Marin Independent Journal

Marin Independent Journal

Sprawl’s days are over

Marla Fields

Recently, 150 of Marin’s “movers and shakers” gathered for the ninth in Sustainable Novato’s popular series of educational forums made possible in part by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation.

This one was cosponsored by Greenbelt Alliance and Novato Housing Coalition and was about a hot topic — “Creating Sustainable Communities.”

It is a particularly pertinent issue for Novato, a city that is undergoing the update of its general plan.

An expert panel of speakers on planning, transit, affordable housing, health and air quality and sustainability consulting pulled all the elements of “sustainable communities” together and wrapped up by giving Novato a “report card.”

It seems the old city planning model of suburban sprawl and car-dependent communities is not only passé, it will soon go against the grain of new emission reduction regulations signed into law recently.

Panelists defined the problem (our community is unsustainable), offered a good description of what a sustainable community would be, suggested specific strategies to improve and inspired audience members to get involved at a local level.

If you missed the forum, you may still catch a rebroadcast on Novato Public Access TV and Comcast.

Let’s all work together to make our communities sustainable — vibrant, green, enjoyable and healthy places to live.

Contact Sustainable Novato at www.sustainablenovato.org for more information.

Marla Fields is chair of Green Community Planning, Sustainable Novato.

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