Green Healthy Happy Towns
Happy, Healthy, Green Towns, Cities, Communities, DFW Dallas Fort Worth North Central Texas
Dallas-Fort Worth, NorthCentral TexasDFW Happy, Healthy Green Towns How Green/Happy/Healthy Is Your City or Suburb?
What makes a happy, healthy town? What makes it green? Some of it is what is provided for citizens; some of it is what isprohibited. But more and more of it is what citizens provide for themselves.
Many of the following attributes helped make atown like San Luis Obispo, CA, a happy place to live and visit.Government can help, of course. For example, China requires that every citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 plant and tend a few trees eachyear.
But we can’t wait for our government to requiregreen. And we can help ourselves.
Citizens can contribute to a fund for purchasing land for greenspaces. Citizens can plan a tree-planting day. Citizens also contribute to local economies, local job creations, andlocal tax collections by buying fromlocal merchants. For another way to help your town or city, click here.Gathering SpotsCreate various car-free areas and plazas in cities for daily gathering, local events, art shows, farmers markets–even if it means closing streets.
Civic PrideGrowing civic pride benefits all citizens. Look at what civic pride has done forEast Dallas and Oak Cliff.Encourage Biking and WalkingProviding good sidewalks and bike lanes while decreasing and slowing car traffic makes a difference in health and happiness.Create Green Areas and Wildlife PreservesAggressively raise funds for and buy whatever land is left in older suburbs. Require greenbelts and wildlife preserves in every new suburbor office park in newer suburbs.
Plant and Tend TreesEncourage citizens to plant trees each year–maybe with free trees from the city, places to plant them for non-property owners, and even a smallfinancial or other incentive if they are still healthy in three years. Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9° F. Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25°Fcooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop–important in a Texas summer.
Create Community GardensCommunity gardens provide local food, local pride, and community gatheringspots. In some instances, such as Coppell, they even the feed the area’s lessfortunate citizens.Encourage the ArtsHave at least one place in each area for rotating art exhibits and at least oneplace for various other performances. For example, the City of Euless has an amphitheaterat a city park, although there is no place known to me for art exhibits.Artshould be free or as reasonably priced as possible so all can participate.
Buy LocalAn economic study in Austin showed that $100 spent ata national bookstore circulated $13 in the town’s economy, while $100 spent at a local bookstore circulated $45.Over three times the jobs created. And three times the taxes collected–withoutraising property taxes.
NutritionAmericans don’t understand nutrition. Cities can start a nutrition campaign(hopefully uninfluenced by industry) that makes a difference. And schooldistricts can start by removing vending machines from schools. Health is thefirst step to happiness.Limit Unsafe or Unhealthy ActivitiesCities or other populated areas are not the place for activities like gas drilling or other unhealthy and/or unsafeactivities even when the city benefits financially. Again, ditto the unhealthyvending machines in schools.Prohibit Drive-ThrusIt improves air quality and in the case of drive-thru food, it might even help contain obesity.De-CigaretteAs cigarette smoking is made more unwelcome, fewer and fewer people indulge. In addition to restaurants and bars, try banning in front of office buildings and in public gathering places such as parks, plazas, and playgrounds. Less litter and bad smells, more healthy citizens.Shrink SignageSign pollution tends to get worse over time as businesses compete for the biggest and gaudiestones.
Prohibit Sale of Green Spaces Prohibit selling of green spaces by local government. We need more green spaces,not less, even in cash-strapped cities like Dallas and Fort Worth..
Publish Green, Happy, Healthy A green, happy, healthy city or suburb deserves good publicity. Surprisingly enough, though, adverse publicity about a city’s lack of same often spurs the city to clean up its act, which, not so surprising, even increases property values in the city.
Help Help CyberParent rate your city or suburb for being green, healthy, and happy. Calling attention to needed reforms or bragging when deserving can help you and/or your local business, too. Call Terry Jensen at 817 545-0140 or 872 251-1532 or use form here.