Erie, PA

Comprehensive Plan

Erie, PA

Comprehensive Plan

In 2015, czb was asked to develop a Comprehensive Plan for Erie, a city of approximately 100,000 residents that is home to multiple universities, Erie Insurance (a Fortune 500 company), and a downtown with numerous assets but high levels of blight and vacancy. At the time czb came to Erie, the city’s poverty rate was nearing 30 percent and more than 4,000 housing units in the city were sitting vacant. And while the number of middle- and upper-income households in the region had grown by almost 20 percent since 1969, their numbers in the city had plummeted by 33 percent. czb had to work with stakeholders to reprioritize and refocus investment and help leaders face the reality of conditions across the city and region.

In 2015, czb was asked to develop a Comprehensive Plan for Erie, a city of approximately 100,000 residents that is home to numerous assets but high levels of blight and vacancy. While the number of middle- and upper-income households in the region has grown by almost 20 percent since 1969, their numbers in the city had plummeted by 33 percent. czb’s work was meant to reprioritize and refocus investment and help leaders face the reality of conditions across the city and region.

  Team Members: Peter Lombardi, Karen Beck Pooley, Charles Buki, Andrea Weinberg, Jeff Winston
  Services: Housing Analysis, Visioning, Facilitation, Steering Committee, Report Creation, Private Sector Engagement

“How can our city take advantage of world-class natural and historic assets to compete and thrive in the 21st century?”

Population

Median Household Income

%

of adults have a bachelor's degree or higher

%

of all households live in poverty

Vacant Housing Units

Abandoned Housing Units

Assessment & analysis.

Preparation work involved a comprehensive analysis and review of economic, housing, and land use trends in the city. czb also conducted an in-person assessment of 30,000 housing structures and found that more than one-third exhibited signs of moderate to significant distress.

Community involvement.

During the project, czb worked with a 17-member steering committee and a 14-member technical advisory committee comprised of city officials to establish priorities, conduct outreach, and develop drafts of the comprehensive plan. At meetings, attendees went through trade-off exercises to test and refine their own priorities for how best to invest in the city and its neighborhoods.

“Erie’s comprehensive plan arrived with a letter from principal consultant Charles Buki, which we have included unabridged in this issue. We chose to run the letter in full to share its impassioned call to action with all leaders and citizens of Erie. We were deeply moved by what is obviously a genuine hope that Erie will find the will and courage to move forward, and we wanted you to see this language firsthand.”

Restoring confidence

More than anything else, czb’s Comprehensive Plan for Erie is a decision-making guide for a stronger Erie. It offers an approach to taking action that not only differs from traditional practices in the city, but enables Erie to make a significant and much-needed course correction.

It was endorsed by the Steering Committee with a firm sense of realism, of achieving what is possible — but also with the aim of pushing the Erie community to do more than it thinks it can. Erie City Council unanimously adopted the plan in 2016. Read coverage to see how the plan is moving forward.

czb’s plan for Erie was recognized with the APA’s Daniel Burnham Award for a comprehensive plan in Pennsylvania. Read the news brief from GoErie.com.

Restoring confidence

More than anything else, czb’s Comprehensive Plan for Erie is a decision-making guide for a stronger Erie. It offers an approach to taking action that not only differs from traditional practices in the city, but enables Erie to make a significant and much-needed course correction. czb’s plan for Erie was recognized with the APA’s Daniel Burnham Award for a comprehensive plan in Pennsylvania.

 

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