Where do we go from here?

Posted by | Filed under Blog | May 14, 2011 | No Comments

The New Urbanism promises to change our suburban neighborhoods into places of rich relationships.  What about our urban neighborhoods?  As more and more families move out to the suburbs seeking affordable housing and quality education for their children, urban neighborhoods struggle to retain families and provide adequate education for the families that do stay.  So how do we reconnect our urban neighborhoods to our suburban neighborhoods and facilitate sustainable growth?  To address this issue municipalities need to embrace and encourage affordable housing within walking distance to mass transit.  The automobile’s future is grim in major metropolitan cities, at our current growth rate the infrastructure needed is unaffordable and unsustainable but most importantly the social and environmental implications of traffic congestion are severe.  Limited time with family, friends and community leads to unhappiness and erodes our society’s productivity and creativity.  Increasing levels of pollution caused by carbon releasing fuels will continue to deteriorate the health of our society.  Transportation authorities should redirect significant funds towards major mass transit projects and less on road infrastructure.  With meaningful funding of commuter and light rail systems our metropolitan urban cores can reconnect with suburban neighbors and lead to a more sustainable way of life.  Further, municipalities must encourage smart development around this infrastructure and incentivize private developers towards high density mixed use development with affordable housing.  Our federal support of mass transit is tenuous at best and the funds we do commit are unfoundedly prioritized towards intercity connections.  Our problems are not solved by connecting cities to each other, we need to connect cities with themselves.  A concerted effort must be made to reprioritize and focus significant transportation funds on intra-city projects and delay inter-city projects to another day.

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