I know that Decatur is already the poster child for green, and generally welcoming, communities, but let's take a minute and look at why. What the small city has done could be accomplished in neighborhoods all across Atlanta.
Here are a few of the ways that the City of Decatur makes green golden:
- Easy access to public transportation: Instead of shying away from MARTA, the City of Decatur has gussied up its central station, designing a plaza that features, instead of hides, its public transportation access.
- Sidewalks, sidewalks, sidewalks. And crosswalks: You just can't be pedestrian friendly without giving patrons somewhere to walk, safely. Decatur's sidewalks, for the most part, are wide, relatively smooth, and are present where they are needed for business: to and from restaurants, shops, public libraries....
- Multiuse buildings: Decatur has embraced the multiuse building in a way that other municipalities must envy. Restaurants like Crescent Moon and Ted's bring in outside diners and are also easily accessible to those who live in the downtown condos and apartments.
- A sense of community: Drive around Decatur, and you'll see city pride. Bumper stickers advertise the city's easily recognizable slogan, residents actually send their children to the city schools, and the city has a great youth sports program. Offering all these amenities within the city means that people don't have to drive far for their daily activities.
- Festivals! As someone who grew up attending Decatur's concerts in the square, I appreciate the sense of community that such events foster. Parents feel comfortable letting their kids run free while they enjoy picnic dinners. The concerts foster a familiar feeling among attendees, and the preserved green space allows kids the opportunity to climb trees and get dirty-- very important, if you ask me, to a child's development.
The key to reducing C02 emissions lies not only in buying Priuses and other fuel-efficient vehicles, but also in changing lifestyles. Driving less. Friendly, accessible communities that have what you need. Decatur's done that-- who else will?
Leslie Wolcott, an Atlanta Native gives her spin of cool things to do, see and enjoy in Atlanta. Leslie also blogs on national issues at Green Daily. To read her material there please visit Green Daily.