Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Normal Opportunity Area

The report "Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America" is about determining how close we are to having communities that provide what people need. In the section about "opportunity areas" -- areas with "moderate density housing or jobs" and "neighborhoods that ...can lead to improved connectivity and increased rates of walking, biking, and transit use at the regional scale" -- Bloomington-Normal ranks 4th in "Growth Opporunity Areas Compared to Region" for regions under 500,000.

The report includes a set of goals for becoming a "complete community," categorized under goals for creating homes near transportation providers ("living"), goals for regional economic growth ("working"), goals for reducing dependence on automobiles ("moving"), and goals for supporting healthy lifestyles ("thriving"). As I read through the specific goals in each category, I was pleased to find that Normal shares many of them. For example, having the Uptown Station centrally located relative to ISU and the surrounding neighborhoods, having many college graduates to provide "new talent" and having a wide range of employment opportunities, efforts to making walking and biking safe, and promoting access to healthy food, promoting physical activity, and providing access to arts.

Normal isn't quite "there yet" but we're getting there!

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