Tomorrow, I am the co-presenter at ULI North Florida’s member breakfast on the topic of Healthy Communities. As many people are aware, our nation is currently in the midst of a health epidemic, with obesity, related diseases of the heart and diabetes consuming nearly $200 billion dollars of our nation’s resources.
This epidemic is not naturally occurring. It is happening because of our changing habits and corresponds with the built environment we have created over the past five decades. If we continue the patterns of growth and development that have created this epidemic, the risks to our health and the damage to potential economic growth and recovery will be insurmountable.
But the issue of health is not a stand-alone issue. In order to create a thriving community the issue of revitalization requires well-conceived, comprehensive action. Cities and regions must be recognized as complex systems with many interrelated components, and have an intelligent process to make better decisions that result in communities that are more economically viable, desirable, beautiful, culturally rich, and healthier.
As an introduction to tomorrow’s presentation, I will be challenging the ULI Members to take leadership in a more comprehensive, intelligent process for making better decisions—and will explain what that process might look like. While tomorrow’s presentation is focused on health, this process can be applied to every component of our community’s “system.” In order to curb the epidemic and achieve sustainable growth and revitalization, we will need to think differently and make better decisions.