Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Thurston Regional Planning CouncilFour years ago, the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) kicked off its landmark Sustainable Thurston project with a simple question: How do you want your community to look, feel and function in 2035?Residents from around the region spoke up and helped craft Creating Places—Preserving Spaces: A Sustainable Development Plan for the Thurston Region, which integrates sustainability principles into decision-making to achieve a healthy environment, robust economy, and thriving society. Now, as local planners and policymakers begin to implement the ambitious sustainability plan, folks from beyond the region are taking notice.On March 17, Futurewise — formerly 1000 Friends of Washington — will honor Sustainable Thurston, TRPC and its partners with the 2015 Local Government Excellence award. The Seattle-based nonprofit’s award recognizes policy or planning initiatives and programs that support the principles of smart growth.“This award is another confirmation of the great and innovative work the region’s policymakers undertook,” said TRPC Executive Director Lon Wyrick. “The thousands of hours of staff work and citizen involvement paid off in the development of a detailed vision of how we all want our region to grow.”The Sustainable Thurston project has garnered recognition from several other organizations, including the: Planning Association of Washington/American Planning Association—Washington Chapter (2014 Planning Award, Sustainability Category; State of Washington (2014 Governor’s Smart Vision Award); Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (2013 Honorable Mention, Outstanding Achievement).TRPC — Thurston County’s metropolitan planning organization — developed the comprehensive, long-range plan over three years and adopted it in December 2013. TRPC convened an unprecedented partnership of local policymakers, business and nonprofit leaders, and ordinary residents who engaged in a frank conversation and deep analysis of a wide range of topics, including: transportation, housing, land use, economic development, food systems, water, energy, solid waste, air quality, social equity, and climate change. TRPC planners developed data-based scenarios that showed what our fast-growing region would lose during the next quarter-century under business-as-usual patterns — chiefly, sending 13 percent of residential growth to rural areas, resulting in longer commutes, greater carbon emissions and fewer forests, farms and prairies. To curb sprawl, reinvigorate our communities, and protect our natural capital, project participants articulated a bold sustainability vision for 2035, prioritized actions, and assigned roles and responsibilities. For more information about the plan, visit www.trpc.org.