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FRED steps out at Smarter Economy Summit

The Cape’s economic and community leaders were introduced to a new online planning tool developed by the Cape Cod Commission at the May 12, 2014 Smarter Economy Summit: FRED.

Short for Flexible Regional Economic Development, FRED represents the next advance in regional land use planning.

Built on the ESRI GIS mapping platform, FRED overlays a matrix of ½-mile-wide hexagons on a scalable online map of Cape Cod. Each hexagon is evaluated for commercial development suitability across 17 different criteria (workforce, open space, water protection, broadband access, transit, roadways, etc). Once the first hexagon was clicked during the live presentation, Summit attendees saw its potential.

Putting FRED’s potential into context, Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki said that those looking to site development can quickly identify the development potential and challenges at an almost a parcel-specific basis. For towns, FRED represents a new way to plan to identify the locations best suited for new development, redevelopment and other economic development planning needs. With just 13 percent of commercially-zoned parcels on Cape Cod remaining vacant, highlighting the need for smarter redevelopment planning in the years ahead. As FRED develops, new layers of data, including local zoning regulations, will be added to increase its application and utility.

The Commission is about to begin the fifth revision of the county’s Regional Policy Plan, which sets the performance standards for developments and local comprehensive plans reviewed by the Commission. Niedzwiecki said that the plans and tools developed by the commission as it enters its 25th year positions the region well for the next quarter century.

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