Monday, November 7, 2011

What will 2040 look like?

Close your eyes and use your imagination. What do you think the Treasure Valley will look like in 25 years?

That is a question we’ll be asking Treasure Valley residents next year as COMPASS undertakes a scenario planning process to develop a preferred future growth scenario upon which to base Communities in Motion 2040.

However, that is also a question we’re asking elementary age children in the Treasure Valley to answer now as part of the Communities in Motion 2040 Youth Art Contest.

COMPASS develops, or updates, a regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties every four years. These plans look 20+ years into the future and are used to prioritize transportation and other projects based on public input and how the region is likely to grow.

Communities in Motion 2035 is the current regional-long range transportation plan. The next version of the plan, Communities in Motion 2040, is being developed and is scheduled to be complete by September 2014.

COMPASS strives to include individuals throughout the valley in its planning process. However, typically, most people that choose to become involved are not the ones who will be most affected by a long-range plan.

For example, in the year 2040, I’ll be 74. I assume I’ll still live in the area, but likely (hopefully?) won’t still be working. On the other hand, my children will be 37 and 38 years old. It is their generation that will be the commuters, homeowners, and business-people when Communities in Motion 2040 reaches maturity.

To engage children their age and encourage them to think about the future of our valley, COMPASS is holding an art contest in which elementary age students are asked to draw or paint what they think their neighborhood, community, or city will look like in 25 years.

Entries are being accepted now and are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 16. Information has been sent to local schools and is also available online (scroll down to “Public Participation and Outreach”).

Winners will be announced in early January. Winning entries will be displayed at the COMPASS office, at COMPASS and community events throughout the valley, and on the COMPASS web site at I’ll also announce the winners here in my blog.

I’m excited to see the future as imagined by our children. Who knows? The seemingly wildest ideas may be those that come true.

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.