I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about Smart Growth for a few months. I’m writing it now, because I’m excited about a lecture that I’m planning on attending tomorrow evening by Tom Hylton.
Tom Hylton is a former journalist from nearby Pottstown, PA. He won a Pulitzer prize in 1990 for a series of editorials he wrote for the Pottstown Mercury advocating for preservation of farmland and open space in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Hylton went on to write the book, Save Our Land, Save Our Towns, which is a plea for comprehensive planning to save our cities, towns, and countryside from the conventional, shortsighted land planning decisions that result in the suburban sprawl that we are presently suffering in the western end of the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Traditional planning has focused on automobile-dependent communities with detached houses on large lots in residential neighborhoods that are disconnected from each other and from commercial centers (and schools). The results include, snarled traffic, loss of open space, and loss of a sense of community.
Hylton is an advocate of Smart Growth. There are ten basic Smart Growth principles that should guide community planners and municipal planning commissions. These principles recommend:
1. Mixing land uses;
2. Taking advantage of compact building design;
3. Creating a range of housing opportunities and choices;
4. Creating walkable neighborhoods;
5. Fostering distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place;
6. Preserving open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas;
7. Strengthening and directing development towards existing communities;
8. Providing a variety of transportation choices;
9. Making development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective; and
10. Encouraging community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.
Tom Hylton will be speaking on Monday, November 26, 2012, at 7:00 PM. This free lectureis open to the public and will take place at the Macungie Institute, 510 East Main Street, Macungie, Pennsylvania.
If you are in the area, please join us to listen to this veteran of the Smart Growth movement.