Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning accepting applications for the 2021 program year

September 9, 2020

The Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program is currently accepting applications for the 2021 program. Eligible communities are those with populations of fewer than 10,000 residents, existing transportation-related issues, and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate their time and talent to the visioning process. Only communities located within one mile of a state or federal highway will be selected.

The Visioning Program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to empower local leaders through a planning process that results in an enhancement plan that reflects the values and identity of the community.

Artwork on a grain elevator in Woodbine, Iowa, and a prairie flower sculpture in the foreground.Public participation is the key to identifying the needs and desires of a community. Community visioning program staff engage client community residents using a variety of methods to ensure a more inclusive public process. In larger communities, random-sample surveys are sent to 300 households to better understand how residents use the local transportation system. Program staff conduct focus groups with a variety of user types, including parents, youth, older adults, people with mobility issues, and active recreationists, to identify factors that affect transportation use in communities.

Community installations give residents flexibility to view design proposals and provide feedback when it is convenient for them and bring attention to potential project sites. All communities have their own webpage on the Community Visioning website, where residents can access meeting information, design proposals, and eventually final products. The program engages the public on a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Communities selected to participate are required to contribute $2,000 (either cash or in-kind) toward program implementation. In return, the visioning program provides professional services valued at more than $80,000. Since 1996, 244 communities throughout the state have benefited from the program. More than a dozen communities have gone through the visioning process more than once.

The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Landscape Architecture Extension and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit with a mission to plant and care for trees and the environment by empowering people, building community and promoting stewardship.

Communities interested in applying to the 2021 Community Visioning Program can download an application on the program website (

Applications must be postmarked by October 15, 2020. Selections will be announced at the end of October.


Sandra Oberbroeckling, Extension Program Specialist, 515-294-3721,

Brad Riphagen, Trees Forever, 515-370-1291,