PlaceWorks is one of the West’s preeminent planning, design, and environmental firms dedicated to creating healthy places that are environmentally and economically sustainable. In an effort to optimize their due diligence tasks, PlaceWorks sought a solution that would reduce the cost and time associated with research and analysis.
Like many planning firms, PlaceWorks found their planning and business development processes were often impacted and limited by data acquisition cost and resource-intensive analyses. PlaceWorks Principal Colin Drukker explains, “Quickly getting the data needed to craft a truly informed analysis can be a drawn-out and costly process, especially when we’re trying to look simultaneously at the local and regional levels.”
Cumbersome and disparate datasets present problems for planning professionals at every stage of a project. While firms historically faced the problem of not having enough data in their due diligence process, staff now find themselves facing a potential ocean of data and the difficult task of identifying how to cost-effectively discover and acquire credible and authoritative data.
Onboarding UrbanFootprint vastly improved the data discovery and acquisition process for the PlaceWorks team, allowing for easy and cost-effective acquisition of authoritative data, allowing the team to focus more on map creation, scenario modeling, and alternatives analysis.
As part of the County of San Bernardino’s Countywide Plan, PlaceWorks evaluated the best locations for future housing and job growth considering inputs such as infrastructure availability, environmental hazards, and fiscal implications. PlaceWorks was able to address these and other variables across thousands of square miles using UrbanFootprint, ultimately course correcting the County’s existing growth plan and integrating the results directly into the County’s budgeting process.
Drukker explains, “The County’s Capital Improvement Program budgeted over $3 million for a new fire station in Lucerne Valley to serve a forecasted growth of 11,000 new residents. Using UrbanFootprint, we were able to demonstrate why that area should only host approximately 500 new people over the same time period, eliminating the need to build any new fire protection facilities. This helped save the County not only the roughly $3 million in construction cost but also millions more in ongoing maintenance and operations. Additional cost savings, projected at hundreds of millions over 20+ years, were identified by avoiding the need to build and maintain new roads across the county.”
“UrbanFootprint has also been a distinguishing factor for us in job proposals and interviews,” Drukker adds. “In the interview for the Fountain Valley General Plan Update, we were able to use parcel-specific data to prepare a preliminary proforma analysis to evaluate the financial feasibility of redeveloping a potential opportunity site.”
Shortly after the interview, PlaceWorks was awarded the contract for the city’s general plan update. The city cited the firm’s use of innovative tools and analysis as a key factor in the selection process.
“The significant time and cost-savings for our team and clients, along with the software’s extensive data library, have allowed us to spend less time finding and formatting data, freeing us up to focus on analysis and outcomes,” explains Kain. “UrbanFootprint has been instrumental in removing cost barriers to data acquisition, reducing administrative overhead, and eliminating data management tasks.”