An interesting feature in today’s Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times discusses the importance of mapping to determine long-term growth of the region. The story discusses a seven-county effort to map the region’s long-term growth objectives.
“A key idea coming from meetings was the creation of a suitability map would show land already in conservation, such as federal and state forests and national parkland.”
The move to a regional growth plan is an exciting development that’s being echoed in other regions that are seeing strong growth pressures. The southern United States in under increasing growth pressure as boomers retire and want to relocate to the sunbelt states.
I’ve witnessed an incredible boom around Fort Myers, Florida, where my in-laws spend their winters. The spread of strip malls have meant a large number of vacant storefronts as shopping opportunities far exceeded the demand of the region. Traffic in that area is also extremely frustrating, and little thought seems to have been placed on a large-scale regional plan.
Creating sustainable growth in areas of high development pressure does require a coalition approach between many different governments at the local and regional level. It’s great to read stories that recognize the issues and act to create consensus and leadership.