Highland Planning believes that life, work, and play are better when neighborhoods and commercial districts are thriving.

Let us help you with:

Public Engagement and Outreach

Public outreach is our passion. We develop an individual engagement process for each project based on the type of input sought by the client, the level of involvement sought by the stakeholders, the geographic reach of the project, and even the time of year. Highland Planning prides itself on creating meaningful opportunities for input – through door-to-door outreach, one-on-one conversations, and reciprocal dialogue between designers and stakeholders.

  • MetroRail Expansion Project (Buffalo, NY)
  • Five Year Consolidated Plan, Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing and Strategic Housing Plan (State of Rhode Island)
  • Reimagine RTS (Rochester, NY)
  • Buffalo Skyway Project (Buffalo, NY)
  • Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Phase II (Waterloo to Seneca Falls, NY)
  • North Union Street Transformation Project (Olean, NY)
  • Dewey Avenue/Driving Park Road Realignment (Rochester, NY)

Socio-Economic and Demographic Analysis

Evaluating aspects of a local economy, weighing the impacts of a potential policy decision, or forecasting future growth can be highly technical and bewildering tasks to many communities. Don’t let your economic development plan or project fall into the dreaded “black box.” We can help the public better understand the data, leverage local knowledge and expertise, and ultimately broaden participation and buy-in. Improving the economic well-being of a community starts with engaging and empowering the people that make up the economy. We offer rigorous technical analysis combined with community engagement techniques to unlock the power of data and create long-lasting success.

  • Housing inventory, assessment, and strategy

Assess the characteristics of the housing stock in your community or neighborhood (housing type, condition, value, and ownership) to help identify opportunities for rehabilitation, new construction, or demolition, as well as identify programs to increase homeownership and improve housing quality. 

  • Socio-economic and demographic analysis

Understand population growth trends, demographic characteristics (such as age, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, income trends, poverty trends, homeownership), and other socio-economic factors that will likely influence future growth and change in your community.  

Commercial District Revitalization

Highland Planning helps communities create a vision for progress and helps make it a reality. As both top-level project managers and active producers, we compile demographic and market data, write and administer grants, handle all aspects of fundraising, facilitate strategic planning and evaluate the impact and progress of the initiatives on which we work.

Highlights of accomplishments since 2007:

  • Facilitated the City of Rochester's highly successful Street Liaison Program, leading to more than $1 million in local private investment
  • Secured over $2 million for property owners in Rochester to improve commercial façades, renovate properties, construct mixed-use buildings and design and install streetscape improvements
  • Developed a cost/benefit analysis for a federal transportation funding application that brought $32M to the City of Buffalo to place cars back on Main Street
  • Organized the Show on Monroe street festival, attracting hundreds of visitors to one of Rochester's historic commercial districts
  • Helped small businesses find suitable commercial spaces in the City of Rochester
  • Expanded three merchant associations through outreach to business owners

Research & Program Management

Among our greatest strengths are meeting facilitation, project management, and attention to detail. We have been a staff consultant to the New York Upstate American Planning Association since 2009. Since 2011, we have been managing research projects on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. We love this work because it allows us to contribute to the nation’s dialogue about the current state of practice in transportation.

  • NCHRP Synthesis 460: Sharing Data Operations Among Agencies
  • NCHRP Synthesis 452: State Department of Transportation Fleet Replacement Management Practices
  • NCHRP 20-05/Synthesis 448: State Department of Transportation Small Business Programs
  • NCHRP Synthesis 446: Use of Advance Geospatial Data, Tools, Technologies, and Information in the Department of Transportation Projects

Marketing Communications

Even government agencies and non-profits have something to sell: an idea, a project, a change for the better. Our marketing communications team can help you meet your goal, whether it’s to create buzz, inspire action, or move the needle on public opinion. We specialize in promoting government initiatives, so that your programs and opportunities reach the people who need them most.

Our services include: 

  • Branding
  • Marketing communications strategy
  • Website development
  • Social media
  • Media relations
  • Communications materials

Crisis Communications

The goal of every Highland Planning public engagement plan is to mitigate risk to clients and projects and ensure all people who want to participate are heard. However, sometimes even the best public involvement efforts encounter anger or resistance. Highland Planning knows that these moments are critical for our clients’ projects, credibility, and reputation, and we work directly with agency officials and communications personnel to navigate these challenges. Our approach to crisis communications is grounded in these basic principles: 

  • Stay calm.

Avoiding a knee-jerk reaction to public outrage is important to a coordinated, well-thought-out response. Highland Planning provides a non-anxious presence in a crisis while still allowing for the urgency of a situation. 

  • Listen.

Truly hearing public concerns and understanding the needs behind complaints or arguments is a key step in resolving a crisis situation. Highland Planning can help you ask the right questions of the right people to get to the root of the problem. 

  • Provide a clear and consistent message.

Highland Planning works with you to craft a simple and effective message for your organization, thus avoiding the risk of confusing the public with different responses. 

  • Respond promptly and proactively.

Addressing problems head-on is a sign to the public that your organization truly wants to address concerns in a transparent and proactive way. Highland Planning helps you develop your response to a crisis quickly and thoughtfully, with an eye towards anticipating future issues.

Our achievements are backed by our track record of successful, statewide projects in partnership with a host of visionary leaders and stakeholders. Highland Planning is a certified Women-Owned Business (WBE) in New York City, New York State, and Massachusetts. We are a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in New York State.

Let's see what we can create together.

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