TEACH Calendar of Events
What's going on in your neighborhood this month? Meet other people and learn together at recreational and educational events! Our new dynamic calendar is updated daily with current educational events.
6 | Solutions to Sprawl (Part II)Work with your neighbors
Land-use decisions are best made when looking at the entire region, rather than just a small portion of it. Development not only affects your community, but those to the north, south, east, and west of you. Communities may be created within political boundaries, but ecosystems, rivers, wildlife habitats, and the air you breathe don't follow these boundaries, so by including other communities in planning development, more responsible and efficient growth can result.
The Great Lakes region provides some examples of regional cooperation. The First Suburbs Consortium of Northeastern Ohio is a group of 10 Cleveland suburbs who decided that working together, instead of separately, would provide better solutions to Cleveland's growth and sprawl problems. The Consortium has brought together more than 200 city and state leaders in the fight against sprawl, and Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo now all have First Suburbs organizations as well. The Grand Valley Metro Council is another good example of regional cooperation, bringing together over 30 townships in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area in order to promote anti-sprawl land-use issues. And the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council includes more than 180 townships across seven counties, and helps the city plan and manage the increasing population and growing economies of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A new way of thinking
Creating better-planned communities would also promote more alternative means of transportation, such as bus, train, bike, or foot. By providing means of safe, reliable, and efficient alternatives to car transportation, cities can provide a better atmosphere in which to live, while also protecting the environment. Minneapolis is in the first stages of providing light rail transportation, and the city also has a program that promotes bicycle transit, called the Yellow Bike Coalition. Bikes are kept at local businesses and other public places, and anyone can check them out, like you would a library book, for the day and longer periods of time.
Graphics: Image of the Twin Cities--St. Paul is in the left foreground and Minneapolis is in the middle far background. (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Council).