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Traditional Neighborhood Developments – The Local Side of Green

January 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Green Houston Communities, Green Houston Topics

Over the past two years the term ‘Green’ has become mainstream.  The popular debate is regarding Climate Change, Carbon Emissions and Energy Efficiency.  However, when you consider truly what ‘Green’ is, it goes much deeper.

There is the healthier side of green and eating organic, there is the Stewardship side of ‘Green’ where we should do stuff because it’s just the right thing to do such as Recycle and keeping things out of the landfill.

But I think that we may be on the edge of the Local side of ‘Green’ getting some awareness as well.  In Houston specifically we are seeing an upswing in people supporting local businesses and Farmer’s Markets to not only help the local economy but it also helps to reduce Carbon Emissions from not shipping items from overseas or even from out of state.

There are other benefits to the Local side of green that sometimes I personally believe get swept under the rugHow about Jobs?

I have written before how Real Estate can make or break a local economy and can a major player in creating jobs and I don’t just mean by the actual construction of homes.  What would happen if we were to raise awareness, and grow the idea, of Traditional Neighborhood Developments?

Simply stating, the Community is where you will find everything.  You live there, can work there, walk to everything…but you use existing land and sometimes existing buildings to create the neighborhood. 

How could this help?  In many areas across the Nation there are certain communities that simply do not have jobs for people.  There are not enough businesses, not enough growth and so on.   Some people have the ability to commute to another area but that takes money because of transportation..It’s like Global Outsourcing on a Local Level.

Let’s consider a development that has all of it there.  The ability for this to help Hyper-Local economies meaning down to the Community itself is truly unbelievable.  Just take a look at how popular Master Planned Communities are around Houston such as The Woodlands, Kingwood and Cinco Ranch.  Shopping, pharmacies, groceries, medical facilities are all nearby and most have continued to thrive even in a down economy.

I’m wondering why we can’t do this on a much smaller scale in Houston.  Let’s take an area that could use the jobs, job training and local businesses and see how it could benefit:

  • Jobs for the community residents instead of ‘outsourcing’ the jobs from another community.  Keep it local if at all possible.
  • Revitalizing and Renewing areas that need updated homes for the actual residents of the Community – Not homes that out price the residents from staying within the Community
  • Job Training for those whose previous job is now obsolete
  • Grocery Store for example that could provide jobs, put some money in to the economy and be nearby for residents
  • The lots that the City of Houston often sells for $1 to developers could be donated and converted to a local garden – Excess could be sold in Farmers Markets as another source of income for the Community
  • Other retail stores such as Cell Phone, Cable, etc. to help create more jobs
  • Transit within the Community itself so people do not have to use Metro that can take hours to get from point A to Point B – or simply restructure Metro to support Hyper-Local areas
  • Maybe even transit for a neighboring area for residents with jobs in say…for example…the medical center
  • Recycling facilities – Money can be made on that as well

Now, I’m not talking about…let’s say…Rice Village.  People travel for miles to visit that shopping area.  I’m talking about a much smaller scale than that.  I’m talking about a living, breathing, local, small community

Well, that’s it for now.  Just thought I would share some of my random thoughts on this beautiful Sunday morning.   What are your thoughts?  Would something like this EVER work in Houston?


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