Services

The LGC offers a variety of services to assist local elected officials, their staff, and other dedicated community leaders in creating healthy walkable, and resource-efficient communities.  This is achieved by providing workshops, trainings, forums, presentations, design charrettes, community image surveys and policy development assistance. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, we strive to offer cost effective services covering a variety of subject areas such as climate change, energy, community design, and healthy communities. The LGC also works to link the public and local government officials.  The LGC can work with you to customize the types of services that best meet your community’s needs.

Workshops, Trainings & Webinars

Forums for Local Government Leaders

In order to build support for walkable, healthy, and resource-efficient communities, the LGC convenes forums with local elected officials and city/county managers to share innovative and inspiring ideas from across the state and nation. This informal environment in a neutral setting is an excellent way for local leaders to learn about new issues from outside experts and their peers. They are most effective when conducted in monthly or bimonthly series. We organize the meetings, find a venue, invite participants and speakers, and facilitate the meetings. Based on past experience, these regional dinners typically gather a group of 20 to 30 elected officials — a number that encourages productive discussion. As the meetings often generate additional questions and interest from the participants, the service can also include staff time to provide follow-up technical assistance.

Presentations

Our staff regularly speaks at workshops, conferences and meetings set up by organizations, associations or local governments. We can present on a wide range of technical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Infill Development
  • Compact, Mixed-Use Development
  • Walkable Communities
  • Health and the Built Environment
  • Public Participation in the Planning Process
  • Bicycle and pedestrian safety and design
  • Safe Routes to Schools
  • Complete Streets
  • Healthy community land use and transportation planning
  • Energy Conservation
  • Renewable Energy Generation
  • Renewable Energy Implementation

The LGC also offers study sessions for local officials, staff training, presentations and conference planning services that support education on the following issues: compact housing, zoning for smart growth, livable communities, street design and air quality, growth management, transit-oriented development, walkable communities, designing for pedestrian safety, energy conservation, renewable energy generation and more.

Renewable energy feasibility studies help local governments evaluate the costs and benefits of municipal solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Rebate incentives and financing are identified to analyze the life-cycle cost of solar energy. Presentations to local officials and staff include study findings as well as policy and program recommendations for renewable energy implementation.

Staff can also organize and deliver presentations through a webinar format.

Technical Workshops for Staff on Designing for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Detailed technical workshops are key to providing local leaders and staff with the information they need to implement needed changes. LGC organizes a one-day workshop on topics related to bicycle and pedestrian design and safety. The workshop includes a variety of presenters and exercises designed to help participants apply what they have learned.  A walkability audit is included as part of the workshop.   We develop the agenda, identify and invite speakers, secure a venue, and arrange travel for speakers. A registration fee is used to help cover participant meal costs and facility rental. The local agency or host organization typically helps conduct outreach to market the event.

Safe Routes to School Workshops

Safe Routes to School programs have emerged in the last few years as an excellent way to get more children walking and bicycling safely in their communities. The program is premised on making walking and bicycling safe ways to get to school and encouraging more children to walk and bike to school. It is based on focusing on the 5 Es:  Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering and Evaluation.

Half-day introductory workshop

This workshop, conducted in English and/or Spanish is designed to introduce school, city and county staff and local residents to Safe Routes to School (SRTS). It is based on the National Center for SRTS one-day workshop and is an excellent way to get these different constituencies interested in starting a program to safely increase the number of children walking and bicycling to work.  The workshop highlights the benefits of SRTS programs and discusses the 5 Es of SRTS. A walkability audit or observation of drop-off/pick-up zones can be included in the workshop.

Full-day workshop

This workshop is based on the one-day workshop developed by the National Center for SRTS and is focused on helping one or a group of schools to start or expand their program. It includes discussion of the benefits of SRTS and the 5 Es as well as observation of the pick-up or drop-off conditions around the school and a short walkability audit. Participants work in small groups to develop a plan to start or expand their school’s SRTS program.

Paul Zykofsky, AICP of the Local Government Commission is a nationally certified SRTS workshop facilitator. Also, these workshops can be conducted in English and/or Spanish.

Complete Streets Workshops

Communities are increasingly recognizing that in order to get people to walk or bicycle more they need to provide streets that are “complete.” Effective complete streets policies help communities routinely create safe and inviting road networks for everyone, including bicyclists, drivers, transit operators and users, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Adoption of a Complete Streets policy at the local level is an important first step.

The National Complete Streets Coalition has developed three types of workshops to help local jurisdictions adopt and implement complete streets policies. The full-day, highly interactive workshops are customized to help approximately 30-40 key decision makers, stakeholders, and agency professionals learn how to more effectively balance the needs of all users and routinely create and maintain complete streets.  Two complete streets design and policy experts help participants learn:

  • Why complete streets are important, what they are — and are not;
  • The many ways to develop and implement a complete streets policy;
  • How complete streets can help achieve multiple transportation, health, and community goals.

The three different types of workshops offered include:  “Laying the Foundation for Complete Streets,” “Complete Streets Policy Development” and “Complete Streets Policy Implementation.” Workshops would be conducted by a nationally certified Complete Streets workshop facilitator, Paul Zykofsky, AICP of the Local Government Commission.

