Development has long been an economic driver in the United States. The agrarian culture morphed into the industrial revolution, and soon people began moving to growing cities and then to outlying suburbs to live. Housing (based on residential investment and consumption spending) contributes between 15 and 18 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
But through the decades, issues surfaced. Big-box stores, cookie-cutter homes in major tract subdivisions, and unsightly sprawl began to change how Americans viewed some development. Today, we are living at the intersection of that reality: the prevailing interests of homebuyers, businesses, commuters, millennials and municipalities that want fresher thinking, charming neighborhoods, interesting workplaces, and better developments.
Now, La Plata has an opportunity to meet those interests in a way that benefits the town, but also the public good.