natural collaborators. And, be proud of what it does.

What would you like to see for the State? The state needs to invest in statewide planning activities. Due to changing demographic and volatility of the economy, we need to have strong statewide planning advocacy.


Now, check my interview with Dover resident, Tina: HERE.

Walkability 101.1

by Michelle McDonald | Nov 18th, 2015 | Leave a comment

You follow the sidewalk. It ends. You want a coffee from the across the street. No crosswalk. Cars zip past. You scurry—phew, you made it! You grab a coffee and wait. Yay, space! You can dart again… hoping you don’t spill your coffee. We’ve all been there.

A walk is just a walk, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Your walk could be:

1. Useful 2. Safe 3. Comfortable 4. Interesting and place you and other people first.

In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, Jeff Speck explores walkability and why communities that appropriately use its principles have bustling cores. Spoiler alert: walkability doesn’t only work in large cities– any town center can benefit. Let’s break down items 1-4.

Useful| Sidewalks and crosswalks are useful and give pedestrians places to walk. However, if there isn’t a destination, people might not use them. A walk should mix uses with a balance of and between activities. Walking to greenspace, a coffee shop, the post office and restaurants in the same area provides excitement andStreetview6 economic value.

Increase utility of a walk, think creatively about parking. Parking can often make-or-break downtown visits. Too many spaces? Create a destination; energize a spot with an art display or temporary vendor. Too few spaces? Orient the parking to maximize space. Speck also notes the importance of collaboration between businesses who share parking areas or private lots. Free parking isn’t really free — someone somewhere pays. And, when spaces remain vacant in empty downtowns, someone still pays.

Marrying other transportation types to walking can also benefit a community. Buses, light rails, subways and bike lanes can help enhance walkability because they take individuals to destinations. As we like to say, they provide options for getting about. In any case, non-car transportation options must meet the needs of people and community before it can be truly helpful. Neighborhoods can be walkable without these options, but walkable cities depend on them.

Like Speck mentions throughout his book, cars are fine but put people first and cars in their place. By doing so, your community will be recharged and open to a new world of possibilities. Changes will take time, energy and money—but if this is your community’s shared vision, it will be worth it. Stay tuned…

Some resourcewalkingdwntwns: Jeff Speck Ted Talk, Boston WalkUp case Study, General walkability sources,Small towns vs cities, Parking problems/solutions resource

Planning for the People: Placemaking

by Robin LeBlanc | Sep 30th, 2015 | Leave a comment


Imagine somewhere you love to visit at home or on vacation. You dream about strolling on that sidewalk bustling with activity from the local coffee shops and bicyclists’ parking. You smile thinking about your neighborhood park with its swing sets, community murals and the summer lemonade stand. These may be examples of placemaking, or as we like to think of it, human-scale planning that creates a sense of place. No matter the location, these places evoke feelings of safety, comfort and creativity.

Placemaking is a new concept for planning that makes people the priority—instead of cars. Additionally, this multidimensional planning is grassroots, collaborative and visionary. Public space design at human-scale is accessible and allows multiple modes of entry. At human-scale, surrounding buildings support its culture. The result: A useful, comfortable and social space.

Before your community plans a new project, create a vision. Start small by testing public spaces you wish to see change. For example, try using existing buildings and underused parks or parking lots to hold public markets, craft fairs or concerts. The projects may succeed or fail, but regardless, testing the space for activities can benefit the community by sparking ingenuity AND preventing expense if the activity does not work. As your community moves forward, remember these human-scale public spaces should serve more than one purpose; bring a diverse population together for a variety of planned or unplanned events. Here are low-cost ways to embrace underused and uncomfortable spaces:

By starting with small spaces and incremental changes, your community will continually shape its vision making it more resilient against economic, demographic and environmental fluctuations.

Does your community already have many public spaces that encompass principles of placemaking? Has your community implemented human-scale design that makes you feel safe, happy and creative?

Please share your story with us!

Learn more: and


The Damming Story of Hill NH

by Robin LeBlanc | Feb 17th, 2015 | Leave a comment

The following was submitted by Andrew Cushing, a native of Grafton, NH, recent grad of Bowdoin College and currently studying for a Masters in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania:

The year was February 1937 and Fred Clark, a recent Cornell architecture graduate, rumbled along the elm-lined main street of Hill, New Hampshire, a one mile stretch of stately old homes paralleling the Pemigewasset River. Rumors had reached the state’s planning circles that new flood control projects would inundate Hill village and Clark, the director of the new Planning and Development Commission, had a thought. What if he could sell to the threatened village his dream of an entirely new village? Hill’s main street in 1937 included nearly one hundred buildings: two churches, a newly constructed school, a brick town hall, large rambling farmhouses in the Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian style, small mills, a depot and freight house, and general stores. In the summertime, people described Hill as the quintessential small town. Its residents played baseball, ate at church suppers, played in the town band, enjoyed parades under the shadows of the elms, greeted one another from their front porch.  1   Damming the Pemigewasset River would destroy Hill’s physical and community fabric.

Hill story full text

A typical house in New Hill Village
A typical house in New Hill Village

Old Main Street
Old Main Street


Hill Congregational Church ca 1900
Hill Congregational Church ca 1900


photo by John Chandler
photo by John Chandler


From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941



[1] Steven P. Adler and Edmund F. Jansen, “Hill Reestablishment: a Retrospective Community Study of a Relocated New England Town,” (Fort Belvoir, VA: The Institute, 1978), 11.



