Plan New Hampshire, The Foundation for Shaping the Built Environment (Plan NH), is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in 1989.

Plan NH’s  Mission is to encourage good planning and design and development because, we believe, what we build,  where we build and how we build has a significant impact on the health and vitality of a community.

Further, we recognize that planning for growth and development, while still important to a degree, must now take a back seat to planning for change:  changes in our demographics, changes in weather patterns and temperatures, changes in the economy, changes in how we view energy sources, food access and more.

In order to think differently about the future of where we live, work and play, we need to change the conversations.  And to change the conversations, we need to change the questions – by starting with NOT asking: what’s the problem here?  but rather:  What opportunities does this challenge provide?

Our New Hampshire-focused membership is comprised of architects, landscape architects, engineers, planners, building and real estate professionals, lawyers, financial and insurance firms and others with an interest in promoting and implementing environmentally, economically and socially sustainable communities.  This diversity of membership brings a unique variety of views and perspectives to our approach to shaping New Hampshire’s built environment.

Plan NH works with organizations throughout the state towards realizing a vision of an economically, environmentally and socially vibrant New Hampshire in which:

  • Towns and neighborhoods balance necessary development with preserving their unique, traditional characteristics
  • Walkable, mixed-use centers and neighborhoods, are encouraged
  • There are choices in living spaces near jobs, commercial and municipal centers
  • Traditional and creative ways of getting about increase access to jobs, food, education, healthcare and other services,  friends and family
  • Natural resources, open areas, undeveloped land as well as agricultural assets are protected and  honored
  • Clean energy for heat and power becomes standard
  • Collaboration and cooperation between  and among towns and regions  enhance the vitality of life in the Granite State.

Plan NH champions principles and ideas that balance building projects – and this would include anything built in the public realm, such as buildings, roads, bridges, memorials, public sculpture – with

  • The needs of people – where they live, how they get about, what services are necessary, what they value.
  • maintaining the “sense of place” of our towns, cities and villages that makes them unique
  • protecting our air, water, flora and fauna

Plan NH fulfills its mission through promoting Smart Growth and other sustainability principles via

  • The Community Design Charrette program – an exercise in which local citizens and Plan NH volunteers come together to explore potential solutions to planning or design issues in individual New  Hampshire towns.
  • Informational programming for members and others interested in sustainable planning and design and development in the communities in which they work and/or live.
  • Recognition of outstanding examples of work that reflects Plan NH’s Mission through a Merit Awards program
  • Scholarship/Fellowship programs that support students from New Hampshire who are studying in a field related to the Mission
  • The Vibrant Villages New Hampshire initiative.  With the generous support of the NH Housing Finance Authority, Vibrant Villages currently focuses on four broad categories that, together, we believe are an important foundation for a  sustainable community:
    1. Growing healthy towns while preserving our rural character
    2. Looking at how we get about
    3. Where we live
    4. Our historic resources – our past that has shaped who we are today

The initiative provides stories, ideas and tools – examples of what is happening right here in New Hampshire –  to inform and inspire us to new ways of thinking about our futures here in the Granite State.

Plan NH has a part in (no particular order)

  • A CIRD (Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design) grant with NH Cooperative Extension to look at the City of Franklin as a model for developing recommendations for communities to support aging in place.  Not unlike our traditional charrettes, this program will address aging in place as part of a larger plan for Franklin.  As of fall 2014, the program is in development.  Stay tuned for details.
  • Granite State Future:  The NH Regional Planning Commissions have received a $3.4 million Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant (from HUD/DES/USDOT)  to support their efforts in developing regional plans that are in synch with each other but also reflect the characters of each Region.  Plan NH is one of many, many partners in this project – we are on the Technical Advisory Committee for “Traditional Settlement Patterns” .
  • Healthy People Healthy Places, an initiative of HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living).  Plan NH is part of the Active Transportation team
  • Transport NH,  a coalition of diverse organizations with a common interest in changing how we develop policy for and fund transportation in New Hampshire.  Affordable access to jobs,  food, healthcare and other services, as well as to friends and family  is critical for a vibrant, healthy future for everyone.  Plan NH was  on the Steering Committee and continues to participate in their efforts.

Plan NH cannot do its work alone.  Besides the many, many volunteers in the organization that make our programs happen, Plan NH has good relationships with AIA-NH, the Granite State Landscape Architects, NH Preservation Alliance, NH Housing Finance Authority, AARP, US Green Building Council (NH Chapter) and more.

Plan NH is a member of the NH Center for Nonprofits, Smart Growth America, and the NH Planners Association.