Here is an article that appeared online in the High Plains Reader. It will interest those dealing with redevelopment pressures in their communities that are resulting in the loss or undervaluing of important community features and assets.
Beyond the characteristics described in the article there are many others associated with planning and designing healthy and successful communities that are equally important, including:
- value of neighbourhood schools;
- improved property values for areas surrounding well maintained "historic" buildings;
- improved community quality of life, health, and desirability for development associated with walkable neighbourhoods/communities;
- improved educational outcomes for children that can walk/bike to school;
- economic benefits of quality urban design and walkable communities;
- improved and streamlined development review processes with sound design standards;
- improved social health for seniors with well designed neighbourhoods;
- et cetera.
It is time that communities make sure they undertake work programs that involve holistic contemporary updating of their planning and capital improvement strategies. These should be focused on Healthy Community Design; Asset Based Community Development and Strong Towns approaches. Additionally the processes will be as important as the outcomes, because meaningful citizen participation is critical.
Our towns and cities evolve through development. It's time to make sure that our planning strategies work to ensure that these changes build and enhance what has come before, and not diminish communities' assets.