Environmental Resilience Institute Internship Grant Reflection: Harrison Premen

Harrison Premen

Internship Location: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC)

Journal Entry #1:

My name is Harrison Premen and I am a rising 4th year Bachelors of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.  This summer, I am currently an intern at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC).  A Planning District Commission facilitates regional planning, encompassing the needs of multiple localities when working on projects.  The TJPDC encompasses the counties of Nelson, Fluvanna, Louisa, Greene, and Albemarle, and the City of Charlottesville.  Some of the most important planning activities that the TJPDC engages in are, managing the federally mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Rural Transportation Program, facilitating cooperation between the Charlottesville Area Transit, Juant, and University Transit Service, managing the regional ride-share program, developing Small Area Plans, and generally furthering sustainable economic development and cooperation in the entire service area.

The inclusion of a regional scope drastically increases the sustainability of a planning project.  No locality exists in an isolated bubble.  For example, a residential development in one county can easily impact the traffic, housing market, and environmental quality of another.  This is most evident in transportation planning, where main traffic corridors span across multiple localities.  Regional planning increases the level of impact analysis to a larger scale, resulting in outcomes that promote greater harmony in the entire region.

As an intern, I have been fortunate enough to assist on two important projects.  The first project is an inventory of the current zoning ordinances of each county.  The goal is to compare their housing regulations and provide information that is easily accessible and understandable to the public.  The second project is an analysis of current transportation grant programs and other revenue schemes to establish permanent long-term funding for transportation projects.  With state and federal funding in a constant flux, it is important that the TJPDC has a reliable source of funding.

I am very thankful to have this opportunity and this stipend, which allows me to fully engage myself in my internship and future career,

Harrison Premen