V2: Oral Presentation C Friday, 11:00 – 11:30 am C French River Room

Twin Cities Regional Planned Land Use Database ­ 2020: A Technical Overview

Paul E. Hanson
Metropolitan Council
Mears Park Centre
230 East 5th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101-1626

The Metropolitan Council has developed a geographic information system (GIS) planned land use database of the entire seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area for the year 2020. The information was derived from acquired digital data or paper maps included in the community’s comprehensive plan. The combined regional database utilizes a uniform regional classification scheme, developed through a collaborative process involving local and regional perspectives, that allows us to visualize the information in ways that has been difficult to do in the past. The database is intended to provide a foundation for regional planning among communities and a means to compare locally adopted land use designations. Although, the transcription of the individual community’s planned land use information into the database was relatively straightforward, the translation of the information into a uniform classification scheme proved challenging. The variability of content and codes between communities was nearly as vast as the number of communities – 190. Challenges ranging from conflicting land-use definitions to questions of spatial accuracy merited an adoption of consistent re-classification procedures and assumptions to effectively level out the variability among communities. In some cases, only open discussions with community directors, planners, or GIS staff were effective in resolving certain challenges. Although the comparability among communities has greatly improved due to these efforts, some key challenges, such as acceptable housing density ranges, remain. With the guidance of MetroGIS, a work group of community development professionals who represent urban core, suburban, rural, and freestanding communities, these remaining challenges will hopefully be minimized in the future.