December 29, 2012
It is the year 2100. Residents of Boulder County and their regional neighbors are 90 years into their pattern-changing experiment in sustainable community development. Guided by practical wisdom, sound science and an entrepreneurial spirit, they have evolved new land use and development patterns that reconnect them to thriving ecosystems and agricultural zones, support a variety of dense, walkable village centers and nurture a diverse population of young and old, low-income and affluent, and people of all races and creeds.
Across the U.S., Boulder County is seen as the epitome of a new, twenty-second century American community – one that is climate-smart, nature-friendly, economically resilient, healthy and affordable, with a commitment to innovation as a way of life.
Climate change, food security, potential manufacturing supply chain disruptions, in-commuters, population growth and a host of other issues have upped the ante not only for Boulder County, but for every other U.S. city and region that takes its future seriously. As with Boulder’s open space initiative of the 1960s, today’s challenges boil down to decisions about land use. How will we develop and, in some cases, “de-develop” our region, while supporting sustainable food production, clean air and water, an efficient transportation system, good jobs, and affordable shelter to enable residents and employees to sleep closer to where they work, shop and play?
We need to plan for a low-carbon future and embrace positive change in that direction, while rejecting Malthusian pessimism. Sooner is better.