Projects: Current and Past Work
Project Management and Consulting, Finance and Policy Research, Regional and Transportation Planning, Strategic Planning and Facilitation Services
Financing Equitable Development
- MZ Strategies has worked with numerous communities to advance equitable development strategies ranging from specific policy initiatives and funding programs, to strengthening multi-sector coalitions, and updating regulatory approaches. "Advancing Equitable Transit-Oriented Development through Community Partnerships and Public Sector Leadership" spotlights strategies being used in four regions to create more inclusive communities near transit, and discusses federal tools available to support development of transit real estate assets for affordable housing. (Published October 2016.)
- The Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is a three-year, $90 million initiative to amplify locally driven efforts to ensure that major new infrastructure investments lead to equitable, healthy opportunities for everyone. MZ Strategies is part of the cross-disciplinary team working with local partners in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis and the San Francisco Bay Area to advance cutting edge policies and TOD projects that support social, climate, health and economic benefits for local residents and communities. Among the work we are supporting is lifting up best eTOD practices and helping to expand how transit agencies, public partners and local advocates envision equitable transit development. MZ Strategies authored two SPARCC eTOD publications: “Lighting a SPARCC Under Equitable Transit-Oriented Development” and “Implementing Equitable Transit-Oriented Development” (Published May 2018.)
- Cities, regional planning agencies and states are stepping up to support development near transit. MZ Strategies, LLC conducted research for the AARP report, "Communities Are Embracing Development Near Transit: A Snapshot of Transit-Oriented Development Support across the United States," which details the ways state, regional, and local actors proactively foster TOD. (Published September 2017.)
- The Elephant in the Region: Charting a Path for Bay Area Metro to Lead a Bold Regional Housing Agenda -- co-authored by Heather Hood and Geeta Rao with MZ Strategies, LLC, examines best practices from other regions coordinate and fund affordable housing. This Enterprise Community Partners report concludes with a series of recommendations for creating a new regional housing entity in the San Francisco Bay Area to address a housing affordability crisis that feels insurmountable to many. (Published December 2017)
- Financing Mixed-Income Housing: A White Paper supported by the McKnight Foundation to look at funding challenges and opportunities in the Twin Cities to finance mixed-income housing. This project looks at experiences in strong and weaker market sub-regions and will result in case studies of real-world mixed-income projects to help inform emerging policies and practices of public agencies, developers, lenders, equity investors and low-income housing tax credit syndicators. (Published November 2015.)
- "Unlocking MAP-21's Potential to Fund Equitable TOD": A white paper developed for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) and its regional and national stakeholders working to advance equitable transit-oriented development (TOD). It focuses on the potential role of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in supporting equitable TOD through the use of federal transportation funds and other resources. A set of policy recommendations and actions are offered to facilitate greater MPO involvement. (Published October 2013.)
- Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance: MZ Strategies is part of the technical assistance team led by Smart Growth America and funded by the Federal Transit Administration to support eTOD in communities already served by or planning new transit service, whether rail, streetcar or bus rapid transit.
Metropolitan Transportation Planning and Regional Economic Development Planning
-- "2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness Report" After decades of strong growth fueled by the federal government, data in recent years shows a significant economic slowdown in metropolitan Washington. To respond to this challenge, area leaders at the Council of Governments made economic competitiveness their focus in 2015 and conducted a comprehensive assessment of the region’s economy. The 2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness Report, authored by MZ Strategies, looks at a wide range of indicators measuring the region’s economic climate as well as its built and human infrastructure and quality of life. (Published January 2016.)
-- "The Innovative MPO Guidebook:" A comprehensive overview of metropolitan transportation planning with nearly 100 real-world examples from 50 different metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) illustrating 30 different innovative tools. The Guidebook was prepared for Transportation for America and includes 20 detailed case studies of large, small and medium-sized MPOs involved in innovative planning, community engagement, modeling and performance measurement, funding and programming, and consideration of freight, land use, economic development, and housing within long-range transportation plans. (Published December 2014.)
-- Past Models For Regionalism: Mariia Zimmerman of MZ Strategies presents Regionalism Past and Present at the Institute for Sustainable Communities' "Regional Approaches to Resilience" Leadership Academy. This video of Mariia's presentation reviews various historical regional models, and discusses why regional collaboratives form and how regions can derive and wield power when it comes to addressing climate change and other issues (33 minutes).
-- Regional Resilience Primer: MZ Strategies is a contributing author to this resource developed by the Institute for Sustainable Communities detailing the many ways that regional collaboratives around the USA are taking on climate planning, adaptation and mitigation. (Published July 2015.)
-- "Regional Allocation of Federal Transportation Funding:" A summary prepared for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council's Transportation Advisory Board of how MPOs allocate their federal transportation formula funds, with analysis of Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle. (Published September 2013)
-- "Planning for Regional Competitiveness" A report prepared with the National Association of Regional Councils that examines strategies for integrating economic competitiveness and economic performan with regional planning. The report was prepared for the McKnight Foundation and includes case studies of Denver, Kansas City and Seattle. (Published May 2013).
Transit Corridor Planning, TOD and Federal New Starts
- Consulting support to numerous transit corridor planning initiatives across the country, including such projects as the City of Portland’s Powell-Division Transit and Development Project; the St Louis Bi-State Development Northside-Southside corridor; Portland METRO’s Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy; and Hennepin County’s Southwest LRT Community Works.
- Strategic advisor to creating and improving existing TOD programs and policies within public agencies including the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, Metro Transit, VIA Transit and the City of San Antonio, Oklahoma City, the City of Saint Paul, Washington County, the City of Richmond and GRTC.
- Advancing TOD through Transit Corridor Planning - a compendium of best practices in corridor planning from the Twin Cities region looking back over the past 10 years from the Hiawatha Light Rail to Northstar Commuter Rail, Central Corridor LRT and future light rail and bus rapid transit corridors throughout the region. (prepared for the Metro Transit TOD Office, Published May 2014)
Strategic Planning and Transportation Advocacy
- The "Transportation Transformation Project" offers recommendations for philanthropy to continue supporting local and market-oriented reforms, and summarizes key trends which local and national advocacy groups are using to achieve public health, economic development, social equity and market innovation from transportation investments. The Project Page also includes case studies of recent reform efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington DC National Capital regions, results of a national survey to identify key issues and areas of innovation, and a memo highlighting technology's role in driving reform. (January - December 2014.)
- MZ Strategies, LLC provides strategic planning support to a number of specific regional coalitions, foundations and public agencies. More information on clients and projects is available upon request.
Conveying the Benefits of Transit Investments
- "Transforming Community": A synthesis of the multi-year Transitway Impact Research Program's findings on the actual and projected impacts of transitways on the Twin Cities region, offering lessons learned to help guide the build-out of the rest of the network most effectively, and a set of implications for policymakers. (Published October 2013.)
- "Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investments" This piece summarizes research by the University of Minnesota regarding the increase in regional transit accessibility from aligning transit investments with economic development and job centers. (Published September 2012.)
In her previous work, Mariia Zimmerman, Principal of MZ Strategies, served as Project Manager and co-author for seminal research including:
The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring Affordability of Housing Choice (Brookings Institution)
A Guidebook to Congestion Relief Tolls (University of Minnesota).