SimCity and the Ideal Community
Remember the Video Game SimCity?
It allowed the player to create and manage a city and be the master of their universe, or at least of their community. In its most basic state, a community in real life is a network of inter-connected systems working together to create the environment in which we live. In an ideal world, those systems create a place that is safe, welcoming, and resilient; a place that provides opportunities to grow and excel – for all of its residents.
So what does an ideal community look like?
We’ve compiled this list. Tell us if there are other elements you would add:
- A diversity of housing choices – ensuring that safe, affordable homes are available to buy or rent, including single family, townhouses and apartments;
- Plentiful jobs – a variety of employment for people of all ages;
- Opportunities for recreation – providing parks and open spaces, public plazas and walking trails with access for all;
- A transportation system designed to move people, not cars – offering access to multi-modal transportation including rail, buses, sidewalks, and bike lanes;
- Good stewardardship of the natural environment – investing in infrastructure that protects and manages our water, is efficient in land use planning, and protects air quality;
- An inspired educational system – one that unlocks the potential in each child, instilling in them a love of learning and a curious mind;
- Support for the arts – in all its forms; and
- Spirited civic engagement that respects all points of view and welcomes the diversity of people who live in the community.
When all these elements come together, our communities are more attractive to businesses, creating opportunities for jobs and the potential for growth and economic development.
But what about political leadership?
In our ideal community, our political leaders share our vision of a place that is safe, welcoming and provides opportunities for all. Their decisions support our values through the budgets that are adopted and the public investments that are made, and they maintain our collective vision and lead us through tough times. Our leaders are problem solvers, creative thinkers, and concerned with the well-being of everyone in the community, not just a few special interests.
As we move toward elections for our local government leaders this fall, let’s remember that we have great influence over how our communities look through the power of the ballot box. We can be the real life masters of our communities if we elect leaders who share our values and our vision, and we hold them accountable.