Low-Carbon Suburban Infill Modeling with INDEX
Montgomery County, Maryland planners are using INDEX scenario software to set the stage for low-carbon suburban infilling spawned by a growing biosciences industry in the 3,000-acre East County Science Center. The goal is a climate-friendly mixed-use center plan to support job growth around the FDA White Oak research campus, using greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction strategies from the county's 2009 climate protection plan.
The county's selection of INDEX follows an EPA evaluation of sketch tools that compared INDEX, PLACES, and Envision Tomorrow. The 2010 EPA study prepared by ICF International recommended INDEX because of its regular use with travel models, its California-compliant assessment of GHG impacts, and a public-friendly interface. According to Eric Graye, Montgomery County's Planning Division Supervisor, "INDEX offers great insight into how effective master plan changes can be in making progress towards the county's GHG reduction goals."
Montgomery County's use of the tool joins other INDEX applications underway in Austin, New Orleans, Birmingham, and the seven-county region surrounding Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. INDEX is an integrated suite of interactive GIS tools offered by Criterion Planners of Portland Oregon for informing community planning processes and comparing sustainability options. Information and a demo are at www.crit.com.
Posted April 25, 2011
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