3 Ways the City’s Health is Reflected in Your Daily Life: Over the years, my wife and I have traveled around the country and world, exploring new and beautiful cities.  We have noted that many of these great cities consider their parks and greenways, and other human-made public squares to be essential.  Many have had excellent public transportation systems, which encourage visitors and residents to walk and take in the beautiful sights, sounds, and flavors.

These experiences have allowed me to connect my personal experience of helping build Nashville’s core communities for over 30 years.  The reality is people want to move back into our city cores.  They come to cities because they crave connectivity with community and interaction with real people – not a social network, not a virtual community.

The health or state of any given city will reflect the priorities of its citizens.  Recreating core neighborhoods with greater infrastructure, density on our corridors, walkability, and urban greening initiatives will result in reducing our carbon footprint, slowing sprawl and saving resources on the planet.  By creating strong communities, we can make a positive contribution toward preserving it.

There are some ways to be a part of building and sustaining strong city cores and communities.  I address many of them in my book, One-Mile Radius – Building Community from the Core.  However, the following are some ways that anyone—no matter their relationship within the community—can impact the health of their city by the decisions they make in daily life:

  • Support organizations looking to make a change – no matter who you are, your voice matters and you can make a difference, especially within your community. One of our driving priorities at VILLAGE  is to support organizations helping to enrich and strengthen our neighborhoods. We do this through financial donations to our nonprofit foundation, the Village Fund. To date, the Village Fund has given $2 million in grants to more than 250 organizations focused on housing, community, the arts and environment and smart growth. We also encourage our real estate agents to be actively engaged in helping build our core community centers. Support organizations that will make positive impacts in your neighborhoods.  They need your passion and backing!

 

  • Start walking and biking – it’s unequivocally the best transportation alternative for both our planet and our bodies! Helping our communities to be more walkable and bikeable, stresses the importance of greenways and better public transportation.  Utilize the current greenways, trails, and public transportation options provided by your city – doing so validates the need and desire for these initiatives within your community.  In a community where these offerings are sparse?  Communicate your interest and desire to the appropriate individuals and organizations!

 

  • Support local makers and artists – neighborhood cultures are made up of these small business owners. When we make an effort to support these local artists and entrepreneurs, we support the facilitation of growth, learning, and craftsmanship within our core neighborhoods that thrive on this inter-personal connection.

When we become better stewards of our communities, we not only improve our cities and neighborhoods, we live better, more fulfilled lives.  I’ve witnessed firsthand how the combination of community work, sales activity, political input, and development can activate and stimulate the evolution of neighborhoods and commercial districts – creating a strong core that can reverberate outward.  Learn more about Nashville’s transformation and how you can become a more effective steward of your community by exploring http://onemileradius.com/