Overview

THINKAlex is a community-driven planning effort to look at the City of Alexandria as a whole and vibrant community in the heart of Louisiana. The planning process will focus on housing, transportation and land use and will inform the creation of a Unified Development Code.

These components of a healthy city will also be addressed in the context of the Physical, Social, Cultural, Organizational, Educational, and Economic domains of Alexandria. Together, the citizens, businesses, organizations, and public officials will create plans to guide future growth and development in Alexandria towards greater overall community resiliency.

Most importantly, the planning process will be focused on community engagement like never before in Alexandria. View the schedule and come out to talk with your neighbors about the future of the city!

The THINKAlex process has been made possible by the following entities:

More Information:

What’s THINKAlex?
THINKAlex is a bold and innovative community-driven initiative focusing on creating effective, long-term, strategies and solutions for transportation, land use, housing, zoning, and a revision of the municipal development code.

THINKAlex is funded through a $567,000 grant from the Office of Community Development and United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the second-largest award of its kind in the State of Louisiana. In addition to the City, THINKAlex is spearheaded by Concordia, LLC, an internationally renowned and award-winning innovator in urban development and architecture.

This initiative is a significant step forward facilitating a participatory design process fueled by ideas and contributions from the Alexandria community. Since its inception, residents across Alexandria shared their thoughts and opinions about the future of the City in a series of neighborhood and citywide meetings. “THINKAlex is based on Alexandria’s greatest asset: its people. This final community meeting allows residents to provide critical input and review the plan’s vision and actions to implement the plan with proven 21st century solutions,“ said Mayor Jacques Roy.

What does the plan hope to achieve?
The THINKAlex Resiliency Plan deeply integrates community knowledge and engagement with technical planning expertise. This plan considers “resiliency” in the context of the total community rather than simply disaster preparedness. Though planning for preparation against natural disasters is an important element resiliency planning, the THINKAlex Plan addresses elements of resiliency as experienced everyday by residents of Alexandria – transportation networks, land use, housing, future growth, and even municipal development ordinances.

The result: a realistic series of action items for realizing the vision of neighborhoods and the city as a whole.

Check out the Final Draft of the City’s Resiliency Plan!
After an eighteen month engagement process comprised of four rounds of neighborhood meetings and three rounds of Citywide meetings, the fruit of your hard work has come to bear.

We are very happy to present the Final Draft of the THINKAlex Resiliency Plan.

The Plan is composed of a new Land Use Plan, Housing Plan, and Transportation Plan. During the engagement process, you, the citizens of Alexandria, came together with planning experts, to identify your needs and your vision, for your city. The THINKAlex Plan sets the groundwork for a resilient and thriving future for Alexandria for decades to come.

How can I help?
We want to know what you think. The THINKAlex Resiliency Plan will be posted online for a two week comment period ending Friday, November 1. Afterwards, comments will be incorporated and final adjustments will be made. Then, the Plan will make its way to City Council for adoption. Please take a few minutes to give us your valuable input!

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Nexus

Resiliency and the Nexus Framework

The THINKAlex Resiliency Planning Process is not only organized around land use, housing, and transportation (as is required by OCD funds), but also according to the six Nexus Domains of a healthy and vibrant community. These domains include the physical, cultural, social, organizational, educational, and economic components of a community.

Using the Nexus model as an organizing framework ensures the creation of a systemic and holistic plan for Alexandria’s future. All assets and needs of the community are important when determining next steps for a truly resilient community. Working in this way ensures that each aspect of the Alexandria community garners equal consideration during the planning and community engagement process.

Most importantly, public engagement is key to developing the most appropriate plans. Community members; organizational and business leaders; municipal, regional and state agencies; and elected officials must recognize that ownership and participation in planning and implementation is key to successful realization of the plan.

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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Resiliency Initiative?

