What Makes a Great Town?
What makes a great town? It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people—60 percent of the world’s population—will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbo charging the world’s economic growth. Leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanization on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities and the livelihoods of the people who live in them. And all are aware of the environmental legacy they will leave if they fail to find more sustainable, resource-efficient ways of managing these cities.
Here in Wake Forest we see continued growth, therefore, we continue to maintain a balanced approach for future growth. To achieve smart growth, great cities and towns do the following:
- They identify and nurture the very best opportunities for growth, plans ways to cope with its demands, integrate environmental thinking, and ensure that all citizens enjoy the city’s prosperity. Good city leaders also think about regional growth because as a metropolis expands, they will need the cooperation of surrounding municipalities and regional service providers. Integrating the environment into economic decision making is vital to smart growth: cities must invest in infrastructure that reduces emissions, waste production, and water use, as well as in building high-density communities.
- They do more with less. Great cities secure all revenues due, explore investment partnerships, embrace technology, make organizational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and manage expenses. Successful city leaders have also learned that, if designed and executed well, private–public partnerships can be an essential element of smart growth, delivering lower-cost, higher-quality infrastructure and services.
- They win support for change. Change is not easy, and its momentum can even attract opposition. Successful city leaders build a high-performing team of civil servants, create a working environment where all employees are accountable for their actions, and take every opportunity to forge a stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community. They take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasize collaboration, and train civil servants in the use of technology.
We are fortunate in Wake Forest to have visionary leaders at all levels and continue to have smart growth.