Source: UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT submitted to
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH FOR LOCAL DECISION MAKING AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0203080
Grant No.
2005-34269-15671
Project No.
VT-0050SG
Proposal No.
2005-06036
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
HV
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2005
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2008
Grant Year
2005
Project Director
Schmidt, F. E.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
(N/A)
BURLINGTON,VT 05405
Performing Department
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND APPLIED ECONOMICS
Non Technical Summary
There are disconnects between the resources and skills of Vermont's local government officials, small entrepreneurs and general data users and the technology, information and other resources that could make their decision making activities much easier and more effective. This project will explore and support the successful implementation and use of information technology in municipal government and local business, explore and support the distribution and use of data in local decision-making, help small and micro-businesses make the local and global connections necessary for their success, and research public input and other processes that can benefit the quality and effectiveness of local decision making activities.
Animal Health Component
40%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
10%
Applied
40%
Developmental
50%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
6086099301030%
8036099308010%
8056050308030%
9036050308030%
Goals / Objectives
The goal of this proposed grant project is to support local decision making and entrepreneurial activities in Vermont through technical assistance on accessing and using community data, outreach on the use of information technology for local government and business, and research into effective public input strategies and other local processes. This proposal's four program areas will provide insightful exploration into e-commerce outreach for small and micro-businesses, the creation of new types of community indicators and typologies, research on the use of local foods in Vermont, GIS training for teachers and municipal officials, the development of new public online data resources and more.
Project Methods
The four program areas are: Indicators for Vermont Communities, which will provide outreach and technical assistance with Vermont community datasets; Resources for Local Entrepreneurship, which will work toward an e-commerce planning toolkit and research local food issues and economic clustering; Municipal E-Government Outreach, which will support new and innovative ways of disseminating services and information and conducting municipal business electronically; and Community Planning Tools for Vermont, which will focus on tools and training relevant to local community planning activities.

Progress 07/01/05 to 06/30/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Updates, enhancements and maintenance were performed to the Center for Rural Studies' "flagship" data website is Vermont Indicators Online at http://crs.uvm.edu/indicators. During the project period, website visits totaled 24,000, with 60,000 page and file accesses. Updates and maintenance were performed to the Vermont Housing Data website at www.housingdata.org. Under its Census Bureau State Data Center status, CRS lead the effort in Vermont to provide physical address locations for the Local Update of Census Addresses program in preparation for Census 2010. Officials from 115 municipalities attended LUCA workshops held by CRS staff, and 52 municipalities participated fully in the program. In all, 274,938 housing unit addresses were submitted for Vermont, 11,959 of which were the result of local government review and revisions. The Vermont SDC website at http://crs.uvm.edu/census received 24,000 visits and 177,000 page and file accesses during this project period. The Population Clusters and Public Policy Analysis used Vermont E911 data in an innovative way to create a spatial data set depicting the occurrence of population clusters in the state of Vermont. Clusters based on various structure types were calculated across Vermont and community-by-community. A cluster index was created, and an Internet-based visualization tool was developed at http://maps.vcgi.org/StrictDens. Numerous workshops and presentations on community data sources yielded a total attendance of more than 500 people. CRS staff continued to partner with the Women's Agricultural Network and pilot the "Adding the Internet to your Business Recipe" workshops for farmers. In October and November of 2007, 19 participants (the most to date) attended a workshop that maintained the focus on peer-knowledge and had further developed content on the actual practices of developing and maintaining websites. Research was conducted into how much local food is produced, purchased, and consumed in Vermont and to what degree Vermont and other states produce and could produce their own local foods in order to match current food consumption. 180 local officials attended workshops on municipal websites and data security during the project period. CRS staff continued to provide leadership on the Vermont Land Use Education and Training Collaborative. Updates, enhancements and maintenance were performed for the Vermont Planning Information Center (VPIC) at www.vpic.info, which is a widely-used clearinghouse of information for municipal land use officials. VPIC totaled 31,000 visits and 195,000 page and file accesses during this project period. A curriculum was created for municipal officials and K-12 educators on basic usage of geographic information systems (GIS) and the free software available. The first two rounds of workshops were attended by 77 officials and educators. Enhancements were made to the innovative Community Build Out Analysis software package, including small-area population projections, open space zoning, a net-density concept, density bonus implementation, and the ability to direct new development toward 'seed' areas of high neighborhood mixed use. PARTICIPANTS: Project Staff included Frederick Schmidt, PhD, (P.I.), William Sawyer (Project Manager), Kenneth Becker (Research Associate), Jessica Hyman (Graduate Research Assistant), David Timmons (Graduate Research Assistant), Michael Moser (Research Associate), and Gwen Pokalo (Research Assistant). Partner Organizations with direct project contributions included Addison County Regional Planning Commission, the Women's Agricultural Network, Vermont Center for Geographic Information, Smart Growth Vermont, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Coordinating Organizations included Vermont's Regional Planning Commissions, the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont Extension, Vermont's Secretary off State, the Vermont Planners Association, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and the Vermont Land Use Institute. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target Audiences included local communities, local land use officials, municipal officials, local decision-makers in general, Vermont data-users, K-12 educators, farmers, entrepreneurs, affordable housing advocates, policy-makers, and practitioners in community and economic development. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
The work performed via this project benefits a range of Vermonters, from municipal officials, to citizen planners, to local entrepreneurs. Local officials and community planners can find more and more information at their fingertips, with which to make the best decisions they can for their community's future. Small agricultural entrepreneurs can use the educational resources created with this project to access information technology capabilities never before available to their rural communities. Vermonters in general can know more about where we have come from, where we are now, and what we can do to guide our future, thanks to the informational and technical opportunities provided through this project. The Vermont Indicators Online website is very well known amongst local decision-makers. Current user evaluation input reveals that the website is being used for local planning, for educational projects and for securing grant funds, among other purposes. The Vermont Housing Data website is also very popular, and is being used for such purposes as local planning, affordable housing analyses, and for personal housing purchase decisions. The State Data Center work on the LUCA program facilitated the single-most influential step that local communities could take to ensuring a complete and accurate count of Vermonters in 2010. Census Bureau data is the single-most used source of local-level indicators for community and economic development in Vermont, and the quality of such data is crucial. In the same vein, our SDC work has allowed us to monitor Bureau data programs, like the new American Community Survey, and advocate that the interests of Vermont communities are served. The "Adding the Internet to your Business Recipe" workshop had immediate and longterm benefit to participants. It is clear that the workshop achieved its objective of educating the participants about how to make decisions about their online presence. Participants with established websites all said they planned to make changes to the text and photos on their sites based on what they learned. Most participants said the workshop gave them a better understanding of the Internet and how to develop an effective website. One respondent said the workshop gave her the confidence to pursue her idea for a Web-based business. The GIS curriculum was created for municipal officials and K-12 educators had an immediate impact on participants. 82% of participants said that they "learned a lot" in the course, and 67% replied that they would be able to incorporate what they learned directly into their organizational duties. Results of the local food research suggest that a possible upper bound on Vermont's local food is 38%, which represents the amount of food that would be local if all foods that could be utilized locally were retained in the state. Vermont has the highest per-capita direct sales in the country, at $15.52, compared to the national average of $2.82. These new ways of assessing the status and trends in local food use will be useful both in Vermont and for local food projects around the United States.

