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Envision ™ is a new rating system designed to promote sustainable infrastructure in the United States. SEH staff have been involved in helping shape this new tool over the past couple years. This is part two in a series providing background on the tool and its intended use.
The Envision TM Version 2.0 sustainable infrastructure rating system is intended to assess the work of project teams during planning and design phases of a project. Additional toolkits will be developed with more appropriate and focused measures to assess construction, operations, maintenance, and de-construction. The rating system includes a guidance manual with a detailed description of each of the 60 credits, or objectives which make up the assessment.
For example, each credit includes a narrative including the name and description of the credit, intent of the credit, levels of achievement which can be attained, how to advance to higher levels of achievement, evaluation criteria, background/source information,and related resources. In addition to the 60 credits, there is an opportunity to earn innovation points based on exceeding credit requirements and/or deploying innovative strategies.
Credit QL 1.1 Improve Community Quality of Life
The intent of the QL 1.1 credit is to "improve the net quality of life for all communities affected by the project and mitigate negative impacts to the community. There are five levels of achievent within the credit. The list below provides a snapshot of each level including points associated with each in parentheses.
Improved = Internal Focus (2)
Enhanced = Community Linkages (5)
Superior = Broad Community Engagement (10)
Superior = Holistic Assessment and Collaboration (20)
Restorative = Community Renaissance (25)
A short description of each level of achievement is provided below. More detailed documentation if provided in the guidance manual itself.
An Improved level of achievement means the project team has "located and reviewed the most recent and relevant community planning information. Some, but not systematic outreach to stakeholders and decision makers has taken place." Overall the level of achievement is characterized by an internally focused process or method of community engagement.
An Enhanced level of achievement meas the project team has demonstrated "more substantice efforts to locate, review, assess and incorporate the needs, goals, and plans of the host community into the project." Overall the team has made additional community linkages than "improved" level of achievment.
A Superior level of achievement means the project team has poured over all relevant community plans and the project aligns well with needs/ambitions of the community. There is broard community alignment overall.
A Conserving level of achievement "makes a net positive contribution to the quality of life of the host and nearby affected communities. The project team makes a holistic assessment of community needs, goals, plans, incorporating meaningful stakeholder input." The project is broadly endorsed by the community.
Finally, a Restorative level of achievement refers to a project which, through "rehabilitation of important community assets, upgraded and extended access, increased safety, improved environmental quality, and additional infrastructure capacity, the project substantially reinvigorates the host and nearby communities."
Overall, this credit attempts to evaluate the extent to which the project's planning and design ultimately contributes to the quality of life of the resident community. The measurement, or determination, is based on how well the project team has identified and assessed community needs, goals, and aspirations by going above and straightforward public input into the process. The credits rewards project teams which employ a more robust form of public participation through "collaborative dialogue" whereby broad interests and perspectives are engaged.
In my next blog post on this topic I'll describe how SEH is working with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to apply the Envision TM tool to the planning and design of Lyons Park Creek in Milwaukee, WI.
For more information on this topic contact:
Community Development & Sustainability