Energy Efficiency Workshops and Trainings

Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative

LGC will be providing local government assistance through the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC), a partnership between LGC, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, The Institute for Local Government and California’s four Investor Owned Utilities.  LGC is providing networking and training opportunities for local governments including webinars on various energy efficiency topics, an annual statewide conference on energy efficiency best practices and local government IOU partner networking meetings.

Climate Change Workshops

LGC facilitates regional workshops and stakeholder meetings on climate change mitigation and adaptation. LGC conducted two workshop series, the first on CEQA and Climate Change co-hosted by the California Attorney General’s Office and the second on Implementing SB 375 co-hosted by the Strategic Growth Council. These series attracted close to 1,000 participants each statewide. Most recently LGC worked in Fresno County, CA and San Luis Obispo County, CA to develop a suite of adaptation policies that address projected climate change impacts specific to the region.

Participatory Planning and Design Services

Community Design Charrettes

The Local Government Commission conducts multiple day charrettes to assist with community visioning and planning.  Our charrette process includes a series of meetings, workshops, walk audits and design sessions in a concentrated period of time that engages stakeholders and residents in identifying problems and developing solutions. We assemble a multidisciplinary planning and design team based on the local factors and needs of the planning area. We’ve conducted charrettes in over 35 communities throughout California to address a range of planning and design issues, including pedestrian and bicycle safety; street design; traffic calming; neighborhood, downtown and corridor revitalization; Safe Routes to School and strategies for new development.

Community partnership and public participation is embedded in every step of the process. Residents work with the design team to identify solutions in the project area. Numerous opportunities are provided to participate in a fun, non-intimidating environment. The premise of a design charrette is that the people who live, work, and go to school in a community are the experts on what works and what doesn’t. The function of the design team is to first facilitate and listen to the public, and second to distill a common vision and design solution.  Community input is gathered in a number of ways:

  • The design team works closely with an advisory group representing key stakeholder groups. Participants typically include agency staff, businesses, community service organizations, schools and other representatives.
  • Small focus group meetings are conducted with interest groups in a setting where they are able to inform the design team with candid input.  The meetings also provide an opportunity to reach stakeholders who might otherwise not participate or be heard in the process due to cultural or language barriers.
  • Dynamic and knowledgeable facilitators provide presentations to inspire people with ideas , strategies, examples and success stories from similar communities.
  • Field condition inventories (walkability audits) are conducted during which participants walk through the project area with walkable communities experts to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
  • Participants work at design tables with their neighbors and write and draw ideas for improving safety, access, walking, bicycling and transit in their community.  Using maps, pencils, markers, and good communication, the public can come up with solutions to complicated issues.

We work closely with staff and community partners to conduct outreach to the entire community.  Multilingual flyers/mailers promoting the charrette events are distributed to residences and sent home with school children. Invitations and announcements are sent to the various stakeholders in the community: business owners, elected officials, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, school district officials and staff, property owners and the media. Our multi-disciplinary team will work together in the months that follow to produce a report that covers the public process and resulting vision and recommendations illustrated with numerous drawings, photo simulations and photographs.

Mini-Charrettes

We also recognize that smaller planning areas might not need a full-blown charrette.  An alternative for these locations would be to conduct a 3-day mini-charrette followed by a subsequent “closing presentation” at which the plan would be presented.  A 3-day mini-charrette would typically include a longer opening workshop (typically 4 hours) and 2 to 3 focus group meetings. A walkability audit could also be included on one of the three days.  The design team typically includes a facilitator, urban designer, transportation planner or traffic engineer and an illustrator.

Community Image Surveys

The Community Image Survey is a tool for helping decision-makers and their constituents address community design, land use and transportation issues. It uses images to help participants evaluate their existing environment and envision their community’s future. Tailored for the needs of each community, the survey provides a foundation for planning and implementation efforts.

More information on Community Image Surveys.

Policy Development Assistance

Drawing from extensive research on zoning codes, policies and ordinances that support livable, energy-efficient communities, LGC offers policy development assistance in the following areas: housing policies, design guidelines, street design and standards, non-motorized transportation policies, climate change mitigation and adaptation and measures for achieving energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.

The LGC has the ability to develop resources and tools for local elected officials and their staff under a variety of topics. The LGC has developed guidebooks, case studies, fact sheets, tookits and other other resources over the years.

Tours

Tours of Livable Communities give participants an opportunity to experience a living laboratory of urban infill, compact development, and transit-oriented development. Our most popular tour — the Village Homes Walking Tour — showcases one of the first mixed-use, walkable communities built in the U.S. located in Davis, CA that boasts year-round community gardens and orchards. Customized bus tours of livable communities can also be arranged.

The LGC also partners with walkability expert Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to provide Smart Growth tours of communities in conjunction with LGC’s annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. These tours provide an opportunity to learn how a wide range of Smart Growth strategies are being implemented in communities of all sizes and shapes, as well as explore the key issues facing the regions visited.

For more information about LGC’s Services:

Paul Zykofsky, AICP
Associate Director
Local Government Commission
980 9th Street, Suite 1700, Sacramento, CA 95814
pzykofsky ‘AT’ lgc ‘DOT’ org