Build One Portsmouth was about coming together as a community to shape our future. This two-year planning process has resulted in an updated Comprehensive Plan for the city.

Build One Portsmouth was designed to be inclusive, transparent and robust. The goal was that every person in Portsmouth knows about the choice to get involved and have their voice heard. Throughout the process there were multiple opportunities to get involved including workshops, meetings, open houses, and online activities. 

This plan addresses how we…

  • BUILD our resiliency
  • BUILD our economy
  • BUILD our amenities
  • BUILD our civic engagement
  • BUILD our families
  • BUILD our neighborhoods

The Process

Build One Portsmouth lasted through the summer of 2018.

Research and Analysis.

Analysis of the data and information, including an evaluation of existing conditions, forecasted population, housing, and employment trends. Goals and objectives of the current plan were also be evaluated.

Planning Framework.

Establishing the structure and themes for the development of the Plan Update. This was strongly based on the Key Findings generated during Research and Analysis. Participation from the public was critical in this phase to help affirm and develop the vision for the city, create guiding principles, and identify both geographic and thematic priorities.

Draft Plan Recommendations.

Writing and creating the images, graphics, and maps for the Plan. This phase was dedicated to the preparation of the Plan document to provide actionable recommendations. The document was designed to be concise, interactive, and user friendly to illustrate preferred concepts.

Plan Completion.

Conduct the public and official review of the Plan, collect comments, make edits and revisions based on staff, planning commission and council direction, and prepare the final Plan documents.

Who was involved?

Outreach Team.

Process and outreach

The Outreach Team was a diverse group of community members. Each Team member had access to large networks of people and worked to spread the word about this unique opportunity to get involved. This group was active throughout the process inviting people to the public meetings, workshops and other events.


Input and feedback

Widespread public involvement was vital to Build One Portsmouth’s success. A number of in-person workshops and online tools offered a variety of ways for the community to give input throughout the 24-month process. The first public event, the Focus on the Future Workshop, was held on November 10, 2016. Additional opportunities for involvement occurred in February of 2017.


Targeted input

Various stakeholder groups were convened to inform specific aspects of the Plan. These groups included business leaders, civic leagues, real estate professionals, and developers, education professionals, students, young professionals, and industry representatives among others.

City staff.


City staff supported and helped to coordinate the work of all other groups and provided local knowledge and expertise to each element of the Plan.

Elected officials.


The Planning Commission officially oversaw the Plan update, and provided extensive feedback throughout the process. The final plan was formally adopted by Planning Commission and City Council, who will have a central role in its implementation.


Process leadership, expertise

The consultant team brought together expertise and national experience in public engagement, technical planning, sustainability and resiliency planning.

  • McBride Dale Clarion: Project Management and Comprehensive Planning
  • Clarion Associates: Plan Implementation
  • Kimley-Horn & Associates: Mobility Planning
  • Planning NEXT: Visioning and Public Engagement
  • The Miles Agency: Communications and Outreach
  • TischlerBise: Fiscal Impact and Market Analysis
  • Dr. David Godschalk, UNC Chapel Hill: Sustainability
  • Mr. James Fox, NEMAC at UNC Asheville: Resiliency and Sustainability Decision Support