Is your city a great city?
is the title of a piece by the Project for Public Spaces.
In Great Cities…
• Community goals are a top priority in city planning
• The emphasis is on pedestrians, not cars
• New development projects enhance existing communities
• Public spaces are accessible and well-used
• Civic institutions are catalysts for public life.
• Local economic development is encouraged
• Public spaces are managed, programmed and continually improved.
• There are many locally owned businesses-markets, mom-and-pop stores, street vendors, and larger independent stores; these local businesses are encouraged by the city; people know their retailers by name.
• The mix of locally owned businesses is such that at least some of them are “third places” -places where people can just spend time.
• Local businesses work with schools to provide internships or part time jobs.
While I don't consider the list to be exhaustive, it is a good start.
I do believe that most communities likely are found wanting when evaluated against this list.
Too few elected officials have a vision for what a city should be, let alone what it could be, and I believe that many of the things they end up working on or pushing for actually reduce quality of life or destroy wealth and value.