Monday, October 8, 2012
Our land use policy choices have consequences in the spheres of economic development, social equity, and the natural environment. Because land use policy choices are made through a “political” process, and are generally accomplished by writing and implementing laws and regulations, it is vitally important that ordinary members of the community get involved in the process. When public participation goes down, the result is almost always that private interests end up making the rules that we then all have to live by. If we don’t get personally involved, ourselves, then what we think of as “self-government” winds up being a system in which we elect the people, who hire the people, who run our lives for us.
It is not easy to find effective ways to engage the public in the important land use policy decisions that will shape our future. Today, I want to alert interested members of the public, and also interested elected and non-elected officials at the local government level, of some help that is available, an opportunity to get free technical assistance to maximize what is often called “smart growth” planning. Smart Growth America, whose tagline is, “making neighborhoods great together,” is offering technical assistance grants to local communities. You can get details at kusp.org/landuse. The application deadline is October 25th.