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RPCGB is the MPO for two counties and 48 communities, including the City of Birmingham. It is the regional planning organization (RPO) for four counties and 36 communities. Combined, RPCGB's jurisdiction includes six counties and 84 communities within Central Alabama (see Figures 1 and 2). The City of Birmingham, the region's cultural, economic, and political hub, is the most populous city in Alabama. Suburban development surrounds Birmingham and small towns are located throughout the entire Greater Birmingham region. There is also a significant amount of rural land where parks, farming, forestry, and mining activities are located.
RPCGB is preparing to update the metropolitan planning area's long-range transportation plan (LRTP), integrating it with an area-wide land use plan and individual transportation plans for rural communities. The organization would like to use scenario planning as an approach to help focus its efforts. Several challenges exist that RPCGB believes will affect its efforts. For example, the region is experiencing current and future funding constraints, difficulty articulating shared regional goals, abandonment and decline of some areas despite job and population growth in other areas, the decline of the manufacturing industry, and the rise of both the logistics and biomedical industries.
During the workshop, representatives from RPCGB sought to convene local stakeholders to inform them about scenario planning process steps and to learn from SPC's scenario planning experiences. RPCGB also sought to obtain initial feedback on how the agency could involve stakeholders in a regional scenario planning effort.
Figure 1: Map of counties and major highways in
Greater Birmingham (map courtesy of RPCGB).
Figure 2: Greater Birmingham within Alabama
(map from www.wikipedia.org).