Not to be confused with Game/Set/Match, we’ve developed GamePlanMaryland to help communicate the reason we recently drafted Maryland’s first long-term plan for sustainable growth. We saw something like GamePlanMaryland developed in Chicago a couple of years ago during the Windy City’s 100th anniversary of the Burnham Plan, named for its author, the urban planner Daniel Burnham. He is famous for (1.) laying out Chicago and its renowned lakefront, and (2.) the stirring quotation, “Make no small plans.”
The web tool, created by the planning web design firm Metroquest, does a nice job of graphically illustrating a core principle of land and environmental planning: That is, today’s decisions about land use have profound impacts tomorrow. (And by tomorrow, we don’t mean tomorrow morning or next week or even when Opening Day arrives. We’re talking about decades from now, which was not an easy time frame to contemplate even before smartphones and iPads reduced our collective attention span to 30 seconds.)
We welcome you to try out GamePlanMaryland. We named it as a play on the term “PlanMaryland” (of course) and on the frequent description by Maryland Planning Secretary Richard E. Hall that, in football parlance, PlanMaryland is a smart-growth “game plan” for the state. (And also because the terms “SimCity” and “Farmville” were already taken.)
The five-step interface by Metroquest is pretty simple and ingenious. Choose your priorities for Maryland for the next 25 years. Choose how we should grow as a state during that period and the direction for our transportation program — more roads, more transit, what combination? Then click the mouse or touch the screen and see if the future you’ve plotted will achieve the priorities you established. You can even revise your choices to see how the future would change, and how Maryland — from the perspective of about 30,000 feet at least — would look different because of it. You can use GamePlanMaryland on a desktop computer or most any tablet, even a smartphone (though we wouldn’t want you to get eye strain.) The web tool tries to help illuminate a central premise of PlanMaryland: We shouldn’t expect to make progress in combating bay pollution, energy conservation, traffic congestion and the loss of the natural resources that define Maryland with a business-as-usual approach. If you like GamePlanMaryland, please let us know.