Raimi + Associates, in concert with IBI Group and Melendrez, has been brought on to assist Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority(LA Metro) with the creation of a Transit-Oriented Development Toolkit. The Toolkit will be a clear and intuitive manual that reviews best practices, provides model language for local planning tools, and highlights exemplary language and jurisdictions around the country. The Toolkit will be interactive, allowing users to create a mini-toolkit tailored to their context. The TOD Toolkit will be incorporated into the larger "Framework for Regional Climate Action and Sustainability" which will be written so as to be useful for all the diverse interests throughout Los Angeles County. Finally, the Toolkit will enable local jurisdictions to work towards the goals embedded in the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).
The project is also focused on educating decision makers and constituents, while simultaneously identifying tools and strategies that will allow project stakeholders to implement planning policy and support project efforts consistent with TOD best practices.
On behalf of the State’s Public Health Department, Raimi + Associates worked with Transform and other partners around the state to develop a guidebook for promoting healthy communities through the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) process. RTPs are the regional blueprint for transportation spending in California as well as a key component of SB 375 implementation, and in total influence hundreds of billions of dollars in transportation spending. The Health in RTP’s guidebook de-mystifies the complicated RTP process and outlines best practices for promoting active transportation, improving air quality, and achieving better health outcomes by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Raimi + Associates is writing a Citizen's Guide to LEED-ND for use by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), its members, and citizens and organizations interested in creative uses of LEED-ND at the local level. NRDC has long had an active interest in smart growth and sustainable development, and was one of three organizations, along with U.S. Green Building Council and the Congress for New Urbanism, to develop LEED-ND. The purpose of the Citizen's Guide to LEED-ND is to provide the "go-to" introduction to LEED-ND for a wide general audience. It is also to empower advocates to use LEED-ND in creative ways, such as guiding advocacy for or against specific development projects; assessing existing neighborhoods; informing neighborhood plans and zoning codes; and using LEED-ND as a required or incentivized standard.
Following its work on the LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot Reference Guide, Raimi + Associates wrote many portions of the LEED Reference Guide for Green Neighborhood Development, 2009 edition. The Reference Guide, published by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as the official guide to using LEED for Neighborhood Development, outlines best practices for documentation and on-the-ground implementation of various credits found in the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system. Raimi + Associates' work focused on a variety of credit topics including walkable streets, connectivity, bicycle network and storage, compact development, mixed-use neighborhood centers, transportation demand management, reducing parking footprints, existing and historic building reuse, brownfield redevelopment, and others. USGBC launched the public version of the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System and Reference Guide in April 2010.
In coordination with Public Health Law and Policy, Raimi + Associates co-authored a guidebook for incorporating public health into cities’ long-term comprehensive plans. Since public health is strongly impacted by land use and transportation policy, the guidebook suggests model policy goals that can be incorporated into these elements or presented on their own. These goals include built environments that foster health, better opportunities for physical activity, access to nutritious foods, clean air and drinking water, neighborhoods that sustain mental health and better availability of health services. The report also provides guidance on analyzing existing public health conditions and suggests how health officers and planners can cooperate on the issue. A large portion of the guidebook is devoted to implementation tools and strategies that can be included in the comprehensive plan. These include traditional zoning or form-based zoning contexts, master plans and circulation design guidelines, project review and permitting and ways to finance health interventions. This toolkit is the most comprehensive guide available for communities seeking to emphasize and improve health through planning. The guidebook’s model policy language has been adapted and used in several health chapters of comprehensive plans throughout California and the United States.
Raimi + Associates wrote the “Sustainable Neighborhoods and Communities” chapter of Fundamentals of Integrated Design for Sustainable Building: Principles and Practice, published by Wiley in 2009 and being reprinted in 2012. Raimi + Associates’ chapter addresses key elements of city and neighborhood sustainability in terms of location, design, and green infrastructure and technology. It also includes related discussions of planning for health, planning implementation tools, smart growth and new urbanism, and the history of planning as it relates to sustainability. Other chapters in the book are authored by leaders in green building and sustainability, creating a broad sourcebook for practitioners and students alike.
Matt Raimi co-authored Once There Were Greenfields, which links sprawling suburban development patterns to a host of problems facing America's inner cities, small towns an drural communities. The bookdocuments suburban sprawls impacts in several areas, including the travel patterns, the natural environment, air and water quality, farmland and open space preservation, the fiscal capacity of governments and the social fabric of communities. The book concludes by proposing guiding principles for smart growth that combine economic progress with environmental protection and social equity.
While with another firm, Matt Raimi served as Project Manager and lead land use planner for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to develop a detailed manual on how to create transit- and pedestrian-supportive developments. In developing the manual over a two-year period, Mr. Raimi researched the state-of-the-practice in land use and transportation design and policy, developed workshops for local government planners and engineers, and prepared a summary policy document of the program for local elected officials and the public. The final product was a 300-page manual for local government officials that provides broad principles for growth, urban design guidelines, multi-modal street design guidelines, and a toolkit of policies and programs for integrating transportation and land use.
While working as an independent consultant to the Surface Transportation Policy Project in Washington, DC, Matt Raimi co-authored a case study book on the benefits of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA, now TEA-21). Five Years of Progress: 110 Communities Where ISTEA is Making A Difference presents over one hundred case studies to show how the federal transportation legislation transformed transportation planning by integrating alternative modes of transportation, involving the public in the decision-making process and making communities more livable. The book was used as a lobbying and educational tool and helped to influence members of Congress to increase funding for community planning, transit, public involvement and environmental programs in the reauthorization of the federal transportation legislation. As a co-author, Matt Raimi researched the projects, wrote case studies, and prepared the layout and design of the book.
Aaron Welch was a project manager for Stockholm Environment Institute's Ecological Budget research program, co-authoring its primary publication, Counting Consumption: CO2 Emissions, Material Flows and Ecological Footprint of the U.K. The report culminated a comprehensive two-year study of how housing, transportation infrastructure and other projects induce emissions and resource flows in UK cities and regions. Mr. Welch worked closely with the North East and West Midlands regional planning agencies and a diverse team of research partners. As sub-tasks of the project, Mr. Welch co-authored a more detailed Counting Consumption study in coordination with the North East regional government. He also helped develop a software tool (REAP – the Resource and Energy Analysis Programme) that generates emission and resource flow scenarios for regions and cities, based on land use and transportation policy.
Aaron Welch co-authored Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint with Global Footprint Network – the global standardizing body for the Ecological Footprint method. The report, endorsed by the E.U.'s European Commission, marked the first time Europe's Ecological Footprint had been tracked, studied and compared using a standardized methodology. The report's recommendations focus on increased green infrastructure, mitigating climate change, and economic approaches to sustainability, often enacted at the city level. While with Global Footprint Network, Aaron was also a contributing author to the European Environment Agency's State of the Environment Report.