I was inspired this week by a presentation on downtown Raleigh's renaissance. It's a presentation that I've seen a few times, but one that you can't really see enough as far as I'm concerned. Things just move too fast to remember it all, but it talks about the goals for downtown and the concept of higher density living.
It got me thinking about smart growth. I mean, I agree with the concept as I define it, but what is it really? I'm not a planner and I've had zero instruction on managing growth. So I looked it up and found the Smart Growth Leadership Institute. Their 10 principles seem to cover just about everything I had in my definition and more.
I think I have been drawn to areas that manage growth well but wasn't concious of it at the time. I bought my first house in Chapel Hill. At the time I was 25 or somewhere near that age, and wanted an acre of land and big house. The reason I picked Chapel Hill was because you could get all of that and still be within 10 minutes of Franklin Street. Now, Chapel Hill is nowhere near the size of Raleigh, but to live in the country in Wake County you have to go far, far away to get the kind of privacy I had in Chapel Hill. Over the years I learned that I did not want a lot of land or a big house that I had to clean. And I didn't want to live near people who were my parent's age - something I didn't consider back then. Land! I wanted land! And it's so funny because I see young folks now who want the same thing I wanted then. It's all a process, I guess.
I'm on my 3rd house now and it's much smaller and in-town because I value time and don't want to drive everywhere. And that is why I love downtown Raleigh. I love the lifestyle it provides and will provide in the future as it continues to grow. And that is also why as an agent I am going to work my hardest to focus only in the downtown and surrounding areas. I can't force my beliefs on others, but I can choose to work in an area that is attractive to people who share those similar values.