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Land Use Planning Primer - Lake Superior Decision Support Project

The Lake Superior Decision Support Project focuses on the collaborative work of the Center for Rural Design with the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) to create a Land Use Planning Primer for Lake Superior-based communities.

The primer consists of planning tools linked to geographic information systems (GIS) data and maps to assist rural communities situated in the Lake Superior Basin in preparing land use plan on a local level.

The primer is targeted for community leaders who are involved in developing land use plans, comprehensive plans, or planning frameworks for their communities, and secondly, those who work with rural communities on design and planning.

The larger Lake Superior Decision Support Project was borne out of several related issues:

  • Increasing demand on rural resources from tourism and leisure activities, demand for forest products, and the impacts of these demands on the character, settlement patterns, and resources of rural communities
  • Requests from local communities and planners for tools to develop land use plans
  • Local and global interests in protecting the ecological integrity of the Lake Superior Basin
  • A recognition that one of the major impacts of increased resource use and extraction is the cumulative effects of a large number of small land use decisions spread across time and space

The Lake Superior Decision Support Project, through its GIS data and maps and this primer, responded to these issues by providing local communities and their governments with tools to more effectively develop land use plans and their associated regulations which control the day to day land use activities.

Partners in the project include University researchers from the Center of Rural Design and the NRRI's Center for Water and the Environment, community and local government officials and planners.

The Lake Superior Decision Support Project provides three tools which could serve as models for use by other communities dealing with issues of stewardship, sustainable uses of their communities, issues of rural design, and the creations of land use plans.

The project's tools include: 1) a synoptic data base and maps for the Lake Superior Basin available to local communities through the Internet as well as other media, 2) a Land Use Planning Primer also available through the Internet and other media, and 3) interactive kiosks available at visitor centers as well as other educational locations.

Check out the report