Does where you live support aging in place or community?

by Robin LeBlanc | Dec 09th, 2014 | Leave a comment

We recently attended the Tri-State (ME, NH, VT) Roundtable on Aging.  Maine is certainly light-years ahead of most states in addressing the issue.  (Maine)  Speaker of the House Mark Eves opened the day and  told us about the Maine Aging Initiative – one of collective impact (although he did not use that term) in intent as “Maine’s business, finance, health care and higher education leaders working with aging advocates .. find innovative ways to help older adults age in in place and build a stronger workforce.” (from program description).

The morning continued with three viewpoints about the economic impacts and challenges of an aging population in our rural states.  Not only is money spent differently (and in many cases, less of it), there is a growing awareness of the impact on our local governments – fewer dollars to support them, as well as fewer people to run them.

(Will these smaller towns fade away?  We think not.  But they will need to change their governance structures, and rethink their places/roles in their regions. )

But back to aging in place, or aging in community.  What does this mean?  Aging in place means being able to stay in your own home as you get older and your needs change.  Aging in community means that even if you don’t stay in the home where you raised your family, or have lived since you were born, you can still stay in the same town as you age.

Keep in mind, this applies to all of us – it is not about them, or, as one of my favorite editorialists would say, The Other.

What do we in our towns and neighborhoods need to be thinking about to support our aging friends, family and – yep, selves?

This is new territory for us.  Never before on the planet have we had such a great percentage of folks past their “prime” years.  While many in their mid-sixties and even seventies do not consider themselves elderly, or even old, at some point we are all going to face mobility issues, sight and/or hearing issues, and/or even cognitive challenges that go with getting older.

This is, indeed a double-whammy.  Not for everyone, but many will experience both age and disability.  (Today, almost 20% of the US population is considered “disabled” in some way.  Couple that with aging, and one estimate has that by 2030 – not far away – fully a third of the population will be over 65 or have a disability – or both.)

Certainly, there are many, many approaches to addressing this, and there is lots of good work going on right here in the Granite State.

But it’s the built environment and its role that has not been tackled yet.  That’s where Plan NH, and its Vibrant Villages NH initiative, come in.   This is what we will be exploring for the foreseeable future.

Community design.  Viable options for getting people around.  Choices for living spaces (eg, for downsizing, for accommodating challenges).  Having amenities nearby.  These are all elements of a healthy community anyway – now we will also need to focus on those that support and aging population.

Look at where YOU live or work.  How easy will it be to be there in 10 or 20 years? From no steps (inside and out) to smooth, wide (well-lit) sidewalks to wide doorways to accommodate a wheelchair … there are many things to consider.  How would you get groceries, your hair cut, to a doctor or dentist when you no longer drive?

We have a lot to learn about this, and we will be doing so in the months ahead and sharing with planners, designers and developers as well as municipal folks themselves.  And you, Dear Reader. Stay tuned.



Is YOUR community ready for active transportation?

by Robin LeBlanc | May 20th, 2014 | Leave a comment

Healthy Eating Active Living NH (HEAL NH) continues its series on Active Transportation with a workshop addressing readiness.  It will focus on teaching attendees

  • how to assess whether your community is ready for active transportation projects
  • at what level are community members ready/not ready
  • how to bring partners into your network.

The workshop will also look at real world examples of how  readiness assessments can be or could have been implemented in communities.

The session is June 3, 9am-noon, at the NH Department of Transportation located at 7 Hazen Drive – Room 114, Concord (J.O. Morton Building):

The session is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required to hold reserve your seat. Lunch will be provided at 11:30am and there will be optional networking until 1pm.

Please RSVP (and direct any questions) to Nik Coates at [email protected], or 415-4263.



  • Scot Foster: Physical Activity Coordinator, NH Department of Health and Human Services
  • Nicholas Coates (Nik): Active Living Coordinator, Foundation for Healthy Communities



  • 9:00am-9:50am: Using the community readiness assessment tool to determine your community’s readiness for active transportation
  • 10:00am-10:30am: Mock interviews
  • 10:30am-11:30am: Examples of how community readiness assessments worked or could have worked in NH communities
  • 11:30am: Lunch arrives
  • 11:30am-12:00pm: Q&A, Wrap Up
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm: Networking (optional)


Desired Outcomes:

  • Know how to use the community readiness assessment tool and have practiced using it.
  • Know how to identify who to interview in a community.
  • Know how to develop and implement a plan for a readiness assessment in a community.

Materials from the previous sessions here:

If you are unable to make this session, but would like to participate in future active transportation learning opportunities, please note these additional opportunities through HEAL NH.

  • June 5: NH Planners Association Annual Conference at UNH Durham Complete Streets How Tow: Plenary and Breakout session – Registration at
  • June 17, 10 a.m.-noon: Active Transportation Technical Assistance conference call with Nik Coates and Tim Blagden (Bike-Walk Alliance of NH) – 866-906-9888 / Participant Code 3974286
  • Additional sessions are currently being organized for the Summer and Fall and more details will follow in the coming weeks.