Growing a bright future

2013-05-12T02:30:00Z Growing a bright futureMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
May 12, 2013 2:30 am  • 

Homes are located in neighborhoods, which are part of a larger community. Our homes happen to be located in the shadow of the country’s third largest city, along the southern shores of the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume.

A recent study of real estate purchasers (both land and homes) found that the most important factor for selecting a place to live is “quality of life.” The 18-month survey noted that what is important today is in line with the lifestyle that many Baby Boomers experienced in their childhood – a throwback to a slower time.

Good communities with quality schools and a focus on outdoor amenities cater to today’s quality of life market, which is looking to settle down near family, as close to work as possible, preferably in a place with decent weather.

Do four very unpredictable seasons, year in and year out, count as decent weather?

Well, you know what they say, you can’t control the weather, so it’s important to focus on the things we can control in our communities.

Growth presents a tremendous opportunity for progress. We can create more choices for residents, workers, visitors, children, families, single people and older adults - choices in where to live, how to get around and how to interact with the people around them.

According to the proponents of “smart growth,” community quality of life, design, economics, environment, health, housing and transportation - many of the things we all care about - are affected by development decisions. From the length of our daily commute to the price of a new home and the safety of our neighborhoods - what, where and how we build have major impacts on our personal lives and our communities.

When communities choose smart growth strategies, they can create new neighborhoods and maintain existing ones that are attractive, convenient, safe and healthy. They can foster design that encourages social, civic and physical activity. They can protect the environment while stimulating economic growth.

Consider how your community is responding to the key issues identified in “This is Smart Growth,” published by the International City/County Management Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency:

Community Quality of Life - Smart growth offers a framework to build community and help create and preserve a sense of place. It does this through housing and transportation choices, urban green spaces, recreational and cultural attractions, and policies and incentives that promote mixed-use neighborhoods.

Design - By promoting the principles of green building design that combine energy and water efficiency, healthy indoor air quality and the use of natural building materials with mixed use neighborhoods, revitalized downtowns, walkable communities and high density, low impact development, smart growth creates communities that provide environmental, economic, social and health benefits for all.

Economics - Smart growth encourages community-based small business investment and development, adds to the variety of local employment opportunities and helps attract new businesses and industries. More efficient government services are key to this, as are public and private investments that focus on quality of life improvements.

Environment - Many of our current environmental challenges - air and water pollution, global warming, habitat fragmentation and conversion - are due in part to the way we have built our neighborhoods, communities and metropolitan areas during the past half-century.

Health - Smart growth reduces health threats from air and water pollution and indoor air contaminants through resource-efficient building design and offering transportation options such as mass transit, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. These engage residents and workers in a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Housing - Smart growth promotes housing options for diverse lifestyles and socio-economic levels. It does this through mixed-use, affordable housing and compact development that revitalizes neighborhoods and provides an alternative to automobile-dependent communities.

Transportation - Smart growth protects public health and environmental quality, conserves energy and improves the quality of life in communities by promoting new transportation choices and transit-oriented development.

Growth is "smart" when it gives us great communities, with more choices and personal freedom, good return on public investment, greater opportunity across the community, a thriving natural environment and a legacy we can be proud to leave our children and grandchildren.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pillars of the Community: Marking the 1st annual Arbor Day celebration in St. John, Alsip Nursery donated a flowering Japanese tree lilac to the Parks Department. Great Lakes Landscape Management planted the tree in St. John’s Prairie West Park.

{photo provided by Alsip Nursery}

Dino Ioakimidis - Great Lakes Landscape Management

Scott Polster - Certified Arborist, Forever Green, Vice President St. John Tree Board

Sharisa Eatinger - Alsip Nursery Manager

Heather McLean - Alsip Nursery manager

Laurel Sadlowski - St. John Garden Club

Chip Sobek - St. John Parks Department Manager

Nick Shaw - Lawn Doctor Inc.

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