As our towns and cities grow, we have choices to make about our natural areas, our historic heritage, our mobility, our sense of community – even our health and safety.
Choices for Growth: Quality of life and the natural environment
For most coastal communities it is not a question whether or not to grow, but how. As we spread out over the land, we spend more and more time in our cars, and less time with our families, friends, and neighbors. Research shows that this high-stress lifestyle is not only eroding our sense of community, but is also eroding the natural environment that sustains our lives.
The loss of natural areas degrades our quality of life and deprives us of free natural services we need to maintain the quality of water that runs off our land and into our bays and bayous.
The long tradition of human settlement tells us we can design and build towns and cities in ways that enhance our quality of life at the same time we preserve and enhance the health of the environment in which we live.
We need to think about the pattern of future growth if we are to preserve some of the things that are most important to us and to our children.
We have choices. To make wise ones, we have to look at the Big Picture and think through the consequences of our decisions. We have to put all our options on the table. Everyone must have the opportunity to help make the important decisions that will benefit the whole community. We have to be fair to everyone – people already living here, and the people who will move here; the developers and the taxpayers; the people on this side of town and the people on that side of town.
This is about the future, about improving our communities, our homes. Every decision we make is an opportunity to make them even better.
Click here to download the full text of Choices for Growth: Quality of life and the natural environment. (pdf, 2.5 mb)
“Choices for Growth: Quality of life and the natural environment” is a collaborative publication created by the following partners: Houston Tomorrow (formerly the Gulf Coast Institute), Texas NEMO, Texas Sea Grant, Texas Coastal Management Program, NOAA, and the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University.
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