Sustainable Economic Development Plan, Emirate of Fujairah, U.A.E.  2013

ID.HH Shiek Hamed3The Emirate of Fujairah is strategically located on the Indian Ocean, allowing the UAE to export its crude oil and import food without the imposing threat from traversing the Straits of Hormuz.   This is causing Fujairah to expand its seaport and airport, receive an oil and gas pipeline, plan for a transnational railroad and build the country’s strategic grain storage.  The Emirate’s current capital includes mineral resources, fresh ground water, tourist quality beaches, and is famous in the maritime industry as the largest bunkering port between Singapore and Rotterdam.  Crane Associates was asked to complete a Sustainable Economic Development Plan that would direct these opportunities so that all of society would benefit for the long term.   We conducted a detailed model of the Emirate’s international competitive advantage by preparing an industrial cluster analysis, a 20-year forecast of population, an analysis of key demographic characteristics, a robust study of current and forecasted employment trends and job skills demands.  We completed our report with 72 detailed strategies for securing an internationally competitive employment base, recommending strategic economic development policies, and monitoring progress with a range of economic indicators.   The Plan was presented to His Highness Sheik Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, (pictured) who has requested additional advice from Crane Associates.   Client: Emirate of Fujairah, UAE.

Macro-Economic Model and Demographic Forecasts 2013 to 2030, Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE

Abu-Dhabi4When Abu Dhabi 2030 was published in 2007, it set out an overall vision for the future of the Emirate. In 2012, an update of this vision was undertaken to include detailed plans for sub-regions based on sound economic growth modeling and population forecasts not previously available.  Michael Crane was hired to guide the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council through this large endeavor.  He hired a team of consulting experts and together, with stakeholders from other government agencies, they completed Abu Dhabi’s first complete macro-economic forecasting model.  This model forecasts economic growth in all major industrial classifications.  This model also provides 30-year forecasts of: population by nationality, age and sex; tourism visitation and spending; retail spending by nationality; office space demand in each economic sector; and capital investments in each economic sector.  These figures are now being used as the basis of planning for the Emirate’s urban planning projects including Capital 2030; Al Gharbia 2030; Al Ain 2030; Plan Maritime 2030; and many other housing and policy studies.

Eco-Tourism Feasibility Study, Kurdistan, Iraq 2010

Our Story.MDC and friend ski.KurdistanKurdistan is a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq that is safe, tolerant to other cultures, and rich with historic and natural resources.  However, because it is located in Iraq, public perception is that it’s unsafe to visit.  Visitors to the region are numerous but are primarily business related.  Crane Associates was hired to conduct a market feasibility study of developing and marketing eco-tourism related products and services throughout Kurdistan.  The work involved explorations of white-water rafting, backcountry skiing, mountain hiking, birding, and cultural tours.  It also involved extensive interviews with relevant business owners and potential tour guides. The project was featured internationally on BBC, CNN and National Public Radio and drew the attention of international tour operators.  The project resulted in a report to President Talabani’s office where detailed follow-up is occurring. WATCH THE VIDEO…


Economic and Demographic Forecasts 2014 to 2030, Fujairah Emirate, UAE 2013

FujairahCityTo support the Fujairah 2040 Framework Plan, Crane Associates completed 30-year forecasts of population and employment for the Emirate and sub-regions.  The forecasts were based on a combination of methodologies for different segments of society.   Emirati citizens were based on Cohort Survival while all others were based on employment demand for each sector of the economy and by labor type and immigration status.  Results provided the urban planning team with future population by age, sex, nationality and forecast of jobs in each major industrial classification.

Village Marketing and Promotion Plan for Stowe, Vermont

StoweVillage VT.TESTStowe’s traditional village has experienced a steady decline in business development and expansion in the past two decades while the majority of new development took place along the Mountain Road and at the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort. The primary goal of this project was to design a number of actions that would improve the viability of downtown businesses and strengthen the community as a whole. Crane Associates collected a wide array of data including a statistical survey with over 900 respondents, 44 personal interviews and focus groups, and 19 site visits to analyze the visitor experience. The research revealed a number of common perceptions and misperceptions about how Stowe is perceived through the eyes of the tourists and the “locals.” The analysis measured the untapped potential of new markets in dollars and visitors. The results developed new market profiles and convinced village promoters to market toward new areas. The final report has 23 detailed recommendations in areas of marketing, physical infrastructure, niche development, events, and administration. Two months after the report was completed the Selectboard adopted the plan and appointed a special committee to oversee its implementation.

