Communities in the United States have changed a lot over the past century, and understanding this transformation can help inform our efforts to create sustainable communities across South Texas.
Contributing to the loss of community was the automobile, which has played an increasingly dominant role in lifestyles during the past hundred years. Indeed, all of these things — television, air-conditioning, automobiles have contributed to our loss of community. They have also encouraged relatively sedentary lifestyles with the attendant negative health impacts as well.
We drive everywhere and in sections of many cities, there are significant portions that have no sidewalks at all. In other cases, when there are, they often they seem to be an afterthought — either consisting of narrow strips of concrete next to busy roadways and/or are riddled with obstructions like telephone poles. The design of many cities simply does not encourage pedestrian traffic.
Mixed-use development moves past the arbitrary separation of commercial and residential land use that Euclidean zoning imposed on us during the last century, and will be a key component for long-term success in the Eagle Ford.
Mixed-use development enables developers to put all the necessities of town living within walking distance of residences. It revitalizes cities and neighborhoods by bringing back the sense of community that technology and zoning has sometimes taken away from us.
Revitalization of downtowns, such as those promoted by the Historical Commission’s Texas Main Street Program should be an ongoing priority for communities in the Eagle Ford.
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