Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning Manager Tim Kelly emails a weekly GR Forward update to the project Steering Committee. Here's this week's communication:

Good Morning Everyone:

Hope you had a great week.


Two updates this week.

First, we continue to receive good press on our GR Forward efforts. The attached ad, produced by DGRI’s Marketing team, ran on the inside cover of 49503 Magazine this week. Additionally, this article on the GRPS Museum School ran on MLive Tuesday: There will certainly be more marketing as our engagement activities ramp up this fall, but in the meantime this press is a great way to let people know more about our efforts.

Second, and technically unrelated to GR Forward, but nonetheless very exciting for the future of Downtown and the City, this coming Monday, August 25, Grand Rapids and Michigan’s first Bus Rapid Transit line will begin operation. If you have any questions about the service, called the Silver Line, make sure you visit the website: Otherwise, be sure to spread the word about the new service and take advantage of this exciting addition to Grand Rapids’ mobility infrastructure.

Web Numbers

Related to our online efforts, as the numbers below indicate we saw an increase in traffic both on the website and social media. Thanks to all of you who are helping get the word out on GR Forward. Be sure to continue to share the links below with anyone that might be interested.

Facebook -

Twitter -

Instagram -

Website Views

Facebook Likes

Instagram Followers

Twitter Followers

5,040 (+580)

381 (+14)

94 (+4)

80 (+6)


This article from City Lab on a new approaches to zoning is interesting:

As the article discusses, traditional zoning was developed in response to the late 19th and early 20th century urban experience, when cities were increasingly congested and dirty places, and planners sought to spread things out and separate noxious uses from residential use, for example. Though successful in separating uses, the problem is that most zoning has not changed with the times, and is often employed in the same historic fashion.

As citizens and municipalities reflect upon this, alternative approaches to land use have emerged. One approach is through the development of form-based codes, which is concerned with the appearance of buildings and the way they relate to each other and to the streetscape. Form-based codes have been employed recently in Miami, Denver, and Cincinnati, to name a few.

Another approach, called performance based zoning is also catching on. In this approach, planners start the process by establishing a set of goals, such as job creation, housing development, reduced carbon footprint, etc. As long as those goals are met, the uses can be determined by the developers. Put another way, the zoning does not tell you how to achieve the standard, it just defines what standard needs to be achieved. Performance based zoning has been used most recently in California’s Bay Area, and Atlanta. While every city is different in terms of what land use regulations are most appropriate, it is interesting to see some of the alternative approaches being used.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend.