CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A regional land use inventory to help six eastern Iowa counties plan for future growth is currently under way with the assistance of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) diagnostics program at Iowa State University.
The inventory is a cooperative venture between the Iowa State University (ISU) Extension GIS diagnostics program, the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), county governments in Linn and Johnson counties, and the Johnson/Linn County Public Leadership Group.
Mônica A. Haddad, an assistant professor of Community and Regional Planning at ISU who directs the GIS diagnostics program, said the inventory will provide spatial evidence of how land cover has changed over the past decade in Benton, Linn, Jones, Iowa, Johnson and Washington counties. She said the completed inventory should provide a better understanding of what areas in the region need more attention in future land use planning as well as good information on the areas that are growing. The region includes the major population centers of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
The analysis covers 66 incorporated communities in the six counties. Factors that will be studied include detailed population change from 1990 to 2000, changes in employment from 1990 to 2000, and an assessment of the change in the land cover between 1992 and 2002, based on what was located on the land in those two years, such as farm uses, vegetation, and residential, business and industrial uses. A fourth factor that will be studied is the planning currently in place in the region in the form of zoning ordinances and land use plans.
The inventory started in September and is expected to be completed by mid-December. The GIS diagnostics program contracted with ECICOG in Cedar Rapids to conduct the inventory for the six counties which are part of ECICOG. The final report is expected to include 40 or more maps of all the changes that have occurred in the area and a regional land use map based on the existing plans.
Haddad is being assisted in the survey by Adam Martin-Schwarze, an ISU community and regional planning graduate student who is completing the GIS Certificate offered by ISU. ECICOG officials who are providing assistance to the inventory include Mary Rump, transportation planner; and Chad Sands, land use planner.
Haddad said the completed inventory should provide a better understanding of what areas in the region need more attention in future land use planning as well as good information on the areas that are growing.