Ten Iowa communities have been selected to participate in the Iowa's Living Roadways (ILR) Community Visioning Program in 2024.
This award-winning program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to assist community leaders and volunteers in making sound and meaningful decisions about the local landscape.
The 2024 visioning communities are Burt, Corydon, Donnellson, Dow City, Exira, Imogene, Keokuk, Maxwell, Stuart, and Waukon. Two of the communities had participated in the program previously: Donnellson (2004–05) and Stuart (2015-16). 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 environmental advocacy organization.
To qualify for the visioning program, a community must have a population 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.
The Community Visioning Program empowers local leaders through a planning process that results in a transportation enhancement plan reflecting the values and identity of the community.
A committee of local residents participates in a series of steps toward creating a conceptual design plan, including:
Investigating the physical and cultural dimensions of landscape issues
Setting goals for change
Developing strategies to meet those goals
Creating an implementation plan
Throughout the process, the committee receives support from the technical experts at Trees Forever, a professional landscape architecture firm, and the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture.
On November 2, representatives from each 2024 visioning community kicked off the visioning process in Ames at the ILR Annual Celebration, where they networked with program sponsors, representatives from past visioning communities, and experts on a variety of topics, ranging from soil types and green infrastructure to signage and site furnishings. The committees also engaged in a mapping activity to introduce program staff to their communities.
The sustainability and success of the program is evident by the number of communities with which it has collaborated. Since Iowa’s Living Roadways was created in 1996, 258 communities have participated in Community Visioning, 40 of which have gone through the process more than once.