Video: Strong communities and strong economies have choices

Smart Growth America’s Roger Millar recently sat down with coalition partner the Sonoran Institute to talk about why choices matter when it comes to building thriving communities in today’s economy. As one of several developers, architects, elected officials, realtors, conservationists, and community leaders in the video, Millar explains that choices aren’t just a good idea – they’re a key part of creating vibrant places to live and work.

This is America. People want choices. Back 20 years ago you could have any housing situation you wanted, as long as it was a three-bedroom house on a quarter acre lot with a two-car garage.

And there are people – young people, old people – who want choice. And that’s what we’re doing, is providing people choice. Those choices make communities stronger. Those choices enhance economies. Those choices help protect the environment.

For years we’ve been presenting smart growth as a good idea. And lots of people understand that it’s a good idea. What we haven’t in the past had to emphasize is that it’s a good deal, too…To be successful you have to provide people with choices. You want to live in a ranch house? Fine, we have ranch houses. Want to live in a condo downtown? Fine, we’ve got those too. It doesn’t mean everybody has to live in a condo downtown; it means they have the choice to live in a condo downtown.

Want to drive a car? Fine, you’re going to pay for the gas. Want to ride the bus? We have that option. Want to be able to live some place where you can walk and bike for everything you do? Great, we have that option too. We don’t have those choices today, those are the things that smart communities doing, are putting those choices in place for their citizens so they can live the life they choose to live.

The Sonoran Institute, founded in 1990, works across the rapidly changing West to conserve and restore natural and cultural assets and to promote better management of growth and change. The Institute’s community-based approach emphasizes collaboration, civil dialogue, sound information, local knowledge, practical solutions and big-picture thinking.

Watch “Choices” on YouTube or learn more about the Sonoran Institute.