The Sustain Southern Maine study area is very large, stretching from Brunswick at the northern tip down the coast to Kittery, and west to Sanford, Acton, Standish and Raymond. As a first step to better understand how communities interact, we looked at existing relationships: school districts, lake associations, chambers of commerce, water districts, and other similar associations. We also looked at the location of major shopping centers, hospital service areas, labor market areas and commuting patterns. What did we find? That many different relationships and patterns exist. We put all these relationships together, talked with town managers to hear their thoughts, and created a draft map of possible Sub-Regions, dividing the study area into sections comprised of communities who tend to have a lot in common. These Sub-Regions, created to help us understand the region better, will likely change somewhat during the study process as we learn more.
Click here to view the maps we created for each of these relationships – it is an interesting series of glimpses into how our communities interact.
In a regional plan, it always makes sense to take a look at what’s already happening in the area. So, as part of working with communities to identify small, targeted growth locations, the Sustain Southern Maine team drove through the region to find the areas where pockets of growth are already occurring – where the market already wants to go. It is from these places that we will choose the first set of Pilot Locations. These locations will be a testing ground to develop safe, livable and walkable neighborhoods, with choices of housing and transportation. Each pilot will be unique as we work with communities to develop ideas that work for their residents. And, the lessons we learn in each pilot will be able to be used by other communities that have similar goals for growth and prosperity.