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Needs Assessment TIG Week: When Your Needs Assessment Involves City Planning by Maurya West Meiers

Hello! Welcome to the Needs Assessment (NA) TIG Week on AEA365.  As the AEA proposal process for the 2024 AEA conference in Portland is underway, the NA TIG invites you to submit a proposal, volunteer to be a proposal reviewer, or simply join our TIG in your AEA profile.  Reach out to our TIG Chair Lisle Hites for more info.

I’m Maurya West Meiers. I work at the World Bank as a Senior Evaluation Officer and am coauthor of A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results (free World Bank book).

I’m interested in needs assessment in the context of the planning of communities. In 2019 I wrote an AEA365 post about Needs Assessments in City Planning with examples from four cities (Saint Paul, Portland, Oklahoma City, and Edmonton). Check out that post for some examples from those cities, along with resources from organizations that would be useful for communities involved with similar planning exercises.  These include broader assessment resources from the Community Tool Box at the University of Kansas, and more specifically resources for cities some resources are the 100 Resilient Cities – Rockefeller Foundation, and What Works Cities – Bloomberg Initiative.

Many communities, regions, and countries are planning for the mid-century – yes, 2050 is not that far away!  And a number of these communities have been sharing information not only about their plans, but also about how they have gone about developing these plans.  With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to update my earlier list of cities with some new community examples and resources for those doing similar planning exercises and looking for potential models.

Orange County, Florida – Vision 2050

Puget Sound Regional Council – Vision 2050

Communities in the Puget Sound area of Washington State have come together to prepare their Vision 2050.  Since towns and cities influence one another, taking a regional approach to planning always benefits from thinking about the relationships, complementarities, dependencies, and so on. Among the rich resources in this planning exercise include the following:

Rad Resources

The above are a couple of new examples to explore and learn from how they did it.  Community planning – and understanding future needs and assets – is time consuming and difficult work and can often be hard for communities undergoing change.  But hopefully these resources will help others to do similar work. And check out these additional resources that support city and other evidence-based planning.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Needs Assessment (NA) TIG Week with our colleagues in the Needs Assessment Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our NA TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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