Vandewalle & Associates, in cooperation with Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E) and the City of Fitchburg, has created and advanced a vision for an innovative high-technology employment center for Fitchburg’s east side. This vision is based on three principles:
- Technology: Build uponFitchburg’s strong biotech and high-tech base to create a regional presence and generate high-quality employment and a clean industry base;
- Village Form: Create a transit-oriented, mixed-use employment center that offers a variety of compact, attached housing options and neighborhood-oriented retail services; and
- Sustainability: Utilize new building site and neighborhood design forms, practices, and materials to create a sustainable development model.
Vandewalle & Associates completed two related plans based on these principles. First, Vandewalle & Associates worked with MG&E to prepare the Nine Springs Green-Tech Vision Plan. This effort suggested new directions for how the east end of the City’s Nine Springs Neighborhood might develop. Next, the City hired the firm to prepare a detailed neighborhood plan to advance the vision.
The planning process included innovative participatory approaches to educate and get input on this new development model forFitchburg. These included focus groups, property owner interviews, and interactive public meetings. At a neighborhood design workshop, participants identified values that guided the plan and rated images representing different development options for the neighborhood. This helped the consultant and City suggest innovative yet acceptable building forms and intensities.
The resulting neighborhood plan advocates a 330-acre transit-oriented development including a mix of high-technology and biotechnology businesses, neighborhood- and business-oriented service uses, and attached housing options. Six interrelated planning districts are proposed. The plan includes detailed site and building standards for each district, urban design, and intensity recommendations, green building techniques, and progressive storm water management approaches. The implementation section promotes a coordinated implementation strategy covering incentives, regulations, economic development and marketing, transportation, communications, power infrastructure, and public-private partnerships. The plan was unanimously adopted by the Common Council in 2003. Vandewalle & Associates is now working with the City to implement this new vision for the community.