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Eco Legacy, an outcome of smart growth

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Ten years ago, a group of Richmond Virginia (RVA) citizens and conservation groups founded Partnership for Smarter Growth (PSG). Through programs, publications, advocacy, and dialogue, this organization has promoted a strong downtown core, connected neighborhoods, better housing and transportation options, conservation, and civic engagement.To celebrate their anniversary, PSG invites you to attend a 10th Anniversary Open House held Friday, April 4, 2014 from 5 - 7 PM at 321 Brook Road, First Floor in Richmond.

Why should you attend? PSG brings individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments together to work toward balanced growth in the RVA region. Communities - whether urban, suburban, or rural - are encouraged to become a part of the solution. For, the Greater Richmond Area continues to expand both economically and physically, as new houses are being built, new jobs are being created, and new citizens enter the RVA community.

Although the region is growing, some areas have continued to experience urban or suburban decline, lack viable public transportation options, and fail to adequately plan for the future. PSG sees Richmond as one interconnected community – one eco-legacy, where the failures and successes of each area contribute to the overall success of the region. Smarter growth allows Richmond to reach its full potential, not only by creating more livable and engaged communities, but also by encouraging smart economic growth and preparation for the future.

So, what is smart growth? It is a better way to build and maintain towns and cities. Smart growth means building urban, suburban and rural communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools. This approach supports local economies, protects the environment, and preserves farmland, forests, and open spaces. Mixed use attracts pedestrians and helps revitalize community life by making streets, public spaces, and pedestrian-oriented retail become places where people meet. Compact building design suggests communities be laid out in a way that preserves more open space, and that individual buildings make more efficient use of land and resources. Well-designed communities support wider transportation choices and provide cost savings to localities. Walkable communities provide goods and services within an easy and safe walk, and make pedestrian activity possible, thus expanding transportation options and creating a streetscape for a range of users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers – an urban healthy environment for all.

The needs of every community and their programs should be defined by the people who live and work there. Involving the community early and often in the planning process vastly improves public support for smart growth and often leads to innovative strategies that fit the unique needs of a particular community. But, this could not have happened without individual and collective community involvement. So, if you value smart growth, public process, get involved. Join in the 10 year celebration of one community’s effort to enable an eco-legacy of smart growth. For details, visit PSG’s web site www.psgrichmond.org.

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