Our community must be prepared for a paradigm shift. It will require the collaboration of developers (I am one), city officials and citizenry to consider alternatives to the sprawling kind of development we’ve had in Charlotte for so long. In one recent national study, “Measuring the Market for Green Residential Development,” homebuyers admit we have to face the issue of environmental responsibility head-on. Nearly 38% strongly agree, and 41.2% somewhat agree, that “in order to protect the environment we will need big changes in the way we live.”Several things are notable about his suggestion. First, it sounds like a good idea. I mean, it couldn't possibly hurt and it might help educate developers. Second, it's further proof that at least some developers think (know?) that building "green" is a market niche that they can exploit. More and more customers are looking for "green."
While New Urbanism has caught on over the past two decades, Charlotte should now prepare for the next step. One idea: Motivate the Urban Land Institute to implement a strategy among local members and push for the creation of a Sustainable Stewardship Council.
This council would work with citizenry, government and private entities on environmentally friendly development issues within our community. An involved SSC Council could help promote water strategies, energy strategies, transportation, health strategies, recycling and reuse of materials in rezoning, and permit-related activities. The upshot? Local real estate developers would become better community leaders.
Is there a role for city and state regulations? Should city standards and zoning rules be changed to make them more environmentally sound? Note, this might not mean ADDING regulations so much as changing the ones we already have.