Communities across California are working to figure out how come out of this recession by building healthy, resilient communities.
Dozens of Silicon Valley community leaders came together Thursday evening to discuss the challenges faced by the entire region and how they might come together to move forward.
The 4th in the Healthy Communities Forum series was held at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The goal of the forums is to encourage government, community, and business leaders to talk with each other and hear new ideas.
Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for San Jose and the guest speaker, said dialogue is fundamental to addressing our biggest challenges of the future. And, we need to be prepared for the changes that come with shifting demographics, economics and the environment.
“How people come together and live successfully in a city is a key issue,” Walesh said. It is important to “bring people together from different backgrounds to address our biggest challenges.”
Participants then broke into small groups to brainstorm possible solutions, and discuss challenges and opportunities they see in their communities.
Overall, three potential solutions came to the forefront:
- Plan for a variety of work-spaces, public spaces and homes
- Revitalize aging suburbs
- Encouraging the growth of an authentic, indigenous “artisan economy”
Some of the challenges to be addressed include:
- Cost and time needed to change the existing infrastructure
- Inflexible zoning regulations
- Limited public involvement in planning for more livable cities
Opportunities include: changing zoning regulations so existing buildings could be repurposed and leveraging resources such as college planning students to analyze and share in a readable, publicly accessible format plans that cities are working on.
California Forward is working to create healthier communities by encouraging government to be more open, accountable, and responsive to the people it serves. Like us on Facebook to stay on top of governance reform issues that affect you.
Jessica Williams is regional partnerships team lead for the Bay Area