Grand Rapids has been working hard at becoming one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the nation and, after receiving national recognition at the 2012 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards earlier this year, it appears that it is succeeding. In addition to this recognition, the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) recently announced that Green Grand Rapids, an innovative update to the City’s Master Plan, will receive two awards for excellence in planning, further underscoring the success of the City’s sustainable initiatives.
Every five years, Grand Rapids is required to update both its Master Plan and the Parks and Recreation Plan. Officials working on the update chose to take a different route than some may have expected: Instead of updating the plan without asking the community’s opinion, figureheads chose to engage citizens in the creation of the resolution. Born from this decision, the Green Grand Rapids initiative was adopted in 2011, creating a new master plan that will direct the City in a way that reflects the desires of its citizens. The initiative focuses on green infrastructure and quality of life, particularly in regards to public health, recreation, the Grand River, natural systems and connectivity.
The Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan and the Grass Roots Initiative Award will be formally presented to the City of Grand Rapids at the annual MAP conference on October 17 for Green Grand Rapids. The conference–called Planning Michigan–will be held at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme and will start on October 17 and end on October 19.