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PlanET Envisions a Sustainable Region

July 17, 2011 | More News
MPC Heads Effort to Create a Plan for Livable Communities

PlanET Region

In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development announced that the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, submitted by the City of Knoxville and prepared by MPC and TPO staff, for our five county area will be awarded $4.3 million by HUD.

In this effort, a diverse consortium of organizations from across the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) will work togetherto address the common issues of the region and identify opportunities to create a more livable East Tennessee. MPC has been asked to manage this initiative, which is being referred to as Plan East Tennessee (PlanET).

The Knoxville MSA is made up of five counties (Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union) covering more than 1,900 square miles with total population of 680,444, ranking it third among metropolitan areas in Tennessee. The Knoxville region struggles with poor air quality, sprawl, high transportation and housing costs, a prevalence of obesity well above the national average, and is one of the most challenging places in the country to live with asthma.

The region's problems are not isolated in pockets throughout the region, rather they span the entire area, and while efforts have been undertaken in recent years to address some of the problems, those efforts have occurred primarily at sub-regional levels which could, at best, achieve small results, not areawide solutions.

Over the next 36 months, PlanET seeks to create and implement an ambitious regionwide, multi-jurisdictional plan that will integrate land use, environment, infrastructure and public health elements in a comprehensive manner to address area needs. The plan will still allow for growth, while progress can be made toward alleviating area issues by introducing new ways of thinking in order to create a sustainable vision for the future.

For a region that has never embraced a shared vision, one of the most profound outcomes for this process will be the establishment of a committed coalition of leaders that will follow the plan through implementation and continue the regional dialogue. To begin to comprehensively and collaboratively address livability principles will be a huge step forward for the Knoxville region.

The official start date of the grant period was February 1, 2011 with the planning initiative concluding on February 1, 2014. If you would like to receive future emails about this initiative, please contact Amy Brooks at amy.brooks@knoxtrans.org.

Posted 07-21-2011