Ten Planning Lessons from Traverse City

Source: traversecity.com

Now that we have lived in Traverse City for almost four years, it is time to list the ten top planning lessons learned from our hometown. Sometimes, evaluation of the places closest to you are the toughest.

  • Smaller cities and towns can effect change much more quickly that larger urban centers, but the outcry/push-back over those changes can be very loud.
  • One particularly vocal and wealthy segment of a smaller city can have far too much control over progress…or the lack thereof.
  • Affordable housing is a big issue, as service workers, public employees, and young families struggle to find a nearby place to live. Furthermore, big cities are not the only ones dealing with a significant homeless problem.
  • To truly flourish and reach their ultimate potential, smaller, homogenized cities must become more inclusive to all. Traverse City has succeeded on several fronts — particularly with opportunities for women, seniors, and the LGBTQ community, but the area must continue striving to reach out and attract more people of color, immigrants, and those with diverse religious beliefs.
  • An amazing array of non-profits and charitable organizations can develop in a smaller community when there are good people who are passionate about the factors in life that matter most (and they are NOT money, profits, or business).
  • More profound respect and honor for those who lived here first and who have shared the land with us is needed both here and just about everywhere else in the country. Locally, Traverse City has been truly blessed by a generous and welcoming community of Native Americans.
  • If not properly managed and planned for, mass tourism and short-term rentals can be a clear and present danger to the health and vitality of smaller tourist cities too, not just Venice, Barcelona, and the like.
  • Unfortunately, the “good ole boy network” remains alive and well in many places – here it is particularly present in the surrounding suburban, exurban, and rural areas.
  • Some of the best cutting-edge planning techniques and tools can be developed in smaller cities.
  • On the flip side, a surprising proportion of locals don’t care to hear ideas from either newcomers (someone who has lived here for less than 25 years) or from non-locals, regardless of education or credentials.
This entry was posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, Advocacy, air travel, branding, cities, civics, civility, commerce, Communications, culture, demographics, diversity, downtown, economic development, education, entertainment, environment, family, gay rights, geography, government, health, historic preservation, history, homelessness, Housing, human rights, humanity, immigration, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, placemaking, planning, politics, poverty, racism, Sexism, social equity, spatial design, sustainability, third places, tourism, transportation, Travel, urban planning, volunteerism, Welcome. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Ten Planning Lessons from Traverse City

  1. Christie Minervini says:

    This is great! I would love to hear more specifics about the cutting edge planning techniques being implemented in Traverse City.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bryan Robb says:

    Nice job, Rick.

    Liked by 1 person

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