Towns everywhere struggle to maintain their identities in the face of either too much growth or not enough of the right kind of growth. How do we grow while keeping the things we love? No town has enough money to do all the things that need to be done and there is no doubt that decisions about development affect whether a town stays financially stable.

Too many towns have adopted land use regulations which make it impossible to build beloved, financially successful places; Ivy’s mission is to reverse that trend. She is dedicated to helping towns and cities determine which of their streets and neighborhoods are the most beautiful and successful, and then spelling out the underlying rules which created those spaces. Once the rules are understood, then towns can create new neighborhoods which match their best existing places. Ivy understands both how to determine what the unwritten rules are in those best places and how to help towns recreate the rules in the form of zoning.

Ivy has been organizing and managing public engagement processes for more than 10 years. She is committed to using all the available tools to help residents understand how planning affects their daily life. Ivy also understands that not everyone absorbs information the same way; in her public workshops and charrettes she uses many different techniques to help residents internalize what they know about their town and what needs to be done to make their town a better place. Residents color maps, put stickers on photos, talk about their favorite places, identify their least favorite places before Ivy helps them turn those thoughts into concrete actions.

The success of any change hinges on who comes to the table to plan the change. Ivy knows that the women and men who run the community suppers and staff the volunteer fire department and the community gardeners and the first grade teachers and the plow guys and the bartenders and waitresses and the ministers are all part of the community and each one brings important knowledge to the table. How do we get people to the table? We invite them. We invite them not with the legally required advertisement in the newspaper but with personal invitations. We ask around: Who knows that tall waitress at the local bar who seems to know everyone? Maybe she would be willing to pass out flyers at the bar. We offer childcare, and dinner, and meeting times besides Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. We hold workshops at the library and local churches and the movie theater on Saturday morning. People care about their towns and they want to be involved: it’s our job to make that possible for as many people as possible.

Ivy is certified by the Form Based Code Institute to write form-based code; she also has extensive experience with using conventional code to create better places. Ivy has been a member of Congress for the New Urbanism for more than ten years and regularly attends both national and regional events; she recently received certification as a planner from CNU. She is committed to the Incremental Development Alliance model of growth: towns need to help local people invest in their own places, creating wealth for individuals and for municipalities.

For many people their first and only interaction with local government is through the building and zoning office; Ivy believes that land use regulations should be effective, transparent, and easily understood by a layperson. No one should need to hire a lawyer to see whether they can build an addition or a building or expand a business.

In 2015 she organized a planning and development conference featuring national speakers including Charles Marohn of Strong Towns, R. John Anderson of the Incremental Development Alliance and Anderson Kim Architecture and Urban Design. That conference is now semiannual under the auspices of Plan-NH. Ivy is a frequent participant in Plan-NH design charrettes for New Hampshire towns and cities.

Ivy is also certified by the National Charrette Institute to manage charrettes for municipalities and developers, using a model of compressed, comprehensive engagement and design.