Development Tool to Inform and Engage the Public, Asheville, NC, 2020

  • Date Launched: Aug 1, 2019
  • Dates given are approximate.


A  development tool embedded into Asheville’s search engine tool called, SimpliCity, helps the public understand and get involved in the large number of private land development happening in the area. This digital tool, already used to house all kinds of information related to neighborhood and City services, now has a ‘Development’ tab that helps the public be aware and keep track of these projects, understand their role in the process, and opportunities to engage with this work. The website is clear and easy to read due to how it categorizes and outlines the flow of the development process. The tool categorizes the large scale development as Level 1, Major Subdivision, Level 2, Conditional Zoning, and Conditional Use Permit. Within those categories they include their definition of the category, opportunities for public participation, and examples of similar types of project so the public can better relate. It also educates the public on the development process using a simple flow chart that takes the reader from ‘before an application is submitted’ down to a ‘city council approval’ with what, who, when and where answers provided at each step. This helps set expectations and educates the public about the development process. For any questions that are not answered, the webpage offers a phone number and email to their Planner of the Day. The city expects the design of the new tool to be updated iteratively, however, the data is updated nightly.