As the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy, McMahon leads ULI’s worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities related to environmentally sensitive development policies and practices. He is also a senior staff adviser for ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative.
The Secrets to Success
Every “successful” community has its own strengths and weaknesses, but they all share some common characteristics.
Failing to plan simply means planning to fail. It is difficult to name any successful individual, organization, corporation or community that doesn’t plan for the future.
Creating a vision for the future begins by inventorying a community’s assets: natural, architectural, human, educational, economic, and so on.
Successful communities use education, incentives, partnerships, and voluntary initiatives, not just regulation. While regulations prevent the worst in development, they rarely bring out the best.
All development is not created equal. Some development projects will make a community a better place to live, work, and visit. Others will not. Communities that will not say no to anything will get the worst of everything.
Elected officials have historically tended to view neighboring communities and the county government as adversaries rather than allies. Successful communities know the value of cooperation and understand that the real competition today is between regions.
The image of a community is fundamentally important to its economic wellbeing.
A small number of committed people can make a big difference.