RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
on Up or Out?
When I ran for Washington County Commissioner in 1990, I coined the phrase "Smart Growth" to label a set of planning ideas When planning for growth, it's smart to:
*Learn from--and avoid-- the mistakes of other cities that grew by expanding: ugly sprawl, blighted cores and inner suburbs, congested freeways, polluted air and water; loss of natural and rural resources, etc.
*Use good data, creativity, and collaboration to redesign more functional, compact urban forms--grow up before out.
*Involve citizens, local governments, business leaders and design professionals to guide plans for infill and redevelopment: create safe, attractive places where people DO want to live and work, with densities that support convenient transit and nearby parks and services.
*Adopt transportation, land use, and economic development policies that encourage sustainable, compact growth, attracting good jobs and green, energy-efficient businesses.
*Craft "livability" policies and investment strategies so that essential goods and services--housing, transportation, schools, health care, markets, parks, etc.--are accessible, and affordable to local employees.
*Protect the rural lands that give both country and city folks healthy local food, clean water and air, beautiful scenery, recreation, cultural attractions, and our historic sense of place.
*Use public funds prudently, rather than burdening taxpayers and future generations to build expensive new infrastructure out from the urban edge.
Since 1990, we've done a lot of these things, and done some of them well. But the Reserves process is our big test. Will we build on our successes, or give in to 40-50 years of staged sprawl?
It's NOT smart to plan on paving over farmland and watersheds, whatever the "aspirations" of current city leaders. It IS smart to make better use of the land we've already urbanized, and save our natural resources to meet future needs.
We're at the 11th hour of a fateful process. At 11am and 11pm each day left in the Reserves decision process, I am pausing to imagine what I'd want to see here in 40-50 years. I invite you, if you're so inclined, to please join me in this little exercise.
Chair, Washington County Board of Commissioners (1995-1999)
posted 3 years, 5 months ago
view in context