The Micro Action Plan (MAP) is a community led planning approach at the level of the block. This bottom up approach was inspired by the practice of Tactical Urbanism. Through a build, observe, learn, repeat if successful, approach, consensus and ultimately trust was built within Martin County's most underserved communities.
The MAP process outlines potential projects valued under $10,000, that could be undertaken in a matter of days throughout a community. These low risk, high reward projects were funded by the county within existing budgets and well under any purchasing thresholds. The MAP Process was adopted by the Martin County Board of County Commissioners in 2013 and added to each of the Community Redevelopment Plans.
These projects empower residents with small scale improvements. MAP promotes citizen leadership and community pride, and organizes County staff field operation and maintenance activities. This results in focused community improvements and small scale change with the maximum impact.
This process was first implemented within the Banner Lake neighborhood within the Hobe Sound Community Redevelopment Area. The MAP plan and project priorities were developed following the weekly bible study and as part of the planning for a community clean up day. The process included a map, a planner, and approximately a dozen engaged residents.
Residents were clear about two issues in their community that needed to be addressed. The first were the street signs. Throughout Banner Lake the street signs either had mis-spelled names or were missing. The second item was a missing crosswalk in front of the park and community building.
The community had lost trust in government and felt their community was forgotten. These request had been reported in the past, but were lost within the County's Capital Improvement Plan. This simple process allowed for trust to be built and a platform for smaller projects. Within a week, the street signs were replaced, and within two weeks the crosswalks were painted.
I observed the success and saw the demand for similar work in other redevelopment areas. I developed a general scope of services that was used to hire local planning firms to lead the MAP process in other communities. Local firms transitioned from the long charrette format into a two part scope: community meeting and a one page technical memo. This process increased staff capacity while engaging local consultants.
These quick plans provided quick projects. These projects could be accomplished with the current staffing and resources within the county's engineering department. This also provided the opportunity to test new urban design patterns such as curbless streets, or new materials such as pervious pavers.
The MAP process results in varying projects in each of these communities, but the results are consistent. Residents have greater pride and ownership in their block, the calls for services reduce, and the value of the properties and private investment rise.