Sunday, August 28, 2011

Legacy Update: Neighborhoods & Small Towns

Neighborhoods are where we live and raise our families. For many people, a house is both their single biggest investment and primary asset. Protection, preservation and revitalization of the neighborhoods in which our homes are located along with the commercial and institutional uses we regularly use, is therefore of interest to everybody in a community. However, what constitutes “protection” of a neighborhood from development or redevelopment varies greatly through our community. Some residents express concern over any nonresidential development near housing, while others perceive increased residential densities or attached housing to be an issue. Still other are more concerned with the design of development, historic preservation or traffic problems. This chapter will explore these issues and hopefully create a community discussion and consensus on how we need to grow to accommodate 120,000 more people.

The 2001 Legacy Plan promotes compact, pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods that contain a mixture of land uses and offer a variety of transportation options. While some examples of this type of development have occurred locally, many neighborhoods in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and the small towns continue to be developed as low-density, auto-oriented subdivisions separated from personal services and shopping. On the plus side, public and private investments in sections of the county have resulted in the revitalization of residential and commercial areas and the preservation of historic resources.

Much work remains to be done if it is the community’s intent to create truly walkable, mixed-use and mixed-density neighborhoods and Town Centers. To do this means developing neighborhoods and small towns into livable and sustainable communities based upon their own unique characteristics.

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