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The Hills Project


May 2008

Primary Community Partner
Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission
Jenna Haverkos, Associate Planner
Emalee Listerman, Principal Planner

Undergraduate Students
Jenna Bockey, Marc Bond, Jeff Chase, Greg Combs, Justin Cotton, Casey Counce, Travis Edelen, Dustin Johnson, Brock MacKay, Joseph Marwil, Jack McGlasson, Darren Ramler, Heidi White, Corey Wilson

Project Statement
The Hills Project was conducted in partnership with the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission. The purpose of the Hills Project was to generate ideas, guidelines, and recommendations for both the development and preservation of Northern Kentucky's hillsides and, in particular, Kenton County. The study specifically addressed the dilemma of whether hillsides should be used to maximize development opportunity, be left in a more natural vegetative state to serve ecological functions, or have a balance of both. An essential component was to involve stakeholders throughout the entire project planning process.

Project Narrative
The Hills Project was completed over the course of four months and included three public meetings at which stakeholder participation and survey activities were used to gather ideas and feedback. Throughout the course of the study, the stakeholders showed passionate interest, concern, and diversity of thought regarding the hillside dilemma.

Essential issues in the debate included health, safety and welfare; private property rights; common pool resources; tax base; water management; wildlife management; viewsheds; economic growth; and the quality of life. Stakeholder input was crucial in the conceptualization of ideas that will influence a range of policy and physical approaches involving incentive/disincentive as well as regulatory and voluntary actions in the community and region.

Information was gathered to inform and educate both the study team and stakeholders about the breadth as well as depth of issues related to hillside development and preservation. While hillsides were the primary focus, the scope of the study also included planning and design recommendations on a comprehensive level. The originally posed focal question was, "Should the hillsides be developed, preserved, or have a balance of both?" The comprehensive questions that evolved through research and public interaction were, "What types of development and preservation are desired, where are they desired, why, and how can they be achieved?"

The goals for the Hills Project included documenting and understanding the stakeholder's perceptions, particularly their visual preferences about landscape issues and values. The planning process utilized an enhanced McHargian approach in the identification of critical and threatened hillside areas as well as local experts and stakeholder inputs for analysis.

A key project component was the series of build-out scenarios on six sites identified by stakeholders across the landscape in urban to rural conditions. Each of the six sites had four site plans generated. Each plan was evaluated using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Neighborhood Development and a sprawl to smart growth evaluation framework originally published by Hasse (2004) in Landscape Journal. Finally, the stakeholders also evaluated how they liked or disliked the site design ideas across the 24 scenarios. In addition, several other project components were completed such as the green infrastructure system across multiple counties. This project component utilized least cost path analysis in GIS with stakeholder input during model construction.

The project team has strived to build the awareness of the landscape architecture profession in the community by using analysis, planning, design in the stewardship of natural and built environments through this educational process. The Northern Kentucky landscape will change; however, the what, where, and how can be influenced by the stakeholders. The Hills Project provides the basis on which stakeholders can build on informed solutions and continue a community wide dialogue into the future.


• Full Report • Introduction • Inventory and Analysis
• Hillside Issues • Precedent Studies • Six Areas of Interest
• Landscape Typology • Green Infrastructure • Watersheds
• Conclusion • Appendices • Bibliography and References

Presentation Boards
• Landscape Value Survey • Landscape Typology Survey • 6 Areas of Interest Exercise
• 3D Model Worksheet

• Brochure Set • Introduction • Media Coverage
• Public Participation • The Hillside Delimma • Precedent Studies
• Inventory and Analysis • 6 Areas of Interest • Landscape Typology
• Green Infrastructure • Watershed Atlas • Summation

PowerPoint Presentations
• Presentation 1 • Presentation 2 • Presentation 3
• Meeting 1 CPS Survey • Meeting 1 CPS Survey Results • Meeting 2 CPS Survey
• Meeting 2 CPS Survey Results • Meeting 3 CPS Survey • Meeting 3 CPS Survey Results




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