  • The Louisiana Recovery Authority developed the Community Resiliency Planning initiative in 2011. This program awarded grants to cities in Louisiana that lacked significant resources for systemic planning, and it had two primary purposes: 1) To ensure city infrastructure is capable of withstanding future disasters, and 2) to look beyond disaster preparedness by thinking holistically about how cities thrive by achieving vibrancy. Alexandria received one of the largest Resiliency Grants awarded in the state.

  • THINKAlex is a community-driven planning effort to look at the City of Alexandria as a whole and vibrant community in the heart of Louisiana. The planning process focuses on housing, transportation and land use and will inform the creation of a Unified Development Code. These components of a healthy city will also be addressed in the context of the Physical, Social, Cultural, Organizational, Educational, and Economic domains of Alexandria. Together, the citizens, businesses, organizations, and public officials will create plans to guide future growth and development in Alexandria towards greater overall community resiliency.

Why is the City initiating the THINKAlex resiliency process?

  • Alexandria has aggressively taken on planning for economic development, important commercial corridors, traffic improvements, parks, and previous master plans. The THINKAlex planning process will take into account all previous planning efforts and engage community members in a citywide process to develop the Resiliency Plan. This process encourages the entire community to participate in preparing the City for being resilient in addressing the many challenges and opportunities Alexandria will face in the coming decades.

How is resiliency defined through this process?

  • In general, resiliency as applied to this planning process refers to the City of Alexandria’s capability to deal with and adapt to change – whether that change occur from direct impact from a natural disaster, indirect impacts from a natural disaster, population growth or contraction, land use practices, transportation, housing or economic change. However, the final definition of “resiliency” will be defined during the beginning of the community engagement process.

How is the THINKAlex planning process different from SPARC?

  • SPARC is primarily an infrastructure reinvestment project that focuses on three corridors of activity within the city. The Resiliency planning process will knit together the SPARC planning and address land use, housing, transportation, and development code, along with other issues, in a more comprehensive way – and with far more citizen engagement.

How long will the THINKAlex Resiliency Planning process last?

  • In total, the Resiliency Planning process will last about 18 months. However, much of the community engagement activity will happen between June, 2012 and January, 2013.

What are the intended outcomes of the THINKAlex Resiliency Planning process?

  • There are two primary outcomes: 1) A Comprehensive Development Strategy founded on community input and 2) An updated Unified Development Code with zoning and development regulations that are tailored to the City’s current needs and make the City more resilient. These outcomes will be framed in a holistic plan that celebrates Alexandria as a place where people love to live and visit.

Who will be responsible for implementing the resiliency plan?

  • The City will be responsible for leading implementation for much of the Resiliency Plan. However, part of the community engagement process will be enlisting members of the Alexandria community to not simply participate in meetings, but serve as implementation partners in realizing the vision set forth by the community.

How is the THINKAlex Resiliency Planning process funded?

  • The Alexandria Comprehensive Resiliency Program is funded by a grant from the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit with federal a Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

What will the resiliency plan include?

  • The Resiliency Plan will focus on land use, housing, transportation, and the development code. However, as part of the community engagement, residents will identify many other issues, which they feel play an important role in Alexandria’s future.

How will the resiliency plan be used?

  • The final plan will serve as the guidepost for development of Alexandria for years to come. However, development does not happen in a vacuum. The citizens, a community’s culture, businesses, socio-economic conditions, education, work opportunities and recreation are all tied to how a community defines itself. Consideration for all of this will comprise the THINKAlex plan.

How can I get involved in the resiliency planning process?

  • First and foremost – come to the community meetings! Meetings will take place both in your neighborhood and at the citywide level – and your input and attendance is crucial. Visit the project website to stay engaged digitally, and tell your friends, family, and co-workers!

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Fair Housing Information

The THINKAlex process has been made possible by the following entities:

The following resources and information related to Fair Housing are made available by the City of Alexandria.

Fair Housing: Equal Opportunity for All informational booklet.

Live Free Housing Discrimination Hotline Poster

Fair Housing Poster

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