Livable communities facilitate healthy living, and healthy living requires livable communities. This kind of full-circle thinking has become my mantra as an observant student of the infinite ways it holds true.
Having been born and raised in Austin, I often tell people that being conscious of our environment and humanity impacts is in my blood, as is my love for water, trees, hills and all other natural gifts God generously bestows on us. I love to hear folks around Dallas holding animated discussions about whether the White Rock Lake-Lakewood area and/or Bishop Arts area is the “Austin” of the Metroplex. There are also some emerging areas in Fort Worth that are now vying for the designation, including the west Magnolia Avenue area and Sundance Square.
We can be proud that Fort Worth stands tall as America’s largest Blue Zone Project community, enriching its livability—even including the DFW International Airport as a Blue Zone partner. While it may not have the vast natural blessings of the Great Trinity Forest and water-centric neighborhoods surrounding White Rock Lake, the city has plenty of appealing intentions. Consider the public cultural and recreation programs of Panther Island and how the Trinity River Vision plans aim to double the downtown area centered around river expansion activity.
The BlueZones Project leverages secrets discovered in areas around the world where making healthy choices is easy and people live to be 100 in good health. It’s helping transform communities across the U.S. via an overall higher quality of life. Here, communities, citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders come together to optimize residents’ longevity and well-being. Healthful environment, policy and social networks help make life good.
Such factors add to North Texas’ livability as we strive to overcome more than a decade of Federal Air Quality Standards for Ozone non-attainment status, primarily due to traffic emissions. However, we must be doing a lot right, as North Texas continues to be among the fastest-growing regions in the U.S. and a top spot for corporate relocations.
This month, we highlight one of our urban nature spaces jewels, a local conservation heroe standing strong for natural assets and give a nod to Plano, often ranked a one of the most livable communities in the country. We also explore the helpful eco-achievements of area mass transit systems. All serve as local reality companion pieces to our national feature article by John D. Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, “Livable Communities We Love.
As always, we hope you are inspired by the information we bring to the table each month and find something that helps you make a difference in living a greener, healthier and more sustainable life.
Bernice Butler, Publisher