Publications

  • Timmons, D. 2006. Measuring and Understanding Local Foods: The Case of Vermont (thesis). Graduate College, University of Vermont.
  • Vermont Center for Geographic Information. 2007. An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Vermont Geographic Data, and ArcExplorer (curriculum manual).


Progress 07/01/06 to 06/30/07

Outputs
The goal of this grant project is to support local decision making and entrepreneurial activities in Vermont through technical assistance on accessing and using community data, outreach on the use of information technology for local government and business, and research into effective public input strategies and other local processes. This grant's four program areas will provide insightful exploration into e-commerce outreach for small and micro-businesses, the creation of new types of community indicators and typologies, research on the use of local foods in Vermont, GIS training for teachers and municipal officials, the development of new public online data resources and more. This year, Center for Rural Studies (CRS) staff, subcontractors, and other collaborators have been actively working on the project objectives of this grant. A curriculum to educate small agricultural entrepreneurs on the opportunities and requirements of e-commerce has been delivered to 14 participants in an small workshop setting, and a new round is being planned for October 2007. The software coding necessary for planned enhancements to the Community Build Out Tool (http://crs.uvm.edu/cpdp/buildout) has begun. Spatial-statistical analyses to measure population clusters are being explored. Workshops on computer data security for municipal officials were delivered in October 2006 and April 2007. Annual data updates to the Vermont Indicators Online (http://crs.uvm.edu/indicators) and Vermont Housing Data (www.housingdata.org) websites were completed.

Impacts
The work funded by this grant will impact a range of Vermonters, from municipal officials, to citizen planners, to local entrepreneurs. Local officials and community planners will find more and more information at their finger tips, with which to make the best decisions they can for their community's future. Small agricultural entrepreneurs will use the resources created with this grant to access information technology capabilities never before available to their rural communities. Vermonters in general will know more about where we have come from, where we are now, and what we can do to guide our future, thanks to the informational and technical opportunities provided by this grant.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 07/01/05 to 06/30/06

Outputs
Center for Rural Studies (CRS) staff, subcontractors, and other collaborators are actively working on the project objectives of this grant. A curriculum to educate small agricultural entrepreneurs on the opportunities and requirements of e-commerce is being developed. The software coding necessary for planned enhancements to the Community Build Out Tool has begun. Spatial-statistical analyses to measure population clusters are being explored. A workshop on computer data security for municipal officials had been designed and will be delivered in October. Annual data updates to the Vermont Indicators Online (http://crs.uvm.edu/indicators) and Vermont Housing Data (www.housingdata.org) websites was just completed. Project work is on track, and CRS staff look forward to celebrating our progress and accomplishments.

Impacts
The work funded by this grant will impact a range of Vermonters, from municipal officials, to citizen planners, to local entrepreneurs. Local officials and community planners will find more and more information at their finger tips, with which to make the best decisions they can for their community's future. Small agricultural entrepreneurs will use the resources created with this grant to access information technology capabilities never before available to their rural communities. Vermonters in general will know more about where we have come from, where we are now, and what we can do to guide our future, thanks to the informational and technical opportunities provided by this grant.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period