How We Work


CPEX helps create highly functional, equitable communities throughout Louisiana that capitalize on their unique qualities through community-driven planning and implementation.

To see how we accomplish this, check out our 2011 Annual Report.


CPEX applies its competencies across three lines of business, all in service of the mission. Years of conducting planning processes and performing outreach have led to this three-pronged approach:

  • Planning and Implementation - CPEX has worked for over a decade with communities across the state to connect them to available resources for planning and economic development, to guide them through the process of hiring the best planning team for the job, and to ensure significant public participation in planning efforts. CPEX has also worked with communities on plan implementation, from developing codes and standards, to returning blighted properties to commerce, to establishing neighborhood programs such as home rehabilitation, commercial façade improvements and community greening.
  • Policy and Advocacy - Existing policies often inhibit successful implementation of community-driven plans. Inadequate policies can make it difficult for communities and developers to build based on best practices in areas from infill projects and mixed-use developments, to transportation and parking. CPEX helps communities adapt land use standards in a market-driven fashion that suits their needs. CPEX does not lobby or support political candidates, but it does build coalitions to advocate for broader policy initiatives like Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School, as well as Louisiana-specific policies in housing, land use and transportation to have impact at the local, regional and statewide scale.
  • Communication and Outreach - Through education and dialogue-promoting efforts such as our Smart Growth Summit, speaking opportunities, consulting engagements, white papers and social media, CPEX informs, excites, and involves communities in their own futures. CPEX advances principles of planning and responsible development through communications initiatives that engage a growing number of diverse stakeholders. This work equips our allies with the knowledge needed to grow smarter. Ultimately, CPEX’s communications work will help positively shift the way Louisiana communities approach growth, land use, preservation and economic development.



This diagram illustrates the cyclical process of planning and implementation. Because each phase requires unique roles and expertise, CPEX brings value by facilitating this process at a high level, while playing tactical roles throughout.



CPEX utilizes an efficient, inclusive planning process that is flexible to accommodate communities of various scales, demographics, and geographies. The Planning Value Chain is a simplified framework to describe this process and the roles where CPEX can add value at each phase:

  1. Vision - This is when a community coalesces around a desire to grow smarter. Typically this means inspired leadership, staff, investors and/or organized citizens have decided to take charge and fulfill their vision for the future. CPEX educates and promotes dialogue through literature, outreach, presentations, and events such as our Smart Growth Summit to encourage communities to gain vision.
  2. Plan - Planning is the critical step where communities map out a comprehensive strategy for achieving their vision by working with planning experts across various disciplines and by actively soliciting public participation. During this phase, CPEX helps communities organize, assess needs, build capacity, leverage funding streams, objectively select third party experts, and reach out to stakeholders for input, education and plan adoption. When appropriate, CPEX also creates plans.
    Download the “What is a Comprehensive Plan” onesheet >
  3. Policy - Policy often happens in tandem with implementation, and can include enacting land use policies, a fundamental step in going from planning to building and growth. CPEX not only has expertise in policy design, but has developed free resources providing model codes and ordinances to be adapted for the needs of different types of communities.
  4. Implement - This is the long-term phase where many public and private development projects over time move a community toward its vision. With programs for revitalization at the neighborhood level and tools for implementation at larger scales, CPEX can play different roles in this phase depending on the needs of the community.
  5. Sustain - With time and changing conditions, communities must revisit and revise their plans based on progress and outcomes. CPEX builds strong relationships with communities and remains present and available as communities maintain and refine their plans.



No two communities are the same, but ideally neighborhood plans should align seamlessly with municipal plans, which should fit into parish and regional plans, etc. However, in reality, plans are often not conducted in such a logical or coordinated fashion. Because CPEX works at all scales throughout Louisiana, the organization benefits from a system perspective, and guides community planning in a way that is sensitive to existing plans and other distinguishing contextual aspects of the community.