West Brattleboro Master Plan, West Brattleboro, Vermont

West Brattleboro Master PlanWest Brattleboro is a village of 4,000 people within the Town of Brattleboro, Vermont. West Brattleboro was originally an agricultural community that has changed to a rural service based economy. This change has created a dichotomy of land uses between a traditional compact, mixed-use village and low density commercial buildings built on farm fields. The businesses along its main thoroughfare (VT 9) are a random mix of retail, convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants. The West Brattleboro Master Plan is the village’s first attempt to prevent suburban sprawl and to create a cohesive vision for the community’s future. An Asset Based Community Development approach was used to identify the village’s greatest physical, natural, and social assets. The Plan had an extensive public participation process that included a visual aesthetic survey, an identification of assets, a community design workshop, a photo essay, focus groups and several other public meetings. Over 250 people were involved which amounted to one of Brattleboro’s most extensive public involvement processes. Community volunteers provided services and local businesses provided sponsorship which made the process highly inclusive. Final products included an 80 page full color report, three growth scenarios, a real estate market analysis, architectural renderings of a new mixed-used commercial center and a village common, and a future land use map.

Creating Vibrancy in Belfast, Maine

Belfast ME.MainSt.PJTThe local economy of Belfast Maine has faced many challenges. The shipbuilding, poultry, and seafood processing industries have come and gone, leaving Belfast with an industrial waterfront. The Route1 bypass allows tourists to essentially ignore Belfast on their routes along the coast. Many downtown merchants don’t have enough foot traffic to earn a full time living. The population is declining and aging. This coastal Maine community wanted to increase vibrancy in the city but didn’t want tourism to dilute its cultural core. The goal of this study was to increase sales activity in the local economy without being overrun by tourists. The study used an Asset Based Community Development approach to identify Belfast’s greatest assets that can be used to market the city. Crane Associates analyzed regional and national economic trends and matched those trends with Belfast’s unique assets. The result was an action plan that showed how the city can tap into those trends while still remaining true to its traditions. The study provided detailed recommendations in six major categories including marketing, events, business retention and improvement, infrastructure, institutional changes, and aligning with national trends. The City is now implementing this plan.

Economic Feasibility of a Village Master Plan, Georgia, Vermont

Mt.Mansfield Georgia VTIn 2004, the Town of Georgia completed a village master plan for a new growth center at Exit 18 on Vermont I-89. That process involved extensive public participation to determine which of three different growth scenarios the public preferred. The preferred growth scenario involved 1,393 acres of commercial, industrial and residential uses in a combination of mixed-use and single-use lands. In 2006, Crane Associates was asked to determine the economic feasibility of this preferred growth scenario. The study included an analysis of growth patterns and trends throughout the 2-county northwestern Vermont region. The study also included an analysis of commercial, industrial and residential real estate markets. The study concluded that the original master plan would take over 100 years to achieve. Crane Associates provided a new master plan based on market realities. As a result, the town was able to plan for smaller amounts of developed land, conserve critical open space, and save money on infrastructure costs.

Greensboro Town Plan, Greensboro, Vermont

Town Plan Greensboro VTGreensboro is a rural community of working Vermonters but also a destination for the vacation bound and second homeowners. There are almost twice as many out-of-state landowners in Greensboro than residents. This creates a challenging land use planning dynamic that confronts issues such as affordable housing, local economic development, recreation planning, and land conservation. Crane Associates worked closely with town officials and the general public through a series of public meetings to address each of these challenges. The result was a new town plan fully compliant with current Vermont planning laws. The town will soon engage Crane Associates to assist with the zoning ordinances to complete the plans implementation.

Capital Facilities Plan for the Town of Middletown Springs, Vermont

The Town of Middletown Springs has a serious need for a new Town Hall, Town Garage, Transfer Station and Salt Storage buildings. Property records are in jeopardy, employees are in danger, the environment is being hurt and the town is assuming unnecessary liability. Crane Associates was hired to analyze the current state of affairs and create a Capital Facilities Plan that put the town on track for building or acquiring the necessary capital to improve the situation. The Plan analyzed the Towns current liability risk, took an inventory of existing assets, and developed conceptual drawings for the new Facilities. The Plan allows prepares the Town as a qualified applicant for many grants and loans.

Capital Facilities Plan for Town Hall, Town Garage, and Fire Station for the Town of Readsboro, Vermont

The Town of Readsboro, Vermont was in dire need for more space. The Town Offices were located in two spare rooms in the local school and the Highway Department was scattered around several derelict buildings throughout town. Crane Associates provided a needs assessment to determine how much interior space was needed for each town employee and for the volunteer fire department. The final report included detailed architectural drawings for all three buildings, a construction cost analysis and permit requirements.

