- Gathering of 400 stakeholders from across region representing housing, business, transportation, environmental, government, non-profit, civic interests, agriculture and other sectors
- Produces a document to guide current and future stakeholders
- A day long exerciseto help to prepare potential options for regional growth, with a focus on accommodating the growth of housing and jobs through 2050. Through discussion and negotiation, participants place two colors of LEGO® blocks representing the projected housing and employment growth on a grid-covered map of the 14 county region.
- A step in the three-year CONNECT Our Future process to develop a framework for regional growth.
Exactly what is meant by “Reality Check”?
In general, “Reality Check” refers to a defining moment, a tipping point when a region’s residents become aware that they have choices to make about growth, air quality, traffic, housing affordability and other important issues.
Why Do We Need a “Reality Check”?
We want growth by choice, not by chance. There will be growth, that is a fact. The question is where people and jobs will be accommodated? RealityCheck2050 is about asking the questions – “How should we grow?” and “Where should we grow?” It is about building a common dialog and raising awareness of the ramifications of regional growth patterns and trends.
Two main reasons why we need a “Reality Check”:
- To grow well and to remain competitive in a global economy. Our region is growing and will continue to grow well into the future. A generation ago, in 1970, the region was home to 763,254 people. Today, it holds 2.43 million people, and in 2050, the region is projected to be the home of over 4.1 million people. This growth makes sound planning imperative, particularly in the areas of local land use decisions, livability and environmental sustainability.
- Also, regional cooperation has emerged as a key to success in competing on the world stage. According to the Urban Land Institute, “those regions with a clear plan for how they are going to grow, a plan that has broad-based support from the private, nonprofit and public sectors, will have a key competitive advantage.” RealityCheck2050 will allow our area to use regional visioning as a dynamic and important tool for building consensus related to growth issues.
Participants are challenged to prepare potential options for regional growth, with a focus on accommodating the growth of housing and jobs through 2050. The exercise pushes participants to see the connection between the choices we make and their unintended consequences. RealityCheck2050 not only brings together regional leaders and citizens to speak about the issues but also gives them an active learning experience that can significantly change their preconceived notions about those issues.