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>I don’t know about everyone else, but I hate going on jogs, and I’m not crazy about walks and bike rides either. And yet while going to school in the city, I did these activities all the time. I jogged to class, walked to the bus stop, and biked to restaurants. Instead of running or biking in circles around my suburban development, I was exercising while getting to where I needed to go, often even faster than if I drove my car.

To make walking and biking more than just fitness choices, a community needs commercial destinations near residential areas, as well as sidewalks and bike lanes to make people feel safe while traveling. Davidson, North Carolina demonstrates how a town can use the power of community planning to accomplish Smart Growth initiatives. Beyond making bicycle and pedestrian circulation plans required for all new developments, the Davidson Planning Ordinance of 2001 provides charrettes, meetings between developers and community members, to discuss each other’s goals and concerns about new development projects. This planning process has helped create both narrow, sidewalk-lined streets and measures to discourage cars from speeding.
Not everyone can live in a Smart Growth community, but there are things you can do to push for increased livability and sustainability in your own neighborhoods. Most notably, you can go to your town planning board meetings. These monthly public meetings allow you to get involved and shape the future of your community. Check the event calendar on your town’s website to find out when the next meeting is.