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Sustainability Planning and Communities

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  • Environmental Health Priorities Project. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

     Resource Dimensions has been involved in the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Environmental Health Indicators Project and Environmental Health Coalition since 2006. The primary goal of the project is to improve human and ecosystem health. The processes include identifying, prioritizing, and reducing toxics through increased community participation in existing or planned programs and building sustainable community-based partnerships. The multi-year EPA funded project aims to examine and measure a range of environmental health - related issues. Resource Dimensions is providing the team with expertise to provide values for both ecosystem services (and damages) and the economic impacts associated with health care costs, lost productivity, and related economic valuations. As a critical an essential human resource, and one whose scarcity and quality often limit social and economic activity, and impact human health - water is the first resource that will be examined in the context of the project.
  • Community-based Fiscal Impact Assessment of Alternative Development Scenarios and Coordinated Development Assessment Protocol. City of Kirkland, Washington

     The project’s goal was to determine the full range of fiscal and economic implications of annexation on the existing and future proposed annexation area (PAA) and City businesses and residents. Resource Dimensions reviewed the City of Kirkland’s internal analysis and performed an independent analysis of the range of fiscal and economic development impacts associated with the City’s PAA. A 20-year cashflow revenue model grounded in various assumptions about City boundaries, current development and assumptions about future development, including timing and phasing by land use type, was developed to estimate the changes in the different affected taxable bases. In addition, forecast scenarios were run using CommunityViz® to determine and model the potential longer-term effects of proposed annexation on economic development in the PAA and the City under different scenarios. In association with Gordon Derr.
  • Rural Communities and the Role of Trust in Public Lands Management in the Midwest

     Resource Dimensions led a multiple case examination of the relationship between rural communities and nearby national forest and park lands throughout the Midwest. This study included three national forest/prairie units (Mark Twain National Forest, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and Hiawatha National Forest), two national park units (Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Ozark National Scenic Riverways) and their associated communities. The role of trust between local community members and the managing agencies was examined. The study included in-depth interviews with over 100 residents and agency personnel. Data was evaluated using qualitative analysis methods. The culmination of the project was a trust conceptual model and set of recommendations to managers for building meaningful and enduring relationships with local communities.
  • Highland Community Resources Planning Tool-kit Project Public Preferences for Public Sector Services and Service Provision Values. Highland Council

     The principal objective of this project was to identify what people throughout the Highland's Ross & Cromarty District want from the public sector, and given that resources are always limited, what services the public are most prepared to pay for. This study included the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to derive distinct monetary and qualitative values, for particular user groups, relative to the provision of public services in Scotland's Highland region. Resource Dimensions developed and implemented of the study approach, which included developing and implementing focus group protocol, design of choice experiment surveys, qualitative and quantitative analysis, report preparation, and presentation for the Highland Council and Scottish Executive Office.

    The use of choice experiments imparts a quantitative measure of how strongly people value selected public services, and their WTP for incremental changes or improvements in service provision. In addition to revealing the strength of public support for specific core services, the project assisted the public sector in becoming more adept at understanding their community's needs.

  • Economic Impact and Feasibility Assessment for Integrated Fund Development Plan for Parkland Acquisitions. PenMet Foundation.

     Resource Dimensions conducted a regional feasibility study that led to the development of the PenMet Foundation. The Foundation, formed in mid-2006, is a non-profit parks foundation that aids public park agencies (e.g. state, county, city and park districts) in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula region of Washington by strengthening park-based initiatives through private sector funding for land acquisitions, maintenance and capital projects, and a variety of park-based programs. In its first year of operation, committee workshops and various meetings were held to assist in the preparation of a strategic fund development strategy to meet the Foundation's goal of raising funds sufficient to acquire a $1.3-million 19-acre parcel of land for a community park. The land was purchased in October of 2007. Other work includes working to help develop the Foundation's strategic business and marketing plan, and the 2020 strategy to develop a $15-million endowment to help provide long-term support for public agencies responsible for parks in the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas.
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  • Sustaining Washington’s Methow Valley - Economic Impacts of Trails and Protected Lands. Methow Valley Sport Trails Association and the Methow Conservancy

     Resource Dimensions conducted a comprehensive multi-tiered analysis to determine the breadth and extent of local and regional economic benefits associated with the 200-km Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA) trail system in Washington’s Methow Valley and area conservation lands. The study determined the significance of these benefits on the long-term health and economic stability of Valley communities. The project included the use of interviews and a modified discrete choice contingent valuation survey conducted with MVSTA trail users (visitors), valley residents, and local businesses. The analysis employed a series of economic valuation methods including Hedonic and input/output models, benefits transfer, ecosystem service valuation for select natural resource services, fiscal impact assessment, and economic forecasting analysis. The total regional economic contributions of trails and protected lands of the Methow Valley were valued at nearly $30-million annually. Study findings were used to secure tax-based funding for trails expansion and increase overall support from the general public and private sector for new lands and trails.
  • Sustainable Pierce County

     Resource Dimensions worked with Friends of Pierce County, Pierce County Planning and Land Services staff, and a diverse group of project partners in the development and strategic planning of the multi-phased initiative, which began first stages of development in 2004. The SPC project would be a first for Washington State. SPC hinges on a whole-system analysis and development of a community resource 'tool-kit' aimed at providing an integrated decision support system that will provide guidance to communities throughout the county using a customizable GIS-based format that will assist communities in meeting or exceeding policy standards and moving on a uniform front toward a more sustainable future.

    Work performed includes development of proposed project framework, SPC “architecture,” working group outlines, 'tool-kit' products, and a 3-year budget that identifies funding resources. Work was presented to the County Executive and County Council and received initial funding for 2006-2008. The SPC project proposes to actively engage all with a stake in the future of Pierce County through a series of community-based assessments that will aid in development of an integrated sustainability protocol, for county-wide implementation.

    The multidimensional metrics of the community-assessment process and decision-support system will aid in developing the Sustainability Value Chain which recognizes that in order for local, community based planning activities to be effective, and consistent with the concepts of sustainability, a comprehensive vision county-wide vision must first be developed. SPC processes will facilitate the synthesis and evaluation of many complex data layers and provide information on solutions that will help forge equitable, environmentally and economically healthy places to live, work and play.

  • Public Attitudes on Environment and Land Use Conservation in the Western United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

     Resource Dimensions developed a three-phased process (including survey instruments and questionnaires) that included 12 focus groups, 210 interviews, and the distribution of 17,000 surveys across the spectrum of general public, government agencies and non-profit organizations throughout nine western states to obtain primary data on public views toward a range of land use, conservation and related environmental issues. The data was used to develop a decision model to extend the application of traditional economics and ecological constraints in facilitating regionally-based landscape-scale decisions and long-term strategic planning for conservation lands. The model developed acknowledges that a complex suite of factors including social value, environmental and land use policies, economics and environmental constraints interact to drive behaviors at the local and regional level.
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