Shelburne VT is a great livable town close to Burlington
Elements of community differ amongst people.
Last week while attending the National Association of Realtors Green core curriculum course in Montpelier, the topic of “Smart Growth” was discussed. “Smart Growth” is the notion that a community has certain elements that contribute to its sustainability, resiliency and vitality. These elements include the following essential components as outlined by The Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative:
- Maintaining the historic development pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside,
- Developing compact, mixed-use centers as a scale appropriate for the community and the region,
- Enabling choice in modes of transportation,
- Protecting the state’s important environmental, natural and historic feature, including natural areas, water quality, scenic resources and historic sites and districts,
- Serving to strengthen agriculture and forest industries and minimizes conflicts of development with these industries,
- Balancing growth and the availability of economic and efficient public utilities and services,
- Supporting a diversity of viable businesses in downtowns and villages, including locally owned businesses,
- Providing for housing that meets the needs of a diversity of social and income groups in each community.
Of course, these are the goals. The Gold Standard.
Armed with new sensitivites relating to Smart Growth and what comprises Green Homes, I have been mulling over communities that come close to meeting these criteria. It is quite the process I must say…
I have been taking a closer look at Shelburne Vermont in the days since my course last week and she seems to plug into the Smart Growth equation pretty darned well.
If I were to be actively considering a place to live, Shelburne Village would be VERY high on my A-list.
A budding local organization called Transition Towns (this organization originates from the UK) is taking root in Shelburne and in Charlotte among other Vermont cities and towns, nationally and globally.
This group’s centerpiece is the notion that “Peak Oil” has been achieved on our planet and the complexities confronting us by way of Global Warming/Climate Change compel us to re-think our patterns. We see current fuel prices creeping back up again. No new refineries coming on line in decades is a sign the oil industry isn’’t even willing to invest in itself. What does that tell you?
Transition seeks to build local resiliency at the town/neighborhood level. Its goal to strengthen community via an interconnected awareness and reality that we must transition to a new notion of community, sustainablity and resiliency in the face of exponentially growing challenges.
Of course, there are many elements to these assertions and it will be in our collective best interest to open constructive dialogue with a plenitude of diverse voices around these important matters. Start by reading Rob Hopkins book entitled “The Transition Handbook.” In his book, Hopkins lays out the challenges and solutions in a format that is virally spreading across the globe.
Ultimately, if you accept these notions, Transition Towns is all about dealing with these matters now before we’re forced to or before it’s too late.
“Smart Growth,” “Green Homes” and “Transition Towns” are part of an emerging new vocabulary leading us down a path of enormous opportunity and hope. I urge you to read the following link/article from the New York Times Magazine Earth Day Edition from last month about the Transition Towns Initiative.