Do-It-Yourself Urban Planning

A new urban design center in St. Paul, Minnesota, allows residents to try their hand at city planning in hopes of educating the public about managing growth and development.

"On St. Paul's University Avenue, you can order Cambodian noodles, buy a secondhand mannequin and replace the muffler on your old Buick.

And starting today, you can create your own streetscape.

A do-it-yourself urban design center offering equipment, software and technical expertise to the public will open today at 1956 W. University Ave.

The storefront office, called U-Plan Community Planning Studio, is a land-use wonk's dream, but it is already generating some grass-roots interest.

With big-box retailers sniffing around and a light-rail line on the horizon for University Avenue, supporters say it gives the little guy a new weapon in the ongoing battle to reshape the Central Corridor.

In the center's sparse storefront office, interested groups can equip themselves with GIS mapping software, design tools and mega-size printers designed to help them create their own development blueprints along the avenue."

Full Story: Land-use planning for the masses

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