Small Communities: A Better America?

I love the fact that you can visit Acadia National Park and never have to drive your car.

You can take a bus, ride a bike on safe carriage trails, hike, boat, or walk almost anywhere on quaint Mt. Desert Island.

As we build our communities, let's think about ways that we can create as many carless communities as possible, places where people can easily get to a grocery store, doctor's appointment, playground, school, or library by walking on safe sidewalks, biking on safe, wide trails, or taking a shuttle or bus.

As our populations age, the use of a car becomes more difficult--carless communities would solve a lot of those problems.

Sadly with suburban sprawl we lost the value of small communities surrounding stores, shops, and offices that meets one's basic needs. The suburban sprawl in many ways also serves to isolate people, particularly with the kinds of work schedules that many families have today.

It's not too late to rethink this with zoning, building, and plans--as the population grows, how can we change our suburbs into small communities, communities where the structure and leadership is based on caring for the people in that community with depth and breadth in a timely way.

We will be a healthier country if we move in this direction as it's easier for a small community to know one another and help one another, and then a national system based on small communities can help to tie resources together so that all profit from the breakthroughs, new knowledge, and specialized care.

I've been thinking a lot about how to make our country better and stronger, more peaceful and caring--I think the answer lies in a small communities agenda.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

Note: It could be that cities are made up of multiple "small communities." We currently might call these neighborhoods or boroughs, but it may be that we need to rethink the size and structures of small communities in order to better care for one another in our complex country and world.

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