GIS Story Map “Reimagines” Laurel

This GIS Story Map was developed for the Town of Laurel to highlight its outstanding redevelopment potential, location for small businesses, and quality of life. The GIS Story Map offers a variety of demographic and marketing data, points of interest, marketing research, and information about infrastructure and rates.

The story map is a project of the Sussex County Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC), funded by the University of Delaware’s Sustainable Coastal Communities program. The maps and data are easy to upgrade and link to or embed on a town’s website.  The map series was constructed by Nicole Minni, GISP, of the University of Delaware IPA and Lee Ann Walling, AICP, of Cedar Creek Sustainable Planners.

Visit the story maps section of the toolbox to learn more about how you can use this tool to promote local government initiatives to support market-ready (re)development in your community.

Contact IPA’s GIS Specialist Nicole Minni, at, to obtain information on contracting her services to develop story maps.

2014 Downtown Development District Application Period Closed

Received 10 Applications

On November 1, 2014, 10 local governments submitted applications to be considered for designation as a Downtown Development District. Applications were received from Clayton, Dover, Middletown, Milford, Milton, New Castle County, Newark, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington. The Office of State Planning Coordination is managing the review of these applications for eventual consideration by the Governor.

Public Comment Period

The public comment period is open for the “Guidelines Governing the Administration and Review of Applications for Designation as DDDs”.

For more information visit the Office of State Planning Coordination’s website,

Proximity to Public Transit Boosts Home Values

A new study from the Center for Neighborhood Technology affirms that homes located near public transportation maintain their property values better than homes without transit access.  The study found that residential property values hold their value 42 percent better on average if located within a half-mile of public transportation that has high-frequency service. Studies have also shown that consumers are willing to pay more for housing located in areas that exemplify new urbanist principles or are “traditional neighborhood developments.” These neighborhoods are walkable, higher density, and have a mix of uses as well as access to jobs and amenities such as transit.

On Common Ground

The National Association of Realtors publishes On Common Ground twice yearly to focus on topics of Smart Growth, including enhancing the existing assets of a community, the long-term implications of various development patterns, and the fiscal impacts of these patterns.  The following issues focus on:

  • Sustainable Housing, including the need for affordable housing
  • The New Norm, which describes how the real estate market is evolving toward a new normal marked by growing urbanization, greater sustainability, and more transportation choices
  • Placemaking and Economic Development details the economic importance of place and how “placemaking” is being used as an economic development strategy.  Cities are finding that providing ap­pealing places where people can interact — parks, plazas, main streets, markets — can spur economic prosperity and jobs.
  • Megatrends for the Decade highlights changes in demographics and consumer behavior—characterized as a cultural and demographic shift away from suburban sprawl—that will impact transportation preferences and real estate market demands.