Preface

What is the Green Paper?

The Green Paper (GP) is a citizen written collaborative document that identifies actions for creating more green and resilient homes and neighborhoods. The GP specifically refers to the River Road and Santa Clara Neighborhoods and its current 2018 planning process with the city of Eugene. Many of the actions described and advocated in the GP already exist in the neighborhood or elsewhere.

The ideal of the Green Paper is for creative green and resilient actions and ideas to be included in the new refinement plan for River Road and Santa Clara. This can be a pioneering, timely and important new planning document that is strong on green and resilient approaches to land use, economic development, open spaces, transportation and community building. This document can also serve as a model for other neighborhoods in Eugene and beyond.

Why the Green Paper?

Those responsible for the Green Paper assert that the mainstream economy is the primary cause of many well documented downward trending conditions such as species extinction, air and water pollution, social dysfunction, drug abuse, climate change, avoidable diseases, economic and political inequity; to name only a few.

Familiar urban practices such as suburbia, freeways, car-centric commercial areas and multi acre parking lots are simply the land use, transportation and development aspects of our current economic system. To continue with the same planning practices will only make what we have worse and the cost to repair the damage to public health, social cohesion and the environment even greater.

An economic system where tens of millions of jobs exist to repair the damage caused by tens of millions of other jobs is not a rational, efficient or accountable economic system.

Externalizing the cost of production, use and disposal of products and services is not an honest way to manage an economy.
The GP sees itself as part of an emerging and accelerating economic and cultural transformation of historical importance, towards a far more green and resilient economy, culture and future.

A core objective for any community development plan should include reducing our ecological footprints and also to “repair or regenerate” the natural, economic and social systems we depend on.

The act of creating green and resilient homes, neighborhoods and communities will lead to many benefits to public and environmental health, human scale economics, and civic culture, to name only a few.

Who is writing the Green Paper?

The Green Paper is written by several residents of the River Road Neighborhood with a shared concern for the well being of our neighborhood, the broader community and the natural world. Together, we have a useful set of experiences, skills and perspectives relevant to land use, economic development and planning.

The GP has also benefited from helpful suggestions by others.

Basic Features of a Healthy Community

A healthy community, or society, has a healthy relationship with the natural world – air, water, soil, climate, plants and animals. Its economy and culture do not undermine the integrity of the natural world it depends on.

A healthy community shares values and goals that create a healthy civic culture. People actively participate in the process of making their community a better, more resilient and sustainable place to live.

A healthy community informs its government to make adjustments in policy to best serve the community’s healthy goals and values over the long term.

The Term Green and Resilient

The term green and resilient, as used in the Green Paper, refers to lifestyles and values where people reduce their ecological footprints and take care of more basic needs such as food, energy, water and culture at home and nearby. These values can apply from home scale to the community and beyond.

A resilient home, street, neighborhood or community is more able to maintain itself if natural or human caused conditions disrupt the usual supports to our lifestyles such as water, energy, sanitation, food, city services, transportation, medical care and other important goods and services.

Values and actions supported by a green and resilient neighborhood and community can boost social cohesion and public participation, a vital condition for healthy communities. Schools, faith communities, public agencies, citizens, non profits, and businesses all have an important role to play.

Green and resilient actions described in the Green Paper align with virtually every city and state planning goal, represented by Envision Eugene. Each general topic described in the Green Paper will reference related Envision Eugene goals.

Citizen Initiative

There is a growing list of compelling reasons for greening our homes and neighborhoods. We have a great deal to work with at home and in the community for this historic task. Ultimately its up to people who care to take the initiative.

 

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