Recreation Plan, Digital Mapping and Town Plan Update, Middlesex, Vermont

WoosterRangeThe Town of Middlesex needed a variety of upgrades with respect to its town planning capabilities. With a state municipal planning grant the town hired Crane Associates to complete three of the more urgent tasks. The town’s paper tax parcel maps were converted into electronic format. This allowed all tax parcels on the grand list to be mapped, which greatly expanded the town’s land use planning capacity. Crane Associates also wrote a new recreation element to the town plan. This involved focus group sessions, recreation surveys, and field visits. The final task was to update the town plan so that it is compatible with new Vermont planning statutes. The Town of Middlesex is now positioned to advance a multitude of planning initiatives.

Fiscal Impacts of Growth Model for the City of Montpelier, Vermont

MontpelierMainStreetThe City of Montpelier addressed the challenge of answering a considerably complex planning question: what are its fiscal impacts of growth and development? As a municipality plans for and permits growth how will it impact the City’s finances, what new revenues and expenses are associated with the development, what City departments are affected most, and how does the development affect the tax rates for all of its citizens? The City hired Crane Associates to create in-house capability of calculating fiscal impacts of development. An Excel-based spreadsheet model was created uniquely for the City of Montpelier. It fits within the City’s current budget framework so that the costs of development are allocated to existing departments. It recognizes the City’s unique school system, tax rates, fee structure, revenue sources, and capital infrastructure. The model can analyze detailed development scenarios prior to issuing permits and determine whether it will overtax the City’s infrastructure capacity and services. The model is not a “black-box” but a transparent and flexible tool. All calculations are visible and if City department revenue sources and expenses change so can the model. Montpelier now has an invaluable planning tool that can be used to direct growth to have a net positive fiscal impact on the City.

Community Development Consolidated Plan, South Portland, Maine

Crane Associates helped the City of South Portland gain entitlement status with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development by completing the Community Development portions of their first required Consolidated Plan. We inventoried and analyzed community facilities, infrastructure, available community services, and economic development services. We documented the gaps between supply and demand in each area and determined the demand by different population groups. HUD approved the Plan in 2004 with no revisions. Client: City of South Portland.

Downtown Market Study and Revitalization Plan, Vernon, Connecticut

Vernon CT.govVernon, Connecticut is a mill town with many manufacturing plants closed and vacant. We were hired to assess the future economic development potential of the town. We analyzed the growth sectors of the regional economy, developed a clear picture of Vernon’s strengths and weaknesses, conducted a market analysis for key downtown properties, and wrote a retention and recruitment strategy. Vernon’s Economic and Community Development Director is now implementing these recommendations. Client: Town of Vernon. Partner: Economic and Policy Resources



South Shaftsbury’s Future History: An Economic Revitalization Plan, Shaftsbury, Vermont

Shaftsbury, Vermont recently lost 400 jobs in manufacturing and other sectors. In a Town of 3,700 people this change significantly affects their local economy. What can Shaftsbury do to capture an appropriate quotient of the new economy’s growth sectors? Their regional economy was analyzed sector by sector through a nine point filtering criteria to determine which industries have high growth potential and which of those are appropriate for Shaftsbury. The report concludes with strategies and detailed implementation steps that the Town can do to retain and recruit these growing sectors. Client: Town Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Economic Development Strategy, Windsor, Vermont

Economic Develop. Strategy, Windsor VTWindsor Vermont has been highly dependent on the manufacturing sector for over a century and recently experienced massive job loss. The Town sought advice on which economic sectors would be appropriate for the Town and how to recruit them. The research analyzed growing economic sectors and identified through a detailed filtering system which sectors should be most successful in town. We compiled primary data on the Town’s economic development strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities through personal interviews with key employers and projected commercial square footage needs for the next 10 years by job type. The results are being integrated in the Rails-to-River project so that landscape architects can accurately place the correct amount of commercial space in the study area. Client: Town of Windsor. Partner: Economic and Policy Resources 

Finding the Funds to Restore the Park Street School, Essex Junction, Vermont

PARKSCHOOL2The School District in Essex Junction, Vermont owns one of the oldest operating high schools in the state. With changing demographics, school consolidation, and a $700,000 reconstruction cost, this historic landmark was becoming a liability. Yet, this historic building is a core part of the village character. What uses for this building would be most appropriate? What would it take to restore the building to 21st century standards and keep it a vital part of the community? This research developed strategies for the building’s revitalization, documented funding sources, interviewed grant administrators, and rated each funding source with a probability of success. Crane Associates is now raising these funds. Client: Essex